DeGrave Resignation - Nothing to see here. Move along, please

Former WFB Village Manager Pat DeGrave
Former WFB Village Manager Pat DeGrave

The remaining local news source for WFB (Journal/Sentinal's WhitefishBayNOW) has done some additional reporting on Village Manager Patrick DeGrave's recent resignation.


Despite the concerns expressed in the comments section by some, the documentation the reporter was able to obtain suggests that he was forced to resign, without cause - which means there was nothing in the areas of inappropriate behavior or job performance and no specific incident tied to his forced resignation.  

It would have been a cleaner, less expensive separation had it been "with cause".   Generally separations of the nature of this one (those without cause) tend to involve personality clashes and/or situations where it is felt that a satisfactory working relationship going forward would be difficult, if not impossible, to maintain.

Considering the timing of the resignation (immediately preceding an election), a clear cut separation with cause would seem to have been preferable to a non-specific one of this nature.  Which might explain the reluctance on the part of the Village Board and others to comment at all on the issue.  It might also explain the delay in releasing documentation related to his resignation until after 4/1 election.

It appears that Mr. DeGrave remains employed by Concordia College in an adjunct faculty position - as he was during his time as Village Manager.  There is nothing at this point in time indicating he has secured another position in government.

Update 4-6-14:  Based on some additional information I was able to obtain, it appears that the severance compensation package attached to the resignation agreement goes above and beyond that specified in his original employment agreement for a case involving "termination without cause".  This 2011 document calls for a lump sum payment equivalent to 6 months salary.   The resignation agreement, as signed by Mr. DeGrave and Ms. Siegel, includes TWO lump sum payments, each equaling 6 months salary.

If, as some have surmised, Mr. DeGrave engaged in some sort of malfeasance or misconduct during his tenure, there would be no reason for the Village to have compensated him at all (as his employment agreement specifically states that termination with cause would not include a compensation package), much less go beyond the terms spelled out in the original employment agreement.

So from a compensation standpoint, the terms of separation seem to work out in Mr. DeGrave's favor.  About the only conclusion that can be drawn is that the Village anticipated that Mr. DeGrave would likely challenge his forced resignation and, in order to prevent that from happening, offered him an additional incentive in exchange for an agreement not to do so.

Update 4-11-14:  The dead tree version of NOW which included the above linked story hit porches yesterday.   There are hopes that this might bring increased pressure upon TPTB to release additional information.  

The pessimist in me feels that there's no real incentive for those in charge to do anything other than continue to ride it out until it becomes a mostly forgotten issue.   I don't really think the key characters involved give a darn about public opinion regarding DeGrave's forced resignation, beyond what effect it might have had on the recent election - which was negligible at best.  I'd imagine as far as they're concerned, beyond finding a new full-time manager, the issue has been resolved and it's time to move on.

In truth, what's still in play at this point are those portions of the compensation package agreed to in return for his resignation which have yet to be tendered.  I don't know how one goes about challenging that part of the resignation agreement, but that needs to be the current focus.   We need to address that while we still can.
Hydra April 25, 2014 at 09:07 AM
Pappy thank you for the update. Keep digging.
Bob McBride April 26, 2014 at 07:20 AM
Yes, I should have said it as well, Pappy. Thanks for bringing this information forward.
Pappy April 27, 2014 at 12:20 PM
The person in question was moved from the Eng Dept to DPW. But both Depts occupy same offices on Fairmount. A position was created that did not existed before and what I heard is that he failed miserably. The last straw is some inappropriate conduct and legal manuvers on both sides are in progress. I would write the name and conduct on this site but dont want to chance any kinda liability with lawyers having their noses in the trough. I have a few stories written down for when the legal fog clears and some of them if true make this guy look like he was totally in over his head.
Bob McBride April 27, 2014 at 12:30 PM
Thanks for sharing that Pappy. I can appreciate your concern regarding naming names and such. Would appreciate anything you feel you can let us know about when the air clears a bit, as you mentioned.
Hydra April 27, 2014 at 06:35 PM
Thanks pappy you input has been very valuable. I also wouldn't want you to risk any personal liability. It is sad that we have to dig so hard to find out what is going on with OUR employees though. I wonder if the election had gone differently would we know what really happened? I doubt it but it is something to ponder.


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