Rolling Meadows mayor calls fired manager's allegations meritless
The reasons behind the dismissal of Rolling Meadows City Manager Barry Krumstok aren't those alleged in his employment retaliation suit, one of the proponents of his firing said Wednesday.
"Certainly, something will come out in the near future that lets the public know the council made a decision based on sound judgment and not just emotion," Alderman Nick Budmats said the day after the council's 5-2 vote to fire the longtime city administrator. "In time, well-defined and thought-out reasons will be presented, and it will make sense when the whole picture (is presented)."
Budmats' remarks came Wednesday hours before Mayor Joe Gallo issued his first public remarks about Krumstok's lawsuit. In his written statement, Gallo denies Krumstok's allegations that the firing stems from a personal vendetta dating back to 2019.
"I am disheartened, to say the least, about the lawsuit that has been filed by Mr. Krumstok against the city of Rolling Meadows and me. I have been instructed by legal counsel to restrict my communications on this matter, but it is important for me to say that the allegations in the complaint are without merit and I intend on vigorously defending the accusations made against me," Gallo wrote.
"I want to assure the residents of the city that while I hold office, I will continue to conduct myself with integrity, while always keeping the best interests of my city and its residents at the forefront."
Much of Krumstok's lawsuit is directed at Gallo, who the former manager alleges threatened him with termination a half-dozen times since becoming mayor in April 2019. The suit alleges Gallo placed him on administrative leave and called for his resignation last Thursday in retaliation for a 2019 report that concluded then-Alderman Gallo harassed a fellow council member.
Budmats, the Ward 2 alderman who made the motion late Tuesday to direct the city attorney to prepare a notice of termination, said that document would include the reasons stated during the council's 2-hour, 20-minute closed session.
But the document wasn't made available by the attorney Wednesday.
Most aldermen on Wednesday were reluctant to discuss what led them to fire Krumstok, who has overseen day-to-day operations at city hall since 2010.
"I'd prefer not to, only because there's litigation that's pending," Budmats said, referencing Krumstok's lawsuit filed Monday. "If that were to go away, that'd be a different story."
When asked how he would assess Krumstok's job performance, Budmats would say only that aldermen regularly assess the city manager in closed session. The meeting Tuesday night would have been the regular midyear review of his goals.
"It's an ongoing thing we've done during my time on the council," said Budmats, appointed to the panel in 2017. "It's an organized and well-thought-out process in how we evaluate his performance."
Krumstok, 51, a city employee since 1999, had seven months left on his current $195,794-a-year contract.
Finance Director Melissa Gallagher is serving as acting city manager. Budmats said the council will have to work with Gallagher to delegate some of her duties so she's not overburdened, while the search begins for a new, permanent manager.
"I think we'll have to do a good search for a good candidate," Budmats said. "I think we need to do it quickly, but we need to make a thorough search so that the best candidate is chosen."