Education | Northwest Herald

Hebron trustees keep department heads in hiring process

Add board and president to personnel decisions, table vote on police Lt. slot

The Hebron village board met Monday, June 27, 2022, to discuss changes in how village employees are chosen, hired or fired.

Village of Hebron department heads will retain the power to hire and fire village employees following what critics said was an attempt to put that power solely in the hands of the village president.

No one mentioned the June 20 arrest of Village President Robert Shelton following a traffic stop. He was charged with driving under the influence, reckless driving, and running stop signs.

The Village Board voted 6-2 Monday evening on language updating a section of the village ordinance relating to how employees are brought on or dismissed. The original ordinance, passed in 2021 under former Village President Kimberly Martinez, gave department heads the responsibility to hire or terminate employees with the approval of the village president.

In the original draft ordinance, that power appeared to be taken away from department heads, with the village president and board approving any new hires or terminations.

Trustee Patricia Peterson objected to the language removing department heads from the personnel equation.

“The motion on the floor as it stands would eliminate the position of the department head and allow all to be hired by the village present. It negates the authority of the department heads,” Peterson said.

“Do any of us know the exact needs of any … department heads?” she asked.

Shelton said his reading of the original ordinance meant a department head could hire without the board approving a candidate.

The final version approved Monday continues to allow department heads to hire and fire, but with final approval of both the village president and the trustees.

It also allows the village president to chose all official appointed positions with the advice and consent of trustees. Those include village attorney, chief of police, treasurer and clerk, village attorney Michael Smoron said.

While Peterson voted in favor of the final language once the department heads were returned to the hiring and firing process, trustees Sandy Drevalas and Jim Lange voted against the ordinance, saying they wanted to see a “clean” and finalized version of the changes before approving it.

Asked to follow up on his reasoning behind the request for a change in how Hebron handles employment for the village, Shelton referred to his attorney.

The Village Board also tabled a discussion to eliminate a lieutenant position, which is currently unfilled, to a later agenda.

The village’s agreement with the police union includes a lieutenant slot, said Officer Christopher Robert, the officer who arrested Shelton and who is also a union representative for the department.

A request to forego the position was submitted to the Fraternal Order of Police months ago and denied, Robert said.