Byline: Kate Clements Daily Herald Staff Writer
Ending what have been strained relations in Carpentersville since the first day of his employment, the village board voted 6-1 to fire Village Manager Kevin O'Donnell after a late-night meeting Tuesday.
Trustee Jim Schuldt was the sole objector. Trustees James Brasel, Carole Cardot, John Noverini, Ed Regalado and Judy Sigwalt plus Village President Cheryal Callahan voted to terminate O'Donnell, who has held the post since 1998.
O'Donnell said the decision came as a surprise to him and he didn't know why the board fired him.
"I'm shocked and disheartened," O'Donnell said. "I'm completely flabbergasted. I've never seen any written evaluation of my work and they provided me with no reasons."
The village board had requested a written self evaluation from O'Donnell a couple of weeks ago, and "many of the board members had led me to believe that things were moving in a positive direction," he said.
Callahan refused to comment on O'Donnell's termination, but said fire Chief John Schuldt has been named acting village manager until an interim manager can be hired.
On the advice of village attorney Bernard Paul, the village board has agreed not to comment other than to say that the board decided it was time for a change, Regalado said.
"It is regrettable that it came to termination, but we've agreed not to discuss the details," Noverini said. "We're ready to move forward from here with a unified board and start looking for candidates for the job."
Trustees Schuldt, Brasel and Sigwalt did not return calls seeking comment. Cardot could not be reached.
O'Donnell claimed politics played a role in his dismissal, although he did not elaborate.
"It's a known fact that the board has been split," he said. "It's been a difficult board to work with."
The board was divided for months over whether to hire him in the first place. The initial vote was 5-2, with Callahan and Regalado voting no. Once the decision was official, the board formally voted unanimously to hire O'Donnell in order to start with a clean slate.
One of O'Donnell's first duties as village manager was to hire a new police chief, now Phil Major.
But before Major was hired as top cop, the village had to pull an offer made to William "Duke" Whiteside for the same job after several inconsistencies were discovered in his resume.
O'Donnell defended the two-month screening process for the new police chief. The important thing is that the questionable credentials were discovered before Whiteside actually signed a contract, he said.
The flap over the incident surfaced again in Nov. 1998, when the village board wrestled with the decision of whether to give O'Donnell a 4-percent raise less than a year after he was hired.
The board voted 4-3 to give him the salary increase. Cardot, Schuldt, Brasel and former Trustee Mark Boettger voted for the 4-percent raise, while Callahan, Regalado and former Trustee Robert Jacoby voted against it. …