Departed Vernon Hills village manager to get nearly $161,000

Former Vernon Hills Village Manager John Kalmar, who resigned for unspecified reasons last month, will be paid nearly $161,000 in salary and other payouts.

The bulk of that money is a $92,784 lump sum representing six months' base salary. The pact also includes $23,889 for outstanding vacation and personal time, and $33,101 representing 50 percent of 742 hours of accrued and unused sick leave. Per village policy, employees with at least 720 hours of sick time receive 50 percent of that paid into a retiree health savings plan.

Other provisions include a village contribution of $8,017 (8 percent of Kalmar's salary) to the ICMA-RC deferred compensation plan, and six months of auto allowance totaling $2,880.

Under his contract, Kalmar was entitled to six months' salary and benefits. His salary was $200,415 for the 2017-18 budget year, which ends April 30.

The pact became official the same day state Sen. Thomas Cullerton introduced legislation to limit buyouts for public executives.

Kalmar served 14 years as assistant village manager and director of community development before inking an agreement Dec. 3, 2013, to replace retiring village manager Mike Allison.

Village officials discussed hiring a replacement for Allison but did not conduct a search. At the time, Mayor Roger Byrne said he and the board felt it had "the best candidate for the position on our staff" and promoted Kalmar.

But the relationship soured. A sign of something amiss surfaced during a puzzling and unexplained exchange between Byrne and Kalmar regarding legal counsel during a March 13 special meeting to discuss the budget.

Kalmer was asked to resign and left village hall for the last time March 16.

Former Vernon Hills Police Chief Mark Fleischhauer, who retired last June after 17 years, replaced Kalmar the same day on an interim basis. He is paid $15,000 per month.

Village officials have declined to discuss the reasons or circumstances regarding Kalmar's departure. A condition in the 16-page agreement prohibits either party from contacting or talking to the media about the "nature, terms or reasons" for the resignation.

According to the agreement, anyone questioned by the media or public is to respond by saying: "'The only statement we are making in connection with this issue is the Joint Statement,' and will say and/or disclose nothing else," according to the agreement.

In that statement, Kalmar said it was an honor to serve and he thanks current and former board members for their "guidance and support." Village officials said in the statement they appreciated Kalmar's service and wished him luck in future endeavors.

The pact with Kalmar was unanimously approved by the village board April 3 and became official April 10, the same day state Sen. Thomas Cullerton introduced legislation to create the Government Severance Pay Act to control buyouts for public executives.

That act, which has been referred to the Senate assignments committee, stops employees fired for misconduct from collecting any severance and limits packages for other public executives to a maximum of 20 weeks' compensation.

"Taxpayers deserve to have their hard-earned money protected," Cullerton said in a release. "Let's end these golden parachutes now."

His proposal follows a separation agreement approved March 13 by Libertyville trustees with former village administrator Chris Clark.

Clark, who had been on the job about 15 months, received six months of salary totaling $85,000 and a final payroll check of $5,795 and $16,346 for unused vacation days.

As in Vernon Hills, the reason or circumstances regarding Clark's departure was not publicly explained.

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  Terri Gepner of Pathway Senior Living in Vernon Hills talks with Vernon Hills Village Manager John Kalmar after an "Ask the Mayors" luncheon. Bob Chwedyk/, 2014
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