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Government Local

Kapitan resigns as DeKalb city clerk, receives severance package

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Kapitan separation agreement

DeKALB – After resigning his elected position as DeKalb city clerk, Steve Kapitan will receive two months in salary and benefits as part of a separation agreement with the city.

Mayor Kris Povlsen said Kapitan cited “personal reasons” Thursday for his resignation, which was effective Friday. City officials announced the resignation Monday and disclosed the one-page separation agreement.

The agreement – signed Friday by Kapitan and City Manager Mark Biernacki – stipulated that as severance, Kapitan would receive salary payments and continuation of current benefits for two months. The agreement also stated Kapitan tendered his “unconditional, voluntary resignation” as city clerk effective Friday.

Biernacki said Kapitan was to be paid an annual salary of $61,001 in Fiscal Year 2012. His severance will be about $10,165. Biernacki said the city budgets 35 percent in addition to salary for benefits but was unsure whether Kapitan chose to receive a lesser amount from the city.

Povlsen said after Kapitan came to him and Biernacki and explained why he was resigning, they offered the severance package.

“We felt it was in his best interest and the city’s best interest to offer him the severance,” Povlsen said.

The severance is what employees who voluntarily resigned during the city’s layoffs in 2010 were offered, Biernacki said.

When asked why an elected official who quit was receiving severance, Biernacki said: “His position is unique in that while being an elected official he’s also a full-time employee.”

City Attorney Dean Frieders said the severance was consistent with legal codes regulating municipalities.

Repeated phone calls made Monday to Kapitan seeking an explanation for his resignation were not answered. Nobody answered the door when a reporter visited his home.

DeKalb County State’s Attorney Clay Campbell said Monday that Kapitan is not under investigation by his office.

However, Campbell said Frieders came to his Sycamore office Thursday to consult with him and John Farrell regarding Kapitan. Farrell is the head of the civil division for the state’s attorney’s office. Campbell said he couldn’t comment beyond that.

Frieders declined to comment when asked about the meeting, and he would not elaborate when asked why he wasn’t commenting.

Kapitan was elected city clerk in 2009. Before that, he served as 3rd Ward alderman from the late 1990s until 2005. His last day as clerk was Friday, and Biernacki said he helped Kapitan carry personal items out of City Hall that day.

“Steve is a good friend and has been a dedicated public servant,” Povlsen said in a news release announcing the resignation. “I wish him well in his future endeavors.”

The mayor is expected to appoint an acting city clerk at Monday’s city council meeting. That appointment would remain in place until April 2013, when the clerk’s position is up for election.

Unlike an alderman, an acting city clerk can be appointed in the event of resignation, regardless of how much time remains in the clerk’s term, Frieders said.

Deputy City Clerk Diane Wright will perform the office’s duties in the interim.

“I have all the reason in the world to think that she’ll pick up the slack admirably while we figure things out,” Povlsen said.

The separation agreement also included a “confidential information” portion, in which the city agreed to adhere to its “legal obligations with respect to the confidentiality of personal employee/officials information.”

Kapitan agreed to maintain as confidential “all information of the city that was shared with him on a confidential basis,” including information disclosed in closed meetings of governmental bodies; information related to city employees; information required by law to be confidential; and information exempt from disclosure or discussion under the state’s Freedom of Information Act or the Open Meetings Act.

• Daily Chronicle reporter Caitlin Mullen contributed to this report.

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