Former police chief sues village

By on December 24, 2010

by Keith Beebe
ELBURN—The former police chief of Elburn has filed a lawsuit against the village.

James Linane, who was Elburn’s police chief from May 2001 to July 2009, filed a lawsuit on Dec. 3 alleging that the village of Elburn owes him $147,665.48 in accrued unpaid severance, holiday, personal day and sick pay, as well as compensation time.

Linane was one of four Elburn department heads asked by Dave Anderson to resign after Anderson was elected village president in April 2009. Anderson said at the time that he would interview all four with the possibility of re-hiring them. According to the lawsuit, Linane declined to resign and was terminated without cause on or about July 29, 2009.

Linane’s hiring agreement with the village, which he entered into on or about May 7, 2001, specified that Linane’s position as chief of police was subject to termination with or without cause, but such an event would necessitate a reasonable severance package consistent with village policy.

The lawsuit states that the village policy was to pay one month of severance for each year of service, which would result in a severance payout of $62,369.40 to Linane. Accrued unpaid holidays, personal days, sick pay and compensation time account for the remaining $85,296.68 of the sought amount.

“As a result of my not being reappointed, a number of compensation issues were not resolved consistent with the personnel manual, nor with my employment agreement which now necessitates legal action through the courts,” Linane said in a prepared statement. “I gave total effort to the village of Elburn during those eight years and held up my part of the conditions of my employment agreement, as well as to the village of Elburn personnel manual. The village of Elburn has not.”
Dave Anderson declined to comment.

About Keith Beebe

Keith Beebe is the Editor of the Elburn Herald. You can reach him at info@elburnherald.com or (630) 365-6446 x105.

10 Comments

  1. elburn skeptic

    December 24, 2010 at 9:05 AM

    Retire at 50 with a Million dollar pension, then take a do nothing job with Elburn . Tell me again why we need 22 cops in this town ( with a 7% pay raise retroactive to Jan. 1 ). The cops are going to bankrupt this village.

  2. Elburnite

    December 25, 2010 at 12:47 PM

    We never had unbalanced budget issues while Linane was the chief. Linane was brought in with many years of experience and could have worked anywhere else with much higher pay, but decided to better use that experience in bringing a small village up to a higher standard with much less pay. I would say based on this and his lawsuit that he is in no manner asking for anything more than what is owed to him. I see a huge error in judgement on Anderson’s part in asking these department heads to resign without knowing and understanding the full fiscal impact it will have on this town. Unfortunately this town is in a budget crisis right now, but of course this may be directly due to Anderson getting rid of anyone who knows how to budget. Instead of people blaming the former chief for what he’s owed, we should be looking at the incompetant mayor who has initially led us to this situation. And wow skeptic… you really think pensions are worth a million these days?? Especially one from Elburn?? And I’m sure if you worked for the village and had a binding contract stating they owe you money if forced from your position, you would not just walk away for the sake of Elburn and it’s poor budget. I didn’t see anything about punitive damages in Linane’s lawsuit.. just what’s OWED to him.
    If the village goes bankrupt, it will be no fault of Linane’s.

  3. elburn skeptic

    December 26, 2010 at 8:49 AM

    Come on DAVE , are you serious ? $85,296 in sick time and holidays ? Since when do salaried employees recieve compensatory time for doing their job ? Only in ELBURN ! If he had a contract stating a specific amount of severance then I agree with you. That is money owed . If that is in the employee handbook then all employees are entitled to it. The girl they fired in May should be getting severance pay.
    If you care to do a little research, cops and fireman routinly recieve $1,000,000 pentions in Illinois based on average life expectency. It’s a state wide scam. The biggest earners take 2 and even 2.5 million dollar pensions. Talk to a cop ( like I did ) they’ll tell you. Elburn is being taken to the cleaners AGAIN. It will take years to undo the web of deceit and mismanagement that took place from 2000 to 2010. Maybe we can blame George Bush too!

  4. outdoor1

    December 27, 2010 at 10:39 AM

    Hey Elburn Skeptic: I work for the Illinois State Police and I am wondering where you get your numbers from. Please provide details. Anyway, an Illinois State police officer gets a multiplier retirement pension of 2.5% X the amount of years of service while Illinois State police code employees get 1.67% X the amount of years of service. So, 2.5 X 20 years service would amount to a pension benefit of %50,000/ year. No, we are not millionaires like you stated. Police Officers generally don’t live as long as other professions either. I know of a few who have passed only a year or two into retirement. If you want such a nice benefit like we have then become a trooper and stop complaining. We work hard for our paychecks and respect and honor what we do. By the way, this is all public record that can be requested from the State of Illinois comptrollers office. Also, I fully support Elburn’s police force. They do a great service of keeping my community safe. Thanks to all of you!!

  5. hardwork129

    December 27, 2010 at 7:32 PM

    I agree totally with Elburnite! Chief Linane was accepted and appointed to the position of Chief of Police to assist the Village of Elburn in raising up the standards of the community at a much lower payscale than he could have been afforded elsewhere. An employment contract was agreed upon and entered into between Linane and Elburn, and I never heard of any employment concerns of Chief Linane prior until Anderson took office. In fact, everyone thought he was doing a fabulous job! From what I observed, Linane worked tirelessly for the Village Administration and the community, then Anderson gets voted in as Mayor and asks for the resignation of these 4 department heads without reason? What’s the matter…didn’t they agree with Anderson’s future agenda?! This smells of dirty politics and unfair treatment. Were other Elburn employees rewarded with what was due per their contracts? What has been the norm?

    If Linane and the Village entered into a contract for severance benefits in the event of termination, I’m confident the Village attorney has no choice to advise the Village of Elburn to honor what Linane is due. It doesn’t sound like he is looking for punative damages — only what is due and fair. This is pathetic and another item to be remembered come the next election.

  6. elburn skeptic

    December 27, 2010 at 8:03 PM

    Hey Outdoor1 , not trying to pick a fight but $50,000yr for 20 years is a MILLION dollar pension. According to the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago the average cop 50 years old w/20 years will have a $1.3 Million pension. They also state that of the $160 Billion debt that Illinois owes, $130 Billion of that is public sector pension debt. I’m not picking on cops and fireman, Taxpayers United of Illinois has a list of the biggest pensions in Kane Co. starting with former Dist. 300 Supt. Norman Wetzel at $212,651 / yr x 20 years = 4.24 Million . Sorry you had to make it personal, after 16 years in IMRF my current estimate is $1,700 per month x 20 years = $408,000, but I wasn’t complaining. By the way, how did I do, plowing your street at 7:00 am on Christmas morning ?

  7. Elburnite

    December 27, 2010 at 11:23 PM

    I’m confused as to the direction of this discussion. The issue at hand regarding Linane really has nothing to do with pensions, but a binding contract reflecting money owed to him as well as time worked that he should be paid. Skeptic… Bitterness toward pensions should be directed elsewhere. The comment regarding “a girl” being fired in May is also irrelavant since she was FIRED and Linane was requested to resign. I’m sure she also did not have a contract as Linane did. Dave Anderson even commented on Linane doing his job well and it was nothing personal other than “phylisophical differences”. The term “fired” has never been used or documented regarding Linane.

    Anyway, these officers that receive pensions at retirement have been putting in close to 10% of their pay for decades into the pension fund. The pension fund is managed just as a 401k would be managed… invested in the market. The pension is the result of the amount of contribution by the officer as well as compounding interest. Additionally, IMO, the officers have a dangerous job and well deserve these pensions, as well as their families if God forbid something were to happen to them. I have complete respect for law enforcement making my streets safe, plowed or not.

  8. elburn skeptic

    December 28, 2010 at 6:03 PM

    I guess we won’t be able to resolve this without all the facts. Did he have a contract or was he an employee at large ? I’ve never heard of a hiring agreement. Elburnite, Paragraph 3 states ” TERMINATED on or about July 29, 2009 “. I concede, the “girl” did not have a contract but Paragraph 5 says “village policy” to pay severence, not his contract, which is it? I concede again, the Village of Elburn pays salaried department heads to sit in board meetings (compensatory time), even though the Fair Labor Standards Act specifically exempts them from compensation. ONLY in ELBURN. Cha-Ching. The personal attacks on Dave Anderson are very interesting, is the gravy train coming to an end ? I stand by my first comment, why do we need 22 cops in a village with no crime ?

  9. Elburnite

    December 28, 2010 at 8:20 PM

    Gee, maybe you should ask Dave Anderson why he would terminate Linane’s position knowing that a substantial severance would need to be paid. By the way, a hiring agreement that is documented would be considered a contract in the eyes of the law. If no severance was paid to someone such as this “girl” that was fired much against your dismay for some reason, again this would be a decision of Dave Anderson’s. Although I’m not sure where you get the payed board meeting information???, this would also be something decided upon by Dave Anderson. Is he running a gravy train, possibly. Regardless, again, Linane is asking for nothing more than what is consistent with his hiring agreement and backpay not paid. Is this a crime? Absolutely not! Anderson should face up to his poor decisions and pay Linane what the village owes.

    However…out of the 22 police officers hired by Elburn, I checked and half of them are temporary low paid officers with no benefits that are simply there to cover the bare minimum of 2 officers per shift. This wise decision actually provides proper coverage and keeps the cost down by using part timers. The FBI standard is 2 officers per 1000 population. Elburn is not far from this standard. And no crime in Elburn means that they’re actually doing their job. How aweful! If your house is being robbed on the North side of town and the only officer available is on the South side, guess what…
    You can make that gamble, but I certainly wouldn’t.

  10. outdoor1

    December 29, 2010 at 3:38 PM

    If you have or know a close member of your family that is a cop or firefighter you would know that a lot of what they do is not about the money. Also, a wife or family member who worries that one night you don’t come home is a feeling I wish on no one. There is a reason why emergency personnel get paid what they do. Take a look at the faces of the families that lost their loved ones with the Chicago Fire Department recently. No amount of money can repair that. I will not compare and contrast jobs because I think all are necessary to keep a village or society functional. However, if you ever knew that feeling these families have gone through and tried to endure you might begin to think otherwise. Elburn deserves all of its officers. They do a fantastic job and I appreciate their service. Lastly, if you don’t like the fact that there are so many cops in Elburn, and it’s going to bankrupt the village, then why don’t you move? You are free to do so you know… Money isn’t everything.

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