Nicklas Proposes Major Administrative Layoffs For DeKalb

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Due to the City government’s operating expenses being “structurally out of balance” by $1.1 million, DeKalb City Manager, Bill Nicklas, is proposing what he calls “bold personnel changes” that will take effect on March 1, 2019, upon approval at the next City Council meeting.

According to Item 1 in the agenda for the January 28, 2019 City Council Meeting, the top management layoffs being proposed would include:

  • Tim Holdeman, Public Works Director
  • Jo Ellen Charlton, Community Development Director
  • Marc Thorson, Information Technology Director
  • Robert Miller, Assistant Finance Director

None of the laid off employees will be placed on leave or paid a severance.

In addition, the following vacancies will not be filled:

  • Economic Development Planner (Jason Michnick has resigned to pursue another
    position, effective February 1).
  • Finance Director (Molly Talkington has separated according to the agreement
    approved by the Council on January 14).
  • Deputy Fire Chief (Deputy Chief Jim Zarek has resigned, effective February 15).

Budget Impacts

According to Nicklas, the estimated total Budget savings achieved by the layoffs would $1,105,258 in annualized personnel costs moving forward. However, “previous city
administrations bailed out the General Fund from enterprise and other funds to hide General Fund imbalances,” so annualized General Fund savings will be closer to $892,332.

In addition, because of January and February personnel costs and unpaid leave balances, the recommended layoffs in the period March 1 through December 31, 2019 will only raise $583,650.

Nicklas noted, “The following management layoffs are not disciplinary separations but are purely based on budgetary concerns. Each manager is a dedicated employee and has shown the utmost professionalism through difficult discussions leading up to these

To scroll through entire agenda posted below, mouse over the document and then click on the arrows at the bottom.




  1. Theoretical problem … if you don’t refill the finance director, and you lay-off the assistant finance director … how can you ever be sure your finances are okay to begin with? Those jobs are not ones that can be done by accounting clerks or a staff accountant. And Nicklas should know that …

    • Mike, yes The public does want to change. Please archive my comment below as that endgame will happen. This is like a chess game, you have to think two steps ahead. If, indeed, these layoffs were to happen, then, I will be in total agreement with you.

      But as someone who has observed the council for years, this is a strategic tactic that will cause weaker members of the council Kate N and Bill Finnicune to object to. They will insist that these cuts not be made, and that taxes go up to pay for these positions.

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