SYCAMORE - The former village manager of a small Wisconsin suburb just north of Milwaukee, who was ousted five months ago, could be in line to become Sycamore’s next city manager.
Sycamore Mayor Steve Braser has proposed the city hire Michael Hall, most recently the village manager in Brown Deer, Wisconsin, for the job that pays about $130,000 per year, according to city documents released Thursday.
Sycamore has been operating under an acting manager for more than nine months. City officials are expected to consider the hire during Monday’s Sycamore City Council meeting, according to the body’s agenda.
Hall was terminated in July from the Brown Deer city manager position he’d held since 2013 by a 4-3 village board vote, according to village records. Officials there held a closed session meeting via Zoom on July 8 to discuss Hall’s employment, records show.
Hall already has been offered Sycamore’s city manager position and has accepted it, records show. The appointment still needs Sycamore City Council approval.
Braser was not immediately available for comment. Messages seeking comment left for officials in Brown Deer were not immediately returned.
Acting City Manager Maggie Peck, who’s served in the role since February, said she did not put her name in the hat to be considered for the role but said she’s enjoyed her time leading the city. She said she’ll return to her former position when the new manager is hired.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank our employees, council and community for all of their support and am proud of all we have accomplished together,” Peck said. “I look forward to continuing to serve Sycamore as this is a great place to live and work.”
Peck deferred comment about Hall’s hire to Braser.
It’s unclear why Hall was fired from the job in Wisconsin.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported on July 21 that some village officials felt his termination was done without due process or full transparency.
Hall is still listed as the village manager on the Brown Deer website.
According to Village of Brown Deer records from the July 8 meeting, resident and former Village of Brown Deer trustee Gary Springman wrote an email which was read into the record questioning the possible decision to terminate Hall.
“In the 8+ years I served with Michael Hall I found him to be totally professional in all aspects of the performance of his duties,” Springman wrote. “Since I only left the village board on April 20, 2021, I can not conceive of any pattern of behavior of his part that would require a special village board to discuss his continued employment.”
Springman then wrote that he thought the action was due to some on the board letting personal agendas drive the decision.
Another Brown Deer resident, Courtney Wedward, who also said she was a former village board of trustee member, wrote an email criticizing Brown Deer Village President Wanda Montgomery’s actions before the July 8 meeting.
“The current village president has very little experience with how to run our village and is in no position to fire anyone whose job she does not comprehend,” Wedward wrote. “Additionally, Manager Hall is well educated and highly respected in the North Shore. Losing him would be a great detriment to Brown Deer.”
The phone number listed for Montgomery on the village’s website was no longer working. Montgomery and several other village trustees did not immediately respond to request for comment.
Terms of contract
The Sycamore city manager position hasn’t been full time since Brian Gregory left in Feb. 28 to take a job as DeKalb County Administrator following the retirement of former county administrator Gary Hanson.
Peck has been serving as Sycamore’s acting city manager since.
According to city documents, applicants for the role were processed and finalists were interviewed in mid-October.
Hall’s contract, if approved, would be effective starting Jan. 3 through Jan. 2, 2025, with a base salary of $130,000. Hall also would receive a monthly car allowance of $375 for the use of his personal vehicle on city business.
The position also receives health insurance coverage and other benefits offered to all city employees.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.