By Bob Uphues
Brookfield President Kit Ketchmark and the rest of the board of trustees extended Village Manger Keith Sbiral a vote of confidence on May 8 by voting unanimously to award him a pay raise and a contract extension.
Sbiral's contract, like all municipal managers, runs concurrently with the term of the village president. With Ketchmark being sworn in for a second term on May 8, the village board met in executive session prior to awarding Sbiral the extension, which coincides with Ketchmark's second term and will terminate in 2021.
"I think he does a very good job with some challenging times and there's going to be challenging times going forward right now," said Trustee Michael Garvey, perhaps referring to the ongoing labor dispute between village management and public works employees.
Garvey, who was sworn in May 8 for a second consecutive term as trustee, was village president when Sbiral was appointed assistant village manager in 2006, a job he held under then-Manager Riccardo Ginex, until Ginex's departure in 2014.
Since being hired as manager, Sbiral has shaken up some top management spots, replacing both the police chief and public works director in 2015.
Sbiral's choice for police chief, James Episcopo was received favorably by residents and staff. But, his public works pick, Kenneth Blaauw, was terminated April 28 after a year-long battle with his employees, who complained of poor treatment and whose union filed multiple grievances and unfair labor practice complaints in the past year.
Garvey, however, stated he was confident in Sbiral's ability manage large public works projects under way in the village as well as managing day-to-day operations of the village.
"I feel supremely confident he's our choice moving forward, and I'm looking forward to four more years with him," Garvey said.
Trustee Ryan Evans focused on what may be Sbiral's greatest strength, his background in urban planning. Since taking over as manager, Sbiral has reorganized the building department, rechristening it the Community and Economic Development Department, and hired a new village planner and a department director with experience as a consultant at a firm that specialized in municipal finance and economic development.
One of the more notable accomplishments of that department in the past year was overhauling the zoning code for commercial and residential districts lining the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad line.
"I look forward to the continued planning that Keith brings to the village, and I think that approach is something that sets him aside from his peers," Evans said.
According to the terms of the contract, Sbiral's salary is now $154,500 annually, an increase of 3 percent.
There were no other changes to Sbiral's contract, which was last amended a year ago when he received a $10,000 raise in salary and other benefits adjustments. In addition to his salary, Sbiral receives $15,000 annually in deferred compensation, which is paid into a retirement account.
He also receives 25 days of vacation per year, but the village does not provide him with any vehicle, cellphone or home internet allowance. Sbiral does not receive health insurance benefits through the village of Brookfield, nor is he paid additional money in lieu of those benefits.
If Sbiral is terminated from his position for any reason, he will receive four months' pay as severance.