Who is our Village Manager?


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!



7 thoughts on “Who is our Village Manager?

  1. The FOIA has come back from Wheeling with only the employment contracts and severance agreement, and I’m sorry to report that I made a mistake. In my inexperience with FOIA requests, I asked for specific documents which ended up as exempt and denied by Wheeling. After speaking with the Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor, I learned that I should have been far more broad in my request, a mistake that I did not make the second time. Bear with me as I await for my second FOIA request to be processed. Thank you!

  2. FOILED again! I tell ya – this process is far too burdensome on a the general public. (Any of you state reps out there want to help a constituent?)All I want to know is why he left so suddenly. But, hey, resistance everywhere to that one … the first one was to narrow and asked for something that was “exempt” .. the second one now is too broad AND asked for something that was “exempt” because it MIGHT be considered a performance evaluation OR an opinion by an employee.

    Needless to say, the reasons for denial are under review by the Attorney General’s office. I’ll let them handle the red tape. Of course, our Village Manager could always just come out and SAY why he was removed so suddenly from office. Or some of the employees from Wheeling could anonymously post why so that i know how to narrow my FOIA search…

    Until I hear back … this one is still one of my top questions!

  3. Have heard some things and hope they can help further your research.

    Visit wheelingrumors.com to view past citizen comments and their feelings toward your Vill Mngr.
    wheelingil.gov has a Beth Rooney as credited for taking photos which is no doubt paying and/or giving free advertising to a relative vs. bidding such a project.
    Rumor has it Rooney was a Vill Mngr in Highwood or some place out there and his present home stood on some military land (Fort Sheridan?) and Rooney somehow got a unbelievable deal on his newly built home from the builder, figure it out. You may want to search for his real estate tax record, it may show he pays less than comparables there, kind of suspiocious given he was the Vill Mnge at the time. Heard he threatened to cut staff there as well and a state offical (elected) intervened by reminding Rooney that getting a vehicle grant and then trying to cut staff probably isnt a good idea.
    I heard wheeling loved this guy at first as he was brought in to be the hatchet-man and it left the Vill Board looking sueeky clean. Heard he wanted to privatize and/or cut fire staffing. Heard he spent lots of money of projects that bult a new Vill hall, police, and pub works stations. Axed the plan to build 2 fire stations and only built 1. Built fountains around town and did cut staffing in the Vill I hear.
    I also hear that your IT Mngr came from wheeling, but that’s Rooney’s guy so I doubt he will talk to you.

  4. You may also want to search the cook county court records with Vill of Wheeling as defendent. Heard he wrongfully fired a inspecotor, plumbing I hear, and Vill had to settle which tells me if no wrongdoing took place, why settle? Heard he fired this inspector within a year, or maybe months, of a full retirement just before a christmas.

  5. The helpfulness of people who may know something about our Village Manager is fantastic, I really appreciate some of the comments that I’m receiving. In an effort to protect the identity of people who are sending me information (especially information that only certain people that live in our state may have and might be able to identify them even if they were anonymous), I won’t post certain types of comments unless they tell me that is specifically OK to post them. Otherwise, I will keep the comments hidden and use the information to help narrow down my FOIA requests and searches.

  6. On 6/22/2009, In Cook County Circuit Court, a case was filed by a former employee of The Village of Wheeling alleging libel/slander against the Village and Manager Rooney. Case # 2009-L-007329. Well, I think we’ve scratched the surface .. I wonder what’ll happen when the bull dozer comes out to do some real digging…

  7. I can now quash one of the potential places to look as a rumor. What I’ve been able to determine so far is that the house in question was built in 1892. The records that are available show a low sale price (it was after all a military house – probably for either the base commander or a staff officer) A look into the history of these kinds of homes reveals that the majority of them required significant rehab – thus their very low selling price. Also, because the home itself was part of the original military property, it’s land value was significantly lower than the newly built homes around it, thus the reason why his property taxes were around 2.9k until 2009, and his neighbor’s were in the 15k+ range. In 2009, the taxes on the land jumped to 12k, and are currently sitting right around 18k a year. In short – there wasn’t anything funny going on there.

    I definitely appreciate the information. Better to have a rumor cleared as rumor than not cleared at all. Thanks!

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