Lake in the Hills Village Board was 'really not happy' with two recently resigned officials, village president says

Former community services director Fred Mullard may take over as village administrator permanently

Last week, two Lake in the Hills officials – village administrator Jennifer Clough and Public Works Director Dan Kaup – resigned within one day of each other. Now, village President Russ Ruzanski has said that Village Board members were "really not happy" with the two officials in the period of time leading up to their resignations.

"The board was really not happy with their leadership at this time and thought it might be time to make a change in our direction," Ruzanski said.

There were no investigations into misconduct by Clough or Kaup opened prior to their resignations, village attorney Brad Stewart said.

“There was no discipline issue to either of the individuals,” Stewart said. “The Village Board, I think, had identified that it was looking for a change in leadership in those key positions and, with a dialogue with those individuals, the change in direction was made and the village is moving forward.”

Ruzanski said that there was somewhat of a rift between the two officials and the Village Board and, upon hearing that the two were thinking about pursuing other opportunities anyway, it was decided that they would resign.

"Actually, these two folks admitted to wanting to move on and possibly pursue some other career paths, opportunities, that may have come their way,” he said.

The timing of the two resignations being accepted within just one day of one another was “just a coincidence," Ruzanski said.

Since the resignations of Kaup and Clough, Peter D'Agostino has been named as the village's interim public works director and Fred Mullard was chosen to serve as interim village administrator.

Mullard, the former community services director, said he was only partially surprised to hear June 18 that he would replace Clough starting the following morning.

“It was not anywhere near my plan or my list of desired things but I knew it was probably going to come down to myself or the police chief to fill the requirements since we’ve both been with the village for a number of years,” Mullard said.

Assistant village administrator/finance director Shane Johnson may have seemed to be the most obvious choice to replace Clough, but Ruzanski said that Mullard has more of the multidepartmental experience required of the role.

“Although, for a while, yes, [Johnson] has been an assistant to [Clough], but at the same time we had to pick the first candidate that we knew could manage the whole village,” Ruzanski said. “[Mullard] has experienced every department, pretty much, that we have here and that’s why he was the natural choice.”

Assistant director of community development Ann Marie Hess will serve as community services director in Mullard's absence.

Last week, Mullard said he only anticipated serving as interim village administrator until the board was able to find a permanent candidate "sometime in July."

On Monday afternoon, Ruzanski said that Mullard is a prime candidate to take over the role permanently, adding that the Village Board will hold off on considering other candidates for now.

“When Mr. Mullard gives us his decision whether he would prefer to stay or not is when the board will discuss that again,” he said.

When asked how he felt about serving as village administrator for Lake in the Hills long term, Mullard said he wasn't sure but that it wasn't "out of the question."

“There will probably be a bunch of decisions made here in early July as to where a lot of this is going so that we can bring some normalcy back to what we're doing on a day-to-day basis,” Mullard said. “But other than that, we've got a really good staff."

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