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DeKalb council to vote on separation agreements today

Published: Sunday, June 22, 2014 11:30 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, June 23, 2014 8:54 a.m. CDT

DeKALB – The city of DeKalb will pay two building department employees more than $140,000 as part of separation agreements aldermen will vote on during the DeKalb City Council meeting Monday.

Building supervisor Kent “Lou” Larson and building inspectors Dave Reynolds voluntarily accepted separation agreements with the city Friday, according to signed copies of the agreements. Larson, Reynolds and building supervisor Roger Votaw have been on paid administrative leave since May when the city decided to look into outsourcing building and permit inspections.

Larson will receive a total of $82,834, according to his separation agreement. The city will pay Larson $50,239 for accrued paid time off, which includes 1,171 hours of sick, vacation and comp time at a rate of $42.476 an hour and a $500 “separation gift.” The city also will pay Larson an additional $32,595 lump sum payment, which is equal to 20 weeks of regular pay.

As part of his separation agreement, the city will pay Reynolds $31,748 in accrued time off, including 837 hours of sick, vacation and comp time at a rate of $37.925 an hour. Reynolds also will receive a lump sum equal to 45 days of regular pay of $26,181. In total, the city will pay Reynolds $57,929.

The city also has an agreement in place Votaw, although that separation agreement fell below City Manager Anne Marie Gaura's $20,000 spending authority and was not made public by the city.

The city's proposed fiscal year 2015 budget, which aldermen also will approve Monday, includes plans for the city to outsource building services and hire two part-time property maintenance inspectors.

Mayor John Rey said after the separation agreements are finalized, the city will likely move forward with outsourcing. Moving building and permit inspections to an outside firm would allow the city to alter its staffing levels based on the demand for inspections, Rey said, making it a more financially beneficial for the city.

“It's not an easy decision, but I think it becomes one of economics,” Rey said.

Aldermen in May approved a temporary contract with SAFEbuilt Illinois, Inc. to temporarily provide building inspections, which city staff said will save $250,000, or 56 percent, of the current costs to staff the department.

The building department changes are the latest at city hall since Gaura started in January. Former finance director Laura Pisarcik resigned March 7 after Gaura announced outside financial consultants would review the city's financial policies and procedures.

In this next year's budget, Gaura also called for the city to create a community development director position as well as a management analyst position. In turn, the city will stop using a lobbyist and economic development consultant Roger Hopkins.

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