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Anne Marie Gaura resigns as DeKalb city manager

Gaura out after four years as DeKalb’s administrative leader

DeKALB – City Manager Anne Marie Gaura is on her way out of City Hall, and she’s also in line to receive more than $108,000 in parting benefits, according to city documents.

In a news release sent Friday evening, city officials said Gaura, who has been the city’s administrative leader since 2014, had tendered her resignation, with her last day to be Tuesday. The release said she was leaving to pursue other career opportunities.

“Anne Marie Gaura served the City of DeKalb as its city manager for over four years and dedicated significant time and effort to her duties,” said a statement in the release attributed to Mayor Jerry Smith. “Her service is greatly appreciated. The city wishes her success in her future endeavors.”

Gaura earned a little more than $168,000 a year as city manager. Although her departure was portrayed as a resignation, her recently renewed contract called for her to be paid six months’ salary if the city chose to terminate it, city attorney Dean Frieders has said.

“If the City Council at any point in time chooses to terminate this agreement, the severance is six months,” Frieders told council members in November.

A mutually agreed-upon resignation also carries the same severance and benefits under Gaura’s contract.

In exchange for her resignation, Gaura will receive $84,000, the equivalent of six months’ salary, along with $15,100 for unused vacation time and almost $9,600 in unusued sick leave, according to the city. Smith affirmed that all of the terms of Gaura’s resignation agreement aligned with the terms of her contract.

He declined to comment further on the matter.

The City Council’s agenda for its Monday meeting has been amended to include accepting Gaura’s resignation.

The parting of ways comes after Gaura and the city appeared to be committed for the long haul.

The council agreed in November on an open-ended contract extension with Gaura, with her remaining eligible for merit pay increases. Gaura said at the time that the progress the city had made on her watch should have been evident.

But she did not appear to enjoy solid support from the council. Three aldermen – David Jacobson (1st Ward), Patrick Fagan (4th Ward) and Mike Verbic (6th Ward – opposed the new deal for Gaura. Several members of the public also voiced their disapproval of the contract renewal during public comment.

Smith indicated he would vote with the majority either way.

“I respect the ‘yes’ votes, and I respect the ‘no’ votes, and I felt very, very strongly as the mayor of the city of DeKalb, and as a new mayor, that it was incumbent on me to look at the majority of the council members in this vote,” Smith said at the time. “If you consider that a cop-out, so be it.”

In addition to setting an indefinite term, the contract amendments also increased her salary by 8.4 percent and set the lump-sum cash payment for her termination equal to six months’ aggregate salary instead of nine.

Gaura was hired at the end of 2013 after a months-long search to replace former City Manager Mark Biernacki, who held the position for nine years.

Former Mayor John Rey had said it was apparent in interviewing her that Gaura was a seasoned professional, has strong city management experience and a very collaborative style.

The DeKalb City Council will meet at 6 p.m. Monday in the council chambers of the DeKalb Municipal Building, 200 S. Fourth St.

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