Vernon Hills makes deal with resigning village manager

Details regarding his abrupt departure remain scant, but Vernon Hills officially has parted ways with former Village Manager John Kalmar.

Without comment Tuesday, the village board approved an agreement with Kalmar, but details are being withheld until a seven-day revocation period passes.

Kalmar served 14 years as assistant village manager and director of community development before replacing retiring village manager Mike Allison in early 2014.

He left village hall March 16 after meeting with Mayor Roger Byrne and has not returned. He was replaced the same day on an interim basis by former police chief Mark Fleischhauer, who retired last June after 17 years in that position.

Byrne as well as village trustees have declined to comment on the circumstances, although it was noted Kalmar had been asked to resign.

The action followed an exchange three days earlier between Byrne and Kalmar during a special board meeting regarding the village budget. Byrne asked Kalmar whether money had been budgeted for a "recently retained special counsel." Kalmar said there wasn't, but the reason and background of the question and response was not explained.

In a joint statement Tuesday, Kalmar announced his resignation effective March 16.

"I leave my position with a great sense of accomplishment and appreciation," Kalmar is quoted as saying.

He also thanked current and former village board members for guidance and support, the many committee members and "outstanding" village employees he has worked with and village residents "for their support and patience as we worked to provide the highest levels of services possible."

The statement said the mayor and board appreciated Kalmar's service and wished him the best of luck in future endeavors.

"This will be the only statement either party will issue on the topic," it concluded.

Kalmar's salary was listed as $200,415 for the 2017-18 budget year, which ends April 30. Terms of the agreement won't be available until next week. Under law, workers older than 40 have a right to revoke their acceptance of an agreement involving a release of certain types of claims, explained Keith Hunt, special counsel for the village.

The board is evaluating its options for a search process and will announce details at an unspecified future date, Hunt said.

In a related matter, Fleischhauer was sworn in Tuesday as village clerk and his employment agreement was approved by the board.

Fleischhauer will be paid $15,000 per month as well as a $500-per-month car allowance, health insurance and village contribution to a deferred-compensation plan. As the agreement is contemplated as being of "a short and finite duration," no sick or vacation days were included.

Fleischhauer on Wednesday said he knows the employees and department heads and has good relationships with homeowners' associations, businesses and residents.

He said he appreciated the board's faith and confidence and thought Byrne felt comfortable with his ability to keep the village moving in the right direction "while everything is sorted out."

The village manager also serves in the clerk position.

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Vernon Hills Mayor Roger Byrne
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