$85,000 severance for Libertyville village administrator on job since 2016

Chris Clark's short tenure as Libertyville village administrator officially ended Tuesday with the village board's decision to part ways and authorize a settlement agreement.

Clark has been on paid administrative leave the past two weeks for unspecified reasons; his resignation became effective Wednesday. He began the job Dec. 16, 2016, replacing Kevin Bowens, who retired after 25 years.

Mayor Terry Weppler had described the leave and subsequent resignation as a mutual agreement, but no information regarding the reasons or circumstances has been released. Trustees approved the agreement without comment. The process to hire a new administrator is to be determined.

"We've agreed to go our separate ways," Weppler said before the decision.

At the end of the meeting, resident Lisa Roti asked Weppler if the public would ever learn what happened between the village and Clark.

"Based on our attorney's recommendation, there will be no formal statements," he replied.

According to the agreement approved Tuesday, Clark will receive a severance payment amounting to six months of salary totaling $85,000 paid in the regular payroll, with installments every two weeks through September. In addition, he receives a final payroll check of $5,795 and $16,346 for unused vacation days.

The village also will pay dental and health insurance premiums for Clark and his dependents through Sept. 30, subject to deductions from the severance payments equal to the normal employee portion of insurance premiums.

His contract was for an indefinite amount of time but had a provision stating that if he was fired, he would be paid salary and benefits until he secured a new job but not longer than 12 months. The severance approved Tuesday continues whether or not he finds a new job in the interim.

The contract provision also said the village has no obligation to pay him if he was fired "because of his participation in any illegal act or because of his breach of this agreement."

In related actions, the board appointed veteran deputy village Administrator Kelly Amidei as interim administrator to serve until April 30 unless the position is filled sooner. She also takes Clark's place as deputy village clerk and deputy liquor commissioner.

Her tenure will automatically be extended in 30-day increments until a replacement is selected. She will be paid in increments on a base annual salary of $156,500. She was hired nearly 15 years ago as assistant village administrator.

Libertyville generally is known for the longevity of its top administrators, although it had to replace the police chief and public works and finance directors in recent years due to retirement.

Clark was hired from among 54 applicants as only the third Libertyville village administrator in 51 years. He had been serving as administrator in Cary, a similar-sized town, which like Libertyville has a Metra station in its central business area.

"It's a fantastic community," he said when his hiring was approved. "I just see so much potential and so much success already."

Last July, Clark dealt with severe flooding in some neighborhoods that increased the emphasis on a villagewide solution to storing stormwater, which is in progress.

The village also is in the early stages of updating a master plan for parks as well as the village's long range comprehensive plan.

Kelly Amidei is the interim Libertyville village administrator.
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