After about 40 years as an employee of the North Riverside Recreation Department, and its director for more than a decade, Sue Frampton, Oct. 1, announced she was retiring, effective immediately, at a meeting of the Neighborhood Services Committee.

Frampton’s departure is the latest in a series of changes at the helms of village departments since the election of Hubert Hermanek Jr. as mayor in April. Since the election, Hermanek has named a new police chief, fire chief and village attorney.

The move is not entirely unexpected and was a mutual decision, according to Hermanek, who publicly mentioned the possibility of a reorganization of the recreation department prior to the election.

“We had a meeting, discussed a lot of things and came to a mutual understanding,” said Hermanek of Frampton’s departure. “She agreed we should move in a different direction.”

Phone messages left by the Landmark for Frampton at her home were not returned.

The village’s attorney is working on a separation agreement that will include a severance package. The agreement will state officially that Frampton retired from the position, said Hermanek. It’s unclear when the deal will be finalized.

Frampton had worked for the recreation department since she was a teenager, said Village Administrator Guy Belmonte.

“She used to teach baton twirling under our first rec director,” said Belmonte.

For the next six months, the department will be helmed by Penny Devin, a longtime consultant to the North Riverside Recreation Department. Devin started her association with North Riverside in 1987, when she was a full-time parks and recreation instructor at Triton College.

After she was hired as a consultant, the director died and Devin was asked to help search for a replacement. She ended up spending the next 12 years teaching at Triton and running the recreation department. She retired in 2000, and Frampton was promoted to director in May 2001. Frampton’s salary this year was $78,820, according to information provided by the village.

Devin stayed on as a consultant, arranging large cruise tours for the department, mainly from her home in Colorado and, later, in Florida. She and her husband have temporarily relocated to the Chicago area while she reorganizes the recreation department and searches for a new director.

Devin is being paid $7,000 per month while serving as interim director, according to Hermanek. According to North Riverside’s finance director, Sue Scarpiniti, the village did not pay for any relocation costs for Devin and is not paying any rent for her while she lives in Illinois.

“At this point I’m trying to re-familiarize myself with all the processes,” said Devin. “We are making a few staff changes, but nothing drastic right now. I don’t want to move too fast.”

Hermanek said Devin will reorganize the department to make it more cost-effective.

“I think it can run more efficiently,” said Hermanek, who specifically pointed to the large numbers of part-time staffers as an area that can be tightened up. “The idea of having so many part-timers is good, but it may not work as well as less part-timers and maybe another full-time person.”

Hermanek said he’d also like for the recreation department to begin working on offering more programs for adolescents. The department has many programs for young children and for senior citizens.

“It’s probably time for some new ideas,” said Hermanek.

Devin said the plan is to finalize a job description for the new director by December and begin the search process in January. The goal, she said, is to hire someone by April 1, 2014 in order to have a month-long transition prior to the new director taking the reins for good on May 1.