Des Plaines loses another department head to Lake Zurich

  • Mike Earl

    Mike Earl

Posted8/14/2013 5:34 PM

Des Plaines' revolving door keeps spinning as yet another city department head is leaving for the shores of Lake Zurich.

Mike Earl, the city's human resources director, is the third top level manager to give up his Des Plaines job to take up a post in the Lake County village.


Former acting city manager, Jason Slowinski, was first hired away by Lake Zurich to be its village administrator in April 2012, followed by Des Plaines' former information technology director, Michael Duebner, who resigned about a year ago to take a similar job in the Northwest suburb.

Earl will serve as Lake Zurich's director of community services, a newly-created position that comes with a $129,000 salary plus benefits.

"It's a new challenge and a new opportunity," Earl said. "I'll be providing leadership management to the public works division and building and zoning."

Des Plaines City Manager Mike Bartholomew said he isn't surprised by Earl's departure since high-level department heads have plenty of opportunities available and get recruited every day.

"You are always concerned when you have a department head leave," he said. "It's a competitive market. As long as we stay competitive, there probably will be no reason for people to leave Des Plaines. We're not as competitive as we need to be."

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Bartholomew said he will be reviewing salary structures for the city's top and mid-management jobs to make sure they are comparable with other suburban municipalities.

Earl, who heads up Des Plaines' Health and Human Resources Division, has served with the city for more than four years. His last day is Friday, Aug. 23.

The salary range for the human resources director job is $91,460 to $118,899, plus benefits. The position oversees two part-time social workers, a community health nurse, a human resources secretary and human resources specialist, who is retiring at the end of January 2014.

More than 80 people have applied for the human resources specialist position, which will be filled within the next month or so, Earl said.

Meanwhile, the city replaced Duebner with Romeo Sora for an annual salary of $115,000 plus benefits.


Des Plaines also has hired the Georgia-based headhunting firm of Slavin Management Consultants for roughly $20,000 to conduct a nationwide search for a new community and economic development director. The salary range for that job is between $105,000 and $137,000, plus benefits.

That firm will simultaneously recruit candidates for the human resources director post for an additional $7,000 and all travel expenses will be covered under the original contract, Bartholomew said.

"They have a big pool of candidates," Bartholomew said. "We're getting about a 50 percent discount."

By next week, the human resources director job will be advertised on the websites of the International City/County Management Association and Illinois City/County Management Association, he added.

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