Rolling Meadows aldermen vote 5-2 to fire city manager who's sued mayor
Rolling Meadows aldermen took action late Tuesday to fire City Manager Barry Krumstok, a day after the longtime city administrator filed an employment retaliation suit against Mayor Joe Gallo for putting him on administrative leave.
The 5-2 vote in open session came after a 2-hour, 20-minute meeting of Gallo and aldermen in closed session to discuss Krumstok's future. That followed earlier public comment from defenders of both Krumstok and Gallo. Krumstok, who has overseen day-to-day operations at city hall since 2010, wasn't at the meeting.
Only Aldermen Kevin O'Brien and Jon Bisesi voted against a motion to direct the city attorney to prepare a notice of termination, for reasons stated in the closed session. The council then unanimously agreed to place Krumstok on paid administrative leave, retroactive from last Thursday to the date of the termination notice.
No further discussion was held in open session, and the mayor and aldermen abruptly left city hall after the vote.
Krumstok's federal lawsuit, filed Monday, alleges Gallo placed him on administrative leave and called for his resignation last Thursday in retaliation for his 2019 report that concluded then-Alderman Gallo harassed a fellow council member. Krumstok said in the suit that Gallo, since becoming mayor in April 2019, has threatened him with termination a half-dozen times because of the internal city investigation.
Before the vote Tuesday night, five residents spoke at the meeting in support of keeping Krumstok, including two-time mayoral candidate and former Planning and Zoning Commission Vice Chairman Dave Whitney.
"I've worked with Mr. Krumstok in volunteer activities for over 15 years here," said Whitney, who lost the 1st Ward aldermanic race in April. "I've never known Mr. Krumstok to do anything that would negatively impact the city. He's always been ethical, fair and upfront."
Former state Rep. Suzie Bassi, the city's representative on the Meet Chicago Northwest tourism bureau board for a decade until recently stepping down, cautioned the council to be aware of the legalities of their decision and the expense of litigation.
"It is embarrassing to have the city of Rolling Meadows be in a position where what has happened may very well be illegal, not to mention despicable and reprehensible to treat a member of the staff in such a manner without due process, without an opportunity to at least understand what they're doing," Bassi said.
Three people defended Gallo against accusations of anti-Semitism leveled by Krumstok in the lawsuit. Krumstok alleges Gallo complained about the frequency of Jewish holidays he took off work.
"The mayor has treated me and my religion with utmost respect," said Nancy Mau, who worked with Gallo to set up a recent vaccination clinic and other activities. "Joe is not an anti-Semite."
Krumstok, 51, a city employee since 1999, has seven months left on his current $195,794-a-year contract. Gallo has named city Finance Director Melissa Gallagher acting city manager.