The 9 reasons Rolling Meadows council gave ex-city manager for his firing

  • Rolling Meadows City Manager Barry Krumstok, right, is suing Mayor Joe Gallo and the city, alleging he was fired in retaliation for Krumstok's investigation of harassment claims against Gallo. The city council disagreed with the allegation of retaliation, records show.

    Rolling Meadows City Manager Barry Krumstok, right, is suing Mayor Joe Gallo and the city, alleging he was fired in retaliation for Krumstok's investigation of harassment claims against Gallo. The city council disagreed with the allegation of retaliation, records show.

 
 
Posted7/28/2021 5:00 AM

The Rolling Meadows City Council gave City Manager Barry Krumstok a list of nine reasons they voted to fire him, including a resistance to change and lack of alignment with the council's vision for the city, according to records obtained by the Daily Herald.

The nine bullet points are part of a three-page notice of removal from office and termination of employment, which was sent to Krumstok and his attorney July 20 by City Attorney Melissa Wolf. It came a week after the council's 5-2 vote to direct Wolf to prepare the notice of termination, following a two-hour, 20-minute closed-session discussion among the seven aldermen and Mayor Joe Gallo.

 

The city provided a copy of the document late Monday afternoon in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

In the letter, Wolf wrote that the council found Krumstok's claims of employment retaliation and discrimination -- as outlined in a July 12 federal lawsuit -- to be "without merit and lack a good faith basis."

Krumstok has alleged the firing stems from a personal vendetta dating back to 2019, when Krumstok penned a report that concluded then-Alderman Gallo harassed a fellow council member.

"The council has determined that its decision regarding your removal from office and termination from employment is in no way based upon retaliatory or discriminatory reasons, but is based upon the reasons set forth above, which reasons had been made known to you on many different occasions," Wolf wrote.

Krumstok's attorney, Keith Hunt, on Tuesday disagreed that any of those reasons were articulated to Krumstok before he filed suit.

"There was never given any indication there was any problem with his performance. We think at the end of the day, there will be a long line of witnesses that talk about the highly professional and highly competent nature of Barry's performance," Hunt said of his request for a jury trial. "When people start making up excuses after the fact, it's a pretty clear indication of the veracity of those reasons."

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Among the reasons, aldermen determined Krumstok failed to meet the annual goals they established for him, according to the notice of termination.

One of those goals -- to create an assistant city manager position -- appeared to be intentionally delayed, Wolf wrote, and communication to the council about the status of that goal didn't come until after the April aldermanic elections.

The firing also stemmed from Krumstok's "apparent failure" to recognize the council's authority to set policy, and lack of accountability to the council, Wolf wrote. Council members also said Krumstok didn't sufficiently provide materials in advance of meetings for their consideration.

In the letter, aldermen charged that Krumstok tried to create division among the council. They also said he lacked effort in improving economic development in the city and didn't appear willing to help the council establish a location for a COVID-19 vaccine clinic.

In response to some of the specific reasons outlined, Hunt said Krumstok had already completed two of his three established goals for the year. More generally, Hunt acknowledged there may have been disagreements within city hall about the roles of the mayor, council and manager.

"In a city-manager form of government, the council sets direction and policy, but the city manager runs the show, and that's contrary to the way a lot of mayors think it ought to be," said Hunt, who was mayor of Hawthorn Woods from 2001 to 2009.

Krumstok, 51, a city employee since 1999, had seven months left on his current $195,794-a-year contract. Finance Director Melissa Gallagher has been named acting city manager.

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