After litigation over old city manager settled, replacement named in Rolling Meadows

  • Rob Sabo

    Rob Sabo

 
 
Updated 12/10/2021 7:03 PM

Rolling Meadows will have a new city manager in place to start the new year, after months of turmoil at city hall amid the firing, litigation and settlement involving the longtime previous city administrator.

The city council unanimously agreed this week to appoint Rob Sabo, the assistant city manager in Highland Park since 2016, to the top administrative post in Rolling Meadows effective Jan. 4.

 

"As you know sitting up here on the dais sometimes -- most times -- it's difficult coming to consensus," Mayor Joe Gallo said ahead of the vote. "But I do have to say that I feel very positive with the fact that all eight of us came to a consensus almost simultaneously and indicated our choice unanimously. And so with that, I'm proud that we're moving forward and I appreciate the work that everybody did to make this happen."

Gallo, along with Aldermen Lara Sanoica and Jon Bisesi, formed a hiring committee and reviewed dozens of resumes over the course of seven closed-door meetings between August and October, before forwarding their five top choices to the full council, Sanoica told the Daily Herald Friday.

The council ranked those five and conducted interviews with the top three, who also met with city department heads, Sanoica said.

Sabo, she said, was the "clear winner of the pack" as decided by the mayor and seven aldermen.

Under terms of the city's Nov. 30 offer letter that was accepted by Sabo Dec. 1, he'll earn a starting salary of $170,000 and be eligible for a bonus up to 5% on or before March 31, 2023, if he meets performance goals still to be established by him and the council.

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During his first evaluation a year from now, the council will consider a salary increase and the option of an employment contract that includes severance, the offer letter says.

For now, Sabo is considered an at-will employee appointed for an indefinite term.

"I'm sure all city managers prefer to have a contract in place in the event the city council changes," Sanoica said. "It's understandable why city managers have the practice in place, but thankfully with this city manager that wasn't necessarily a concern that came up."

Sabo will also get a city-owned vehicle to use during the day -- but not take home -- as well as a laptop and cellphone, paid professional membership dues up to $5,000 annually, 25 vacation days, five sick days and insurance benefits, according to the offer letter.

He replaces Barry Krumstok, a city employee since 1999 and city manager since 2010 who was terminated on a 5-2 vote of the council July 13. Krumstok had sued the city and Gallo a day earlier, claiming the mayor put him on administrative leave and asked for his resignation as a result of a personal vendetta.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Gallo denied the accusations, and the council later gave Krumstok a list of nine reasons they voted to fire him, including a lack of alignment with the council's vision for the city and resistance to change. In October, aldermen agreed to settle the federal lawsuit for $250,000.

When he was fired, Krumstok had seven months left on his $195,794-a-year contract.

Meanwhile, Sabo's appointment is his first to a top municipal administrative position. Prior to becoming Highland Park's assistant city manager in 2016, he was deputy city clerk for a year. He was assistant to the village manager in Northbrook for a year, assistant to the city administrator in Prospect Heights for nearly a year, and a management analyst and deputy city clerk in Prospect Heights for nearly three years. He was a management analyst and administrative intern in Highwood for more than three years, according to his LinkedIn page.

Sabo has a master's in public administration from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a bachelor's degree from the University of Iowa.

Police Chief John Nowacki will continue as temporary city manager until Sabo starts Jan. 4.

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