Back in May 2002, the Village of Brookfield amended its contract with then-Village Manager Dave Owen, providing a severance pay clause that would pay Owen six months of his roughly $90,000 salary if he was terminated from the position.
On Aug. 31, Owen left Brookfield after being fired by Village President Michael Garvey, who was making good on a campaign promise. But when Owen walked out the door, he jumped out with a parachute amounting to nearly $80,000.
The village board on Sept. 12 unanimously approved an agreement releasing Owen from his employment as village manager. The agreement, however, changes Owen’s severance payment by linking it with a consulting arrangement with the village. Instead of simply receiving a lump sum payment, Owen will be paid the $47,350.20 severance in biweekly installments over six months.
In exchange, Owen will make himself available to village officials as a consultant, whenever he’s requested to do so. Just how much the village will seek Owen’s advice over the next six months is unknown.
“I think there may be situations where he may have information that we need,” Garvey said. “And he’s made himself available to me and to [Village Manager] Rick Ginex. There may be things over the next several months where we need his input.”
While there is no indication that Owen, 65, would have initiated any type of litigation against the village due to his termination, in the agreement Owen also waives his right to file a lawsuit against the village in the future over his employment.
In addition to the six months of consulting pay, Owen will receive another $31,233.58 for unused sick leave, vacation and personal time.
According to the agreement, Brookfield will pay Owen $17,119.28 for unused vacation pay, based on accrual of 376 hours; $9,470.24 for unused personal time, based on 208 hours; $4,279.82 for unused sick leave at 50 percent of the 188 hours he had accumulated; and $364.24 for unused birthday vacation time. As of Aug. 31, Owen was no longer covered by the village’s insurance carrier.
Owen still has his hat in the political ring, although not in Brookfield. He will continue on as mayor of South Chicago Heights, where he is serving his fourth term in office. He is retired from a career in sales.
It was shortly after he retired from his sales career that Owen came to Brookfield, first as an interim manager in 2001 after the retirement of former Village Manager James Mann following the election of Bill Russ as village president.
After a candidate search, Mark Isackson was hired as Brookfield village manager in November 2001, but it was a short-lived marriage. In February 2002, Isackson took a leave of absence, and amid controversy over Isackson’s performance as manager, Owen was again called in as a consultant to oversee village operations.
In May 2002, Isackson resigned, and village trustees in a split vote approved hiring Owen as the full-time village manager without a further candidate search.