Longtime police administrator returns to Vernon Hills in new role

Vernon Hills hires Petrillo as assistant village manager

With the return of former longtime police administrator Jon Petrillo in a new capacity, two top management posts in Vernon Hills are now held by former law enforcement officials.

Petrillo, who served 24 years on the police force and 10 as its deputy chief, is back with the village in civilian clothes, after being hired Tuesday as assistant village manager.

His boss, Village Manager Mark Fleischhauer, retired after 17 years as police chief before switching roles last year.

The move was described by village officials as a fortunate coincidence. Petrillo ended his tenure with the Lake County sheriff's office the same day former Assistant Village Manager Joe Carey left for a job in Carol Stream.

"He fell into our lap at the right time," said interim Village Attorney Keith Hunt. "It just seemed like a natural fit."

Petrillo left Vernon Hills police in April 2017 to become chief of administration for the sheriff's office. That October, he became the office's first chief of law enforcement and community services, a job created by the merger of two other positions. In November, former Sheriff Mark Curran was defeated by Sheriff John Idleburg and Petrillo was ousted in a reorganization.

An Army veteran, Petrillo has a master's degree in organizational leadership and decades of experience in various levels of management.

"John has a proven record of being a superior leader, project manager, problem solver and true team player," said Fleischhauer, who in September was named the permanent replacement for former Village Manager John Kalmar.

Kalmar was forced to resign for reasons that were not publicly disclosed. He received nearly $161,000 in salary and other payouts, according to terms of his contract.

Like Fleischhauer's, Petrillo's contract has a clause that allows the mayor or village board to fire him at any time, without notice, for any reason. Both also agreed to waive any severance pay or compensation if either party terminates the contract.

"I think the village was sensitive to that, particularly after Mr. Kalmar left," Hunt said. "It just makes sense all the way around."

Petrillo's appointment to the $127,500-a-year job was enthusiastically approved by the village board 6-0, with Mayor Roger Byrne absent.

Trustee David Oppenheim said he favored the hire "considering the particular attributes of Mr. Petrillo and his long-standing service to the village, the community, the state and the country."

"Sentiments I think all of us would echo," Trustee Thom Koch Jr. added.

Petrillo, a Lake Villa resident, said he considers Vernon Hills to be like his home and family.

"I've been part of many exceptional organizations but I have never felt more satisfied than my service here," he said.

As assistant manager, Petrillo will oversee human resources and other aspects of village operations but will not be as deeply involved in community and economic development as past assistants.

Fleischhauer said Petrillo has a strong background in human resources and information technology.

"I can only believe that his two years in Lake County, where he supervised over 500 employees, has further strengthened these skills and helped him develop some new ones," he added.

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