Ex-Rantoul administrator threatens suit over compensation
RANTOUL — The village of Rantoul faces a possible lawsuit from its former village administrator over the nonpayment of accrued sick leave compensation.
Bruce Sandahl claims the village owes him an additional $40,375 from accrued sick leave days as part of his separation agreement from the village.
Mayor Chuck Smith and village trustees received a letter dated July 18 threatening a potential lawsuit if payment is not made.
Sandahl, through attorney Glenn Stanko, said the money is due for 542.48 hours ($74.38 an hour) of accrued sick leave.
Smith terminated Sandahl's contract effective Feb. 28. The agreement called for Sandahl to be retained by the village in a consulting capacity from March 1 to April 30.
In the letter, Stanko quotes Section 2 of the separation agreement and release that states Sandahl "shall receive his salary and other benefits received immediately prior to Feb. 28, 2014, (including, as applicable, family medical, dental and vision insurance coverage; life insurance; vacation, sick leave and personal leave accrual; and IMRF contributions), payable in accordance with the village's regular payroll practices, through and including the separation date."
The village's position has been that Sandahl is not due the money.
Comptroller Scot Brandon, who with Smith is serving as interim co-village administrator, said if a person leaves the village's employment, "you don't get paid for sick leave unless you qualify for retirement. Then you get a portion based on years of service."
Stanko said the separation agreement makes village policy moot.
Added Sandahl: "We are only asking for what was agreed to in the separation agreement. It's that simple. If the village was not going to pay for the accrued sick leave, it should not have signed the agreement."
The letter gives the village until Aug. 15 — three days after the board's August meeting — to make a decision before considering "any further action."
Smith and Village Attorney Ken Beth said they did not want to comment on the letter. Smith said the issue would be discussed at the board's Aug. 5 study session.
Under terms of Sandahl's separation agreement, he was paid $78,598 — half a year's pay. The village will also continue to pay his insurance for medical, dental and vision coverage through Oct. 31.
Dave Hinton is editor of the Rantoul Press, a News-Gazette community newspaper. For more, visit rantoulpress.com.