Northfield, News

Former Wilmette village manager picked to lead Northfield on interim basis

A longtime Wilmette official is returning to municipal government in a neighboring town.

The Northfield Board of Trustees unanimously approved the hiring of Tim Frenzer as interim village manager at the conclusion of a special meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 22.

Frenzer, who served as Wilmette’s village manager from October 2008 until his retirement in February 2020, was selected after a three-hour closed session where trustees interviewed finalists for the position.

Village President Greg Lungmus said prior to the board’s vote that Frenzer will be paid $105 per hour, which equates to a full-time annual salary of $217,000.

Lungmus and Village Attorney Buzz Hill said Frenzer will be paid as an employee of GovHR USA. According to its website, GovHR, which technically employs Frenzer, provides “Recruitment, consulting and interim staffing services for the public and non-profit sectors.”

Prior to serving as Wilmette’s village manager, Frenzer was also that community’s corporation counsel from 1993 until 2008, according to documents obtained by The Record.

His contract, and other details of his interim appointment, were not available by press time. According to previous Record reporting, officials hope Frenzer will hold the position for six to nine months until a permanent village manager is selected.

Frenzer’s hiring will make him the third person to hold the title of Northfield village manager since July, in an ongoing saga involving the town’s leadership that resulted in longtime Village Manager Stacy Sigman departing her position.

At a meeting held on June 26, Northfield trustees discussed Sigman’s allegations that the Village Board had constructively discharged her — an industry term meaning the board had interfered with her responsibilities to the point of making them impossible to accomplish.

Sigman, in conjunction with Lungmus, also sent cease-and-desist letters, which threatened litigation, to Trustees Barnaby Dinges, Charles Orth and Tom Whittaker accusing them of spreading and enabling false information about the two officials.

In the wake of the meeting, on June 30, Sigman sent an internal email to staff where she announced her pending retirement effective July 14. That announcement led the Village Board to call a special meeting on July 10. During a four-hour closed session, the Village and Sigman came to an agreement where she would step down as village manager and, for the remainder of her contract (May 2025) she would hold the newly created position of executive director of special projects.

According to the terms of the agreement, which the trustees unanimously approved on July 17, Sigman’s position is part time and fully remote (Sigman told The Record she resides in Colorado) at her previously contracted salary of $267,000 and benefits package. The deal also includes a cash payment of $85,000 to Sigman. In exchange, Sigman will drop any pending and future claims against the Village of Northfield.

Steve Noble, Northfield’s former finance director, has served as interim village manager since July 19. His agreement with the Village was to serve for three months and ends on Sept. 19.

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Peter Kaspari

Peter Kaspari is a blogger and a freelance reporter. A 10-year veteran of journalism, he has written for newspapers in both Iowa and Illinois, including spending multiple years covering crime and courts. Most recently, he served as the editor for The Lake Forest Leader. Peter is also a longtime resident of Wilmette and New Trier High School alumnus.

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