We know who our trustees are – they live in our town and are a resident like us. Of course, only 1 of our trustees lives on the east side of the river, and even then it’s in old-town, not the east side like some of us. However, we have a Village Manager that runs the day to day business – and presumably advises our trustees on what to do in the town – and he doesn’t live here intown! (By the way, he is the FIRST Village Manager to not have to live in town – thanks Trustees!) He lives in a $750k house in Highwood, IL (on the North Shore.) A little out of touch with the average resident in our town maybe? What is our manager’s history? Where does he come from? This Inquisitive Citizen wants to know who the guy is that the village board has vested so much power in and blindly trusts!
So, I’ve started to do some checking. It seems as though his last job was in Wheeling, IL. And I’ve found the following article regarding his departure from that town, just prior to applying for the position in our village when Manager Anderson retired…
http://www.zoominfo.com/CachedPage/?archive_id=0&page_id=-1185490543&page_url=//www.journal-topics.com/topics/09/top090924.14.html&page_last_updated=2009-10-06T16:29:40&firstName=Mark&lastName=Rooney I apologize that link isnt working. Go to:
http://www.zoominfo.com/p/Mark-Rooney/459336005 instead. The article is located under the web references section.
Story posted Thursday, September 24, 2009
Rooney Out As Village Manager
Officials Quiet As To How, Why After Taking Closed Session Vote Monday
By CRAIG ADAMS Journal & Topics Reporter
Former Wheeling Village Manager Mark Rooney is gone, but the elected officials that took a closed session vote are not saying why or how.
According to Trustee Pat Horcher, the village board voted 5–2 during executive session on Monday, Sept. 21. Horcher and Trustee Robert Heer were the dissenting votes, Horcher said.
Horcher would not specify if the end of Rooney’s tenure with Wheeling was a firing, a resignation, or a vote of no confidence. “Mark Rooney is no longer our employee,” he said. “Rooney will not be in the office.”
Horcher said he knew on Monday afternoon that there would be a review of Rooney’s performance. “I didn’t think it would be a big deal,” he said. He did not want to discuss specifics of the closed session, citing an unwillingness to interfere with ongoing compensation negotiations. “I think he did a great job and I think he did a lot for the village,” Horcher added. “I was pretty surprised.”
The vote was only held in closed session, Horcher said. “There was no open session vote.” Village Attorney James Ferolo did not return calls for comment on the propriety of a vote in closed session. Under the Illinois Open Meetings Act, boards may discuss employment, compensation, and dismissal of employees in closed session, but any final action must occur in open session.
Horcher also confirmed that Jon Sfondilis, the assistant village manager, is now the acting village manager for Wheeling, a move reflected on the village’s Web site.
The four trustees that voted with Village President Judy Abruscato refused to answer questions about Rooney’s departure. Trustees Dean Argiris, Ken Brady, Ray Lang, and Dave Vogel all replied that any questions must be directed to Abruscato. “You’ll have to take that up with the village president,” Lang said. “She had asked us to have all information on that go through her.”
Brady added, “I’m not going to say if he (Rooney) was fired or was asked for his resignation or wants to quit.”
This is not the first time Abruscato has tried to steer media inquiries from elected officials. Shortly after her election, she refused to answer any questions about her nominations of Lang and Vogel to the board. On Tuesday, May 5, she said, “All media questions go through the village manager,” adding, “That’s the new direction.”
With the village manager gone, the four trustees that voted with her have indicated the revised new direction is for Abruscato to answer all questions. However, she did not return calls made to her home and office for comment.
Heer also did not return a telephone message.
Now, this resident wonders – what aren’t we being told? If our Manager had left wheeling on good terms, why the secrecy? Was this simply politics at it’s worst – entirely possible given the turmoils our village has been through with the idiot politicians we elect on a regular basis! Hopefully a FOIA should clear this one up, we’ll see what answers Wheeling IL has – but whatever the answers are, the more important question is: Did our Village Board know the reasons why our Manager left Wheeling? And why did our Village Trustees pick Mark Rooney – the number 2 candidate over the number 1 candidate? Did they want someone they could control … did they want someone that was adept at reducing services to the village? What was the reasoning behind their decision? We may never know – but whatever facts I can dig up will hopefully shed some light!