ELBURN – The village has reached a settlement deal with former Police Chief James Linane, effectively ending a lawsuit Linane brought against the village over unpaid severance.
For months, attorneys for Linane and the village have argued in court over whether the village skipped out on what Linane believed to have been a contractual obligation to pay him $147,000 in severance and other unpaid compensation after he was replaced as chief in 2009.
But Glenn Gaffney, a lawyer representing Linane, said Linane and the village have reached a settlement deal in principle. He said the agreement has not been finalized, so he would not discuss the terms in detail.
But Gaffney said the deal will stipulate, among other items, that Linane was entitled to “severance pay and other benefits.”
With a deal in place, both sides have agreed to dismiss the case, Gaffney said.
Kane County Judge James Murphy dismissed Linane’s suit Sept. 19 without prejudice, meaning court action in the case could be resumed later if desired. However, Murphy’s ruling stated if no further action is brought in the case within 30 days of his ruling, he would consider the dismissal to be final.
Bob Britz, a lawyer who represents the village, said he could not comment on the case “just yet.” He referred questions to Itasca-based lawyer Chuck Hervas, who argued the case on behalf of the village in court.
Hervas directed questions to Elburn Village Hall.
Elburn Village President Dave Anderson confirmed a final deal was close, but said no settlement agreement had been submitted to the Elburn Village Board for approval.
The case stems from Anderson’s decision, shortly after he first was elected village president in 2009, to not reappoint Linane as police chief in Elburn. Linane had served as police chief from 2001 to 2009.
In the suit, Linane said Anderson requested a letter of resignation from him. When Linane declined the request, Linane said Anderson terminated his employment.
Linane acknowledged Anderson and the Village Board had the power to end his employment as police chief. But he said the village violated the terms of his employment agreement and of Illinois employment law by withholding severance pay to which Linane said he was entitled.
The village, however, argued Linane’s contract was valid only during Willey’s term in office that expired in 2005. After that, the village said Linane was employed at will – meaning he was entitled to nothing, serving only at the pleasure of whoever was village president.
The two sides had argued the matter in court since early 2011.
Gaffney said the settlement was the result of “multiple conferences” involving both sides brought together by Judge Murphy in recent weeks.
In addition to the award of severance compensation, Gaffney said the agreement will include provisions that effectively will “deem” Linane to have been retired as of July 2009.
Linane was recently named interim police chief in the village of Sleepy Hollow in northern Kane County.