Town manager given OK to resign
Oak Creek — Oak Creek town officials Thursday evening ended more than a month of speculation about the future of the town’s most controversial employee.
The Oak Creek Town Board voted 6-1 to accept Town Manager Ray Leibensperger’s letter of resignation.
No one will replace Leibensperger as the town manager of Oak Creek.
Mayor Kathy “Cargo” Rodeman called a special meeting to deal with the pending resignation.
“I’m glad that it’s resolved,” she said.
Leibensperger submitted his letter of resignation March 12, but he said he would stay if the board did not choose to accept his resignation.
His decision to resign stemmed from his concerns that he would be an issue in the April 2 election, he said.
But every trustee from the old board, Leibensperger said, voiced their support for him and asked him to consider staying.
The Town Board’s deadline for accepting or rejecting his letter of resignation passed April 12, one day after the board tabled action on the resignation because of confusion over the legality of his departure.
A quorum of the board must vote to accept or reject the letter of resignation.
Rodeman met this week with the town’s attorney, Bob Weiss, to discuss all the legal implications of Leibensperger’s resignation.
Leibensperger requested last Tuesday the town pay him for his final days of work as well as earned vacation and sick days from his renewed contract.
The old Town Board approved the town manager’s new contract Feb. 28, and former mayor Deb VanGundy added her signature to the new contract last Tuesday.
The checks were signed last Thursday, but the town withheld payment on the checks until Rodeman could meet with Weiss.
Leibensperger said he didn’t ask for anything on his way out that wasn’t deserved.
He will leave with about $2,300 owed him for a few days of work, as well as accrued earnings from sick pay and vacation days.
Rodeman said she thought the amount was justly due.
“It’s fair both to him and to the town,” she said.
Leibensperger did not come to work after April 10.
Rodeman said she repeatedly tried to contact him by phone this week to discuss his status at Town Hall but was unsuccessful in reaching him. “He has not talked to me,” she said.
Leibensperger could not be reached for comment Thursday evening, but he said earlier in the afternoon he expected people would waste no time informing him of the board’s decision. “I’m sure I’ll hear about it,” he said.
Trustee Mike Kien suggested the board should have postponed its decision to terminate the town manager until its regularly scheduled meeting.
“It could have waited,” he said.
Trustee Clyde Moore cast the lone dissenting vote.
Prior to the special meeting, Moore said he thought the board planned to hold on to its town manager.
“I was a little concerned that we didn’t keep him,” he said.
Whether the board’s approval of Leibensperger’s letter of resignation means he will be Oak Creek’s first and only town manager remains to be seen, Moore said.
Time will tell, he said, if Leibensperger’s absence proves the worth of a town manager. “It’s going to be a factor,” he said.
Following their decision to accept the town manager’s resignation, the trustees addressed a letter from former assistant treasurer Jo Dee Stordal that listed the conditions of her reinstatement.
Stordal resigned in February because she said she could no longer work for Leibensperger.
Upon her resignation, she circulated a lengthy letter that explained why she thought Oak Creek did not need a town manager and included several references to instances she said confirmed Leibensperger’s incompetence and questionable behavior.
The Town Board voted to return Stordal to Town Hall under the new position of treasurer.
No other applicants would be as qualified for the job, trustees said.
Stordal proved invaluable during her time with the town and did Oak Creek residents a service by exposing irregularities at Town Hall, Rodeman said.
“She is an asset in every way, shape and form,” she said.
With Leibensperger’s resignation and Stordal’s reinstatement now behind them, Rodeman and the Town Board will waste no time getting down to new business.
“Let’s move on,” Rodeman said.
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