Ex-Lake Zurich administrator gets $85,000 payout, health insurance

 
 
Updated 1/4/2012 6:55 PM

Lake Zurich's former village administrator will get an estimated $85,000 cash payout, plus health insurance benefits for six months, as part of a separation agreement approved by the village board.

In exchange for the money and insurance coverage, Bob Vitas cannot make any negative or disparaging statements about the circumstances leading to his departure, the agreement states.

 

Village officials are similarly prevented from speaking negatively about Vitas' leaving his job.

Vitas' employment in Lake Zurich ended Dec. 31. His contract expired at that time, village officials said, but his departure, first announced in November, has been described by officials as voluntary.

Trustees voted 5-1 Tuesday to approve the separation agreement. Jeff Halen cast the lone "no" vote.

After the meeting, Halen said he objected to spending "almost $90,000 on an expired contract."

"I'm just being fiscally responsible for the taxpayers," he said.

The terms of the deal were included in Vitas' contract when he was hired, Trustee Richard Sustich said in a telephone interview. The agreement was worked out by attorneys representing Vitas and the village, Sustich said.

According to the deal, Vitas will receive:

• Severance benefits equal to six months of his yearly base salary of $145,000. That amounts to $72,500.

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• Unspecified "deferred compensation" of $6,000.

• A vehicle allowance of $6,000.

That compensation will be paid in "one lump sum" this month, the four-page document reads.

Additionally, Vitas and his family are allowed to participate in the village health insurance plan for six months.

Vitas also will be paid for any unused vacation time, personal time and holiday time, the deal states. The financial value of those hours was not specified in the deal.

In exchange, Vitas was to develop a transition plan for all outstanding projects and issues before he left village hall.

He also needed to return all village equipment and property by Dec. 31.

The deal also calls for Vitas to assist with any litigation involving the village through June 30, at no cost. After that date, Vitas must assist with litigation if needed, but he can charge a "reasonable hourly rate" for his services.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Vitas had been with the village since December 2007.

Lake Zurich village officials have been open about the town's financial struggles for a few years. When asked if a six-month car allowance and five-figure payout for a former employee were the proper decisions for the village, Sustich said the board had to honor the agreement it struck with Vitas when he was hired.

Not honoring the deal "to save a buck" could affect future contracts and cost more in litigation than the money Vitas will be paid, Sustich said.

The village's municipal attorney and labor attorney advised trustees to approve the deal, Mayor Suzanne Branding said at the meeting.

In a resignation letter delivered Nov. 11, Vitas did not cite any specific reasons for his departure.

"I do so in order to move on with my career and to pursue other alternatives," he wrote.

An interim administrator has not been hired. A search for a replacement could take at least six months, Branding said.

Daily Herald Staff Writer Mick Zawislak contributed to this report.

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