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Ousted RedTail Golf Club manager faced series of complaints

Lakewood's RedTail Golf Club manager was terminated in August

Lakewood trustees voted unanimously to oust Terry Remke in August. He held the position at the village-owned club, at 7900 Redtail Drive, for less than six months.
Lakewood trustees voted unanimously to oust Terry Remke in August. He held the position at the village-owned club, at 7900 Redtail Drive, for less than six months.

Before the manager of RedTail Golf Club was terminated, he faced a series of complaints from village staff.

Lakewood trustees voted unanimously to oust Terry Remke in August. He held the position at the village-owned club, 7900 RedTail Drive, for about six months.

The Northwest Herald filed a Freedom of Information Act request for any village records regarding disciplinary action against Remke.

The documents, which were partially redacted, shed light on what Remke’s supervisor, Chief Administrative Officer Jeannine Smith, called “unsatisfactory performance” by the golf club manager. Remke’s attorney disputes her claims.

Remke was hired in the spring by Smith. The manager position did not require board approval. The position’s advertisement listed the salary as $60,000 with a performance-based bonus plan.

Remke deferred comment to his attorney, but said he would be open to talking at a later time.

The complaints

On July 2, Smith sent Remke a memo outlining several instances of “unsatisfactory performance of assigned work” that created or contributed to “an unsafe condition on village premises.”

“Among other things, it just wasn’t a good fit,” was Smith’s response to a question emailed to her from the Northwest Herald about whether the problems listed in the document contributed to his termination.

Among the problems outlined in the memo: poor communication with Smith, delayed repairs and projects, inaccurate rates on the club website, and poor customer service.

On April 10, Remke and Smith had a conversation about how he was “lax in follow-through with completing work tasks and initiatives.”

According to the memo, Smith had directed Remke to send her a report of activities every two weeks so that she could check his progress. She wrote that as of July 2, she had not received any such reports from him.

On May 1, Remke was told the rates listed on the village website were incorrect and that he needed to correct them.

“You were also asked to have the computer program updated to include costs for food and beverage items so that I can track cash flows better and margins. To date this has not been completed,” Smith wrote in the memo.

Smith also took issue with the customer service offered at the club and its grill.

“I have received many complaints from residents and staff alike as to the poor attitude they receive from various employees in that area,” Smith wrote in the memo.

She wrote that on June 28, she stopped by the Hawk’s Nest Pub to try a burger from the new grill.

“I was told by the bartender on duty that I had to go outside first and order the burger, come back in to pay for it, go back outside to retrieve my meal and come back in to place my own condiments on the burger.”

Smith wrote she was upset by the process. She also wrote she was “taken back” on another date “by language you directed at a committee member. ... I was later advised that this behavior is extended to customers.”

Jean Heckman, the village treasurer, is serving as interim manager.

Smith said Heckman is “doing very well!” in an email to the Northwest Herald. Smith said only she and the village president could comment on the matter. Smith declined to comment in person.

Attorney responds

Remke referred comment to his attorney, Mike Leonard, who called Smith’s accusations “outrageous.”

Leonard said he recently sent a demand letter to the village regarding Remke’s ouster.

“We believe that he was terminated in violation of his agreement with them, in terms of he would be employed for a certain duration,” Leonard said. “Secondly, we believe that he was terminated in a discriminatory manner. ... We have sent a demand letter to the village and asserted the basis for our various legal claims against them. Right now we’re considering which remedies we’re going to pursue.”

Leonard said the village offered Remke a “token severance” of $10,000.

“We have opted to decline that,” he said.

Resigned from previous position

Remke, a former Lisle golf pro, was charged in 2008 with stealing more than $10,000 from the Lisle Park District. He pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of Class B misdemeanor theft for unauthorized control of property not exceeding $300, and was placed on two years of probation, according to DuPage County court documents.

Remke worked at the golf course owned by the Lisle Park District for 14 years and resigned as superintendent of the club in May 2007.

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