Lake in the Hills expected to appoint new village administrator Thursday

LAKE IN THE HILLS – Although both Lake in the Hills village president candidates said firing Village Administrator Doug Petroshius will be costly, they also agreed the problems the village has had with him couldn’t have been discerned in the interview process. 

Petroshius was placed on administrative leave March 8 after it was determined that his “approach, attitude and manner of communicating regarding village affairs” was not in alignment with the village, Lake in the Hills Village President Paul Mulcahy said.

Petroshius started in December and was hired to fill the position left by former Village Administrator Gerald Sagona, who was placed on administrative leave and resigned after about 20 years on the job. 

Mulcahy, who is being challenged by Lake in the Hills Trustee Russ Ruzanski in the April 4 consolidated election, said Assistant Village Administrator Jennifer Clough is expected to be appointed as the new village administrator at Thursday’s Village Board meeting.

At the Northwest Herald’s editorial board interview with the candidates Monday, both Mulcahy and Ruzanski discussed the process of hiring Petroshius and the village’s next steps in filling the village administrator position.

Although Mulcahy and a four-person committee – including Lake in the Hills human resources coordinator Anita Neville, attorney Richard Flood and social worker Sue Blechschmidt – interviewed candidates for the position last year before four finalists were interviewed by the Village Board, it still turned out to be a bad hire, Mulcahy said. 

“We’re going to act very swiftly to resolve that and make it a change that we are very hopeful will be a long-term appointment and very successful,” Mulcahy said. “One guy left, we found another guy. That’s not instability. But then that turned out to be the wrong person.”

Mulcahy said Petroshius was the unanimous choice of the Village Board for the position. 

In hindsight, Ruzanski said he wishes the village would’ve given Petroshius a lower starting salary. Petroshius’ contract said he would receive a $140,000 annual salary, and six months’ severance pay if his position is terminated. 

Before working for Lake in the Hills, Petroshius was the assistant village manager in Lincolnwood, a village of about 12,500 people in Cook County. 

“I would definitely look for some experience with someone who has been a village administrator prior to coming to us, because we’re really not a stepping stone, we are a municipality that needs someone with that background, that experience,” Ruzanski said on how the hiring process could’ve gone better. 

Clough has previously filled in as interim village administrator for Lake in the Hills.

Even if he’s fired, Petroshius will remain on paid administrative leave through May 11 under the terms of his contract.

At Tuesday’s Committee of the Whole meeting, trustees will discuss amending a village ordinance to allow the Village Board to retain an additional village administrator in the event that the village administrator is unable to perform his or her duties, according a village memo. 

The Village Board is expected to consider firing Petroshius and appointing Clough at its next Village Board meeting at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Lake in the Hills Village Hall, 600 Harvest Gate. 

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