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updated: 7/31/2013 6:40 PM

Wauconda village administrator Torres out

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  • Frank Bart

      Frank Bart

 
 

Wauconda Village Administrator Zaida Torres has left that post, officials confirmed Wednesday, but the circumstances were not immediately clear.

Torres also is out as the village's finance director, officials said. She couldn't be reached for comment.

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Torres was targeted for reassignment by Mayor Frank Bart shortly after he took office in May. In June, Bart announced Torres would be replaced as the town's top administrator but would stay on as finance director.

At the time, Bart said Torres would remain village administrator until a successor was hired.

That plan changed Tuesday, when Torres left village hall to begin what Bart and other officials called a "leave of absence."

Her departure came a few hours after a meeting with Bart, he confirmed.

In a series of telephone interviews Tuesday and Wednesday, Bart insisted Torres remains a village employee, at least for the moment. She has not resigned, Bart said, nor has she been fired.

On Wednesday afternoon, however, Bart said Torres will not return to work for the village.

"She is pursuing other opportunities," he said. "She has the choice there. It's her choice."

Village staffers on Wednesday were told Public Works Director Brad Fink will handle "any administrative questions or issues," according to an email acquired by the Daily Herald.

Trustee Linda Starkey said she learned of the pending move a couple of weeks ago during a closed-session village board meeting. She declined to elaborate.

Trustee Ken Arnswald called the personnel move a "tough situation."

"I think it could have been handled differently," Arnswald said.

"But he is the mayor, and it is within his right to make appointments."

Torres has worked for the village since 2004. She was named interim village administrator in October 2012 and was awarded the job the following month.

Bart was highly critical of Torres' job performance during his campaign for mayor. In a January candidate endorsement interview with the Daily Herald, Bart called Torres unqualified, saying she wasn't a "credible choice" to be village administrator.

The village board voted in June to hire a Deerfield search firm to find a new administrator.

Bart has come under continued fire for forcing Police Chief Douglas Larsson out of the department he's led since 2009. He's set to leave Aug. 31.

Bart had intended to promote Sgt. Patrick Yost to replace Larsson, but the village board hasn't yet voted on that move

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