After Rolling Meadows city manager's firing, longtime finance director the next to leave

Longtime Rolling Meadows Finance Director Melissa Gallagher - who has been doubling as temporary city manager since the city council's firing of Barry Krumstok in July - plans to resign in three weeks to take a job in Lake County, officials said.

The resignation of Gallagher, who has overseen the finance department for 15 years, comes amid the annual city budget process and ongoing turmoil at city hall related to the termination of Krumstok, who worked for the city for 22 years.

In a news release, city officials said information on appointing a temporary city manager will be announced soon.

They said they're working with Northbrook-based GovHR USA, which operates a public sector temporary staffing services subsidiary, to finalize the selection of an interim finance director to take Gallagher's place.

She leaves Oct. 22, before taking a new job as Lake County's deputy finance director.

"I look forward to the next chapter in my career," Gallagher said in the release. "I will miss working for the city, with staff, and on behalf of its residents and businesses, but I will remain part of the Rolling Meadows community as a resident. Our family loves it here."

Mayor Joe Gallo - who was at odds with Krumstok - heaped praise on Gallagher.

"Melissa has been an asset to the city, combining business acumen with strategic vision," Gallo said in the release. "I'm happy to have worked with her and we are all extremely proud of Melissa's contributions throughout the years managing the city's finite resources."

The council formally appointed Gallagher temporary city manager to handle day-to-day operations at city hall soon after aldermen voted 5-2 on July 13 to dismiss Krumstok. That vote came a day after Krumstok filed suit against the city and Gallo, who had placed the longtime manager on administrative leave and asked him to resign only days earlier.

Krumstok alleged employment retaliation and discrimination, arguing that his firing stemmed from a personal vendetta dating back to 2019. Gallo denied the accusations.

Last week, both sides said they reached a settlement after a mediation attended by both Krumstok and Gallo. The agreement is still pending a vote by the city council, which could consider it as early as Oct. 12.

There's no word yet on how much the settlement might cost, though city officials said it would be funded through the city's insurance coverage provider and therefore wouldn't affect the city's budget or residents' taxes.

Gallagher, who has overseen a dozen consecutive city budget cycles and capital plans, will be leaving midway through council discussions and approvals for the fiscal year 2022 budget.

A draft of the spending plan was released Sept. 14, and aldermen had their first review Sept. 21. A public hearing for the budget is scheduled for Oct. 12, ahead of final votes on the budget and tax levy - which proposes no increase - in November.

Meanwhile, the city manager hiring committee - a three-person subcommittee of the council - met twice this week behind closed doors as part of their search for Krumstok's permanent replacement. The meetings on Friday afternoon and last Monday came after the panel narrowed its pool of qualified applicants to five.

The committee, which includes Gallo and two aldermen, has met a total of seven times since August.

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