After the sudden resignation of its new city administrator after less than two months, Prospect Heights has contracted with Bill Balling, retired village administrator of Buffalo Grove, to find a new candidate to oversee the daily operations of the city, Mayor Nick Helmer said.
"Mr. Balling is a consultant. His assignment is to find and recommend a city administrator and an assistant to the administrator," Helmer said. "We just don't have the wherewithal to go on searches like that."
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Balling will also oversee the daily operations of the city, dedicating 20 hours a week to Prospect Heights for something above $14,000 a month, the mayor said.
The city already had been talking about hiring Balling as a consultant to work on finding the city sources for Lake Michigan water. Helmer said he's still enthusiastic about having Balling do that, but that effort will probably be put on hold.
"We thought it best to deal with one important thing at a time -- running a city and getting people in to permanently run the city," he said.
The city council announced Ken Lopez's hiring April 14. Helmer would not discuss the reasons for Lopez leaving, citing personnel matters. He did say Lopez will get two months' severance pay, which will total about $30,000. Lopez could not be reached for comment Monday.
Lopez was terminated after two years in the same position in the village of Pingree Grove in September 2013.
The city council approved the contract with Balling at a special meeting Friday afternoon. The vote was 2-2 with Helmer breaking the tie.
The mayor said 4th Ward Alderman Patrick Ludvigsen and 5th Ward Alderman Bree Higgins supported contracting with Balling while the 1st Ward's Luis Mendez and 2nd Ward's John Styler voted no. 3rd Ward Alderman Scott Williamson was absent.
"His credentials are outstanding," Helmer said of Balling. "I couldn't think of a better person."
The city's previous administrator, Anne Marrin, resigned earlier this year after more than three years in the job to take a similar job with Fox Lake.