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Hamilton resigns as Grundy County administrator

Accepts position as city manager for Park Ridge

Shawn Hamilton resigned as Grundy County administrator to pursue a position as city manager for Park Ridge, Ill.
Shawn Hamilton resigned as Grundy County administrator to pursue a position as city manager for Park Ridge, Ill.

Grundy County Administrator Shawn Hamilton has resigned to take a job with the city of Park Ridge, where he will make double his current salary.

Starting Wednesday, Aug. 1, Hamilton will be Park Ridge's new interim city manager. Hamilton said he had to make his resignation effective immediately in order to start at Park Ridge and be trained by the current manager at Park Ridge.

"I had to do this because it's an opportunity of a lifetime I could not pass up," he said Tuesday.

In September, Hamilton was hired as the Grundy County administrator with a one-year contract that paid him $70,000 a year. He will make $140,000 and has a nine-month contract at Park Ridge.

Hamilton's hiring was recommended by Mayor David Schmidt and was approved 5-2 by the Park Ridge Council Monday night. His contract is interim because it can only be as long as the mayor's term, which has nine months remaining, Hamilton said. Since it's an interim position, he does not have to move to Park Ridge as of right now.

In May, Park Ridge fired City Manager Jim Hock, according to published reports. The council approved his termination unanimously, stating he fell short of expectations. Hock has been with Park Ridge since 2008. Deputy City Manager Juliana Maller took over for Hock, and Hamilton is taking over for her. Hamilton said Hock was making about $195,000 a year when he was manager.

Despite some previous bad blood between Hamilton and Grundy County Board Chairman Ron Severson, Hamilton was not looking for a new job when he submitted his resume to Park Ridge.

He said he has several former co-workers who live in the Park Ridge area. They told him about the job opening and encouraged him to apply for the position.

"I was not out there looking for a position ... My resume was not submitted for any positions elsewhere," he said. "This is an opportunity I couldn't pass up and many factors went into making that decision whether it be compensation, the area or the skill set they were looking for."

Hamilton thanked both the chairman and the board for their support.

"I've worked hard to improve communication within the organization, fine tune the budget process and improve staff performance through the evaluation process," he said in his letter of resignation.

"As a lifetime resident of Grundy County, I want to wish the board, county employees and all residents nothing but the very best for the future," Hamilton continued in the letter.

Chairman Severson said Tuesday he wished Hamilton nothing but the best of luck.

"I will say after we had a meeting — sat down and said we have our differences, but for the good of the county we have to work together — we have had no cross words since," Severson said.

"Shawn had a really good offer, and I wish him the best of luck," he continued.

When Hamilton was hired in September, Severson would not sign his contract, but board member Dave Boggs did instead. In public and through the media, the two have had altercations regarding communication and responsibilities.

Hamilton acknowledges in his letter he may need to reimburse the county for a portion of salary for breaking his contract.


Severson still believes the county does not need a full-time administrator.

When Hamilton was hired, Severson maintained the duties could continue to be filled by Land Use Director Heidi Miller and Board Secretary Sandy Pommier.

"There are only 19 counties of 102 in Illinois with administrators," Severson said Tuesday.

He continued that he didn't feel Grundy needed one. He feels something different could be done, such as an administrative assistant or a contractual person.

Severson will be meet with the other 17 board members to get everyone's opinion on what the county should do next as far as the now open administrator position.

The county just finished its budget hearings with its departments and is in the process of setting next year's budget. Without Hamilton, Severson said the county board committees will handle the remaining budget work.

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