BY TOM KOCAL
LANARK — A press release received Monday, June 26 from Lanark Mayor Ken Viglietta, addressed the “Termination of Maintenance Manager Thomas Difazzio.”
“Former Maintenance Manager Thomas Difazzio was notified of the suspension of his employment by Mayor Viglietta on June 12, 2017,” the release said.
“Difazzio was advised the suspension was based on non-performance of duties and complaints about his demeanor when dealing with other maintenance employees and the public. Due to the reactions of Difazzio to the suspension, and the resulting inability of the Mayor to explain the Suspension process, a Lanark Police Officer who was serving as a witness to the suspension eventually had to intervene and direct Difazzio not to come back for the day.
“On Tuesday June 20th, 2017, the Lanark City Council entered an executive session for the stated purpose of “The appointment, employment, compensation, discipline, performance or dismissal of a city employee”. On their return to open session, the City Council terminated DiFazzio on a 5-1 vote.
“This action was taken as a result of information presented to the Council in executive session, and in accordance with the Illinois Open Meetings Act, no further information will be available to the public.”
As reported at RiverReader.org last week, after a 90-minute closed session that did not include Difazzio, Alderman Lance Leverton made the motion to “terminate Difazzio as city manager.” (One week later, Difazzio has still not not been notified as to the reason for his termination).
On a roll call vote, Alderman Jay VanMatre was the only dissenting vote.
Alderman Mark Macomber then made a motion to appoint Geoff Williams, a maintenance department employee, as acting supervisor.
Since Difazzio was the only city employee who was licensed as a water system operator, Jason DeMichele of Shannon, who is licensed in both water and water waste management, has overseen Lanark’s system since the June 12 suspension.
Citizens dismayed during public comments
Seven people spoke in favor of retaining Difazzio at the June 20 meeting, plus three letters of support were read.
Citizens’ main concern was the fact that the only information about the dismissal was received and reported on by Difazzio himself.
RiverReader has contacted Mayor Viglietta, all six aldermen, and Chief Magill for comments of the past week’s events, and will follow up with any details obtained after publication of this article.