The longtime administrative assistant to Brookfield’s village manager has filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission after her position was targeted for elimination, effective April 30.
On Feb. 11, village trustees voted unanimously to eliminate the position of director of administrative and residential services in response to a request from Village Manager Timothy Wiberg to swap that position for an assistant village manager post.
The vote came without discussion as part of the consent agenda for the village board’s Feb. 11 meeting.
That decision left Theresa Coady, who was hired in 1999 and has served as an administrative assistant for four village managers, apparently out of a job, although Wiberg said she can apply for the newly created position.
Coady referred all questions to her attorney, Stacey Vucko. In response to an email from the Landmark seeking comment on her client’s situation, Vucko issued a statement confirming the legal complaint.
“My client has a pending EEOC charge,” said Vucko, whose Downers Grove-based law firm specializes in handing workplace rights issues for women. “She was shocked and disturbed by the ordinance which the village board passed on [Feb. 11]. She will suspend further comment at this time.”
When former Brookfield Village Manager Keith Sbiral resigned almost a year ago, he left behind an unsettled administrative structure at village hall – one he’d announced internally but for which he hadn’t gotten the village board’s blessing.
In his request to hire an assistant village manager and eliminate Coady’s position, Wiberg is starting to put his own stamp on the organization. Wiberg described the future assistant village manager as someone who can manage projects and has a particular grasp of information technology.
“I see a need for an assistant village manager that can implement projects and initiatives across the organization,” said Wiberg, calling out information technology and software upgrades, implementation of the village’s new GIS program, providing better customer service to residents, and managing the village’s website and social media presence as examples.
The lack of that person in house right now, Wiberg said, means that he spends more time on day-to-day paperwork, preventing him from doing more strategic planning and getting out into the community more.
“Right now I need some assistance to move along the initiatives I’d like to implement,” Wiberg said.
Brookfield also lacks an in-house information technology expert.
“We need someone who has the nuts and bolts knowledge and an infusion of more state-of-the-art technology than we have currently,” Wiberg said.
Because there’s no money in the budget to add a position to the organizational chart, Wiberg asked for and received approval from the village board on Feb. 11 to eliminate the position of director of administrative and residential services, effective April 30, to clear the way for an assistant manager.
Coady is the director of administrative and residential services, working for many years as the deputy clerk and administrative assistant to the village manager.
In March 2018, Sbiral announced that Coady had been promoted to assistant village manager in a staff-only memo that outlined other internal shifts, some of which went through and some of which didn’t.
Coady’s promotion at that time reportedly did not come with a raise in salary, and it’s unclear if it ever was made official. When asked if Coady ever officially held that title, Michelle Robbins, the village’s human resources director, said she could “not answer that question at this time.”
Wiberg said Coady is free to apply for the assistant village manager position, but made no promises.
“We’re doing a full, nationwide search and we’ll hire the best applicant,” Wiberg said.
The search is being handled in house by Robbins, and the position will be advertised in national and state publications in addition to taking advantage of other contacts in local government “to cast as wide a net as possible.”
Asked if he planned on hiring someone he worked with at his previous post in Lincolnwood, Wiberg said he was not.