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updated: 9/5/2013 6:49 PM

Pingree Grove terminates village administrator

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  • Carol Lussky

      Carol Lussky

 
 

The village of Pingree Grove this week terminated its administrator, Ken Lopez, and will be evaluating the duties and roles of all staff members in leadership roles, village officials said Thursday.

Lopez was put on leave Aug. 19, and Police Chief Carol Lussky was named interim village manager by the village board Tuesday.

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Lopez will be paid three months' salary, as per his three-year contract that would have expired in October 2014, plus 94 hours of unused accrued vacation, Lussky said. His salary was $81,370.

Lopez and Village President Greg Marston didn't immediately return calls seeking comment.

The village will hold off looking for a permanent replacement for Lopez until a study of staffing needs is conducted to find ways to become more efficient, Village Attorney Dean Frieders said.

The study will look at everyone's roles, including the village administrator, and evaluate whether any duties need to be consolidated, redistributed, or contracted out, he said.

Lopez was terminated "purely for convenience," Frieders said.

"I think it would be challenging to undertake that kind of study if the position of village administrator, which encompasses many of those roles, was filled," he said.

The village board wants "to look at the village's strategic and long-term needs and make sure they are smart staffed, that staffing is the right size. They want the right people with the right expertise, in the right positions," Frieders said.

"It's a unique approach to the issue. We're looking to make sure we're not doing business as usual."

Before Lopez was hired, Lussky was interim administrator for a few weeks while also leading the police department. This time, the village board named Deputy Police Chief Shawn Beane interim chief, so Lussky will not be wearing both hats.

"I'm still chief and I'm still kind of watching over (the police department), but last time Shawn and I were working together (to supervise the police department) it was more convoluted," she said.

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