City Manager Dave Limardi Resigns

Highland Park's longest serving city manager will step down Jan. 1, 2012.

Longtime Highland Park City Manager , 58, announced his resignation Monday effective January 1 in a letter to and the City Council. 

Limardi, who has held his position for more than 18 years, is the longest serving city manager in the Highland Park’s history. Though he had no comment at Monday’s regularly scheduled Council meeting, he has scheduled a news conference at 9 a.m. Tuesday at City Hall. 

“Dave Limardi has served our city very well during his 18 years on the job,” Rotering said Monday. “His professionalism and thoroughness as well as his creativity have given us a tremendous foundation and continuity.” 

Three-term City Councilman has worked closely with Limardi for more than 10 years. Kirsch praised Limardi's character, professionalism and the recognition he received from his peers across the nation. 

“It’s a tremendous loss to the community, a devastating loss,” Kirsch said. “To me, Dave Limardi was honest and transparent. You never had a doubt in your mind he was a true professional with the highest integrity."

Limardi was elected president of the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) in 2008 and 2009, a professional organization of nearly 9,000 municipal professionals. 

Lake Forest City Manager Bob Kiely has known Limardi for many years through the ICMA and the Northwest Municipal Conference. Kiely also considers Limardi one of the top municipal managers around.

"Dave (Limardi) has not only been a masterful city manager in Illinois and the country, he has provided a lot of leadership for the city of Highland Park," Kiely said. "Highland Park has been better off for his 18 years of service."

During Limardi’s tenure, the former Ft. Sheridan was redeveloped, Renaissance Place was built and Taste of Highland Park became an annual event, attracting thousand to the city in conjunction with the Port Clinton Art Fair. New fire and police stations were built. 

In his letter, Limardi credited these accomplishments to his staff. 

“The Highland Park city government is fortunate to have an elite senior management team,” Limardi wrote. “I remain in awe of their accomplishments on a daily basis in a challenging environment.” 

Former is quick to give Limardi credit for a great deal of the city’s success during Belsky’s tenure in city government. Belsky served as a Council member for eight years and mayor for another eight while Limardi was city manager. 

“David (Limardi) is an intelligent, unflappable, honest, creative and capable administrator,” Belsky said. “Highland Park has evolved into a great city over the past couple of decades. Much of this can be attributed to Dave Limardi's leadership and the professionalism of the staff he attracted to work on behalf of Highland Park.” 

Highland Park Corporation Counsel Steve Elrod, who has served 10 years, has worked with numerous municipalities in his legal career. He places Limardi among the best. 

“I’m happy for him and sad for us. He is a tremendous asset to the City of Highland Park,” Elrod said. “In my career I have seen and worked with dozens of city and village managers throughout Illinois and Dave Limardi is one of the finest."

Check back later for updates to this story.

Larry Jones August 09, 2011 at 12:08 PM
A major loss for Highland Park. I did not agree always with Dave but without a doubt he was the best ever. Steve Mandel must be dancing in the streets with joy as he has wanted this for years to happen. Now he will think he can run the city but I hope Nancy and the new council has other ideas
Debra Rade August 09, 2011 at 01:02 PM
Best news of the day! This is a tremendous opportunity for our City and the residents who have suffered from Mr. Limardi's disregard to their significant and valid complaints for more than a decade. It will also provide better opportunities for many of HP's finest staff to rise, and to attract new talent. Let's hope the next city manager focuses on being responsive to residents and doesn't foist the economic burden of City infrastructure problems onto individual residents, as Mr. Limardi chose to do with regard nearly 50 residents who have shouldered at least $250,000 (in the aggregate) to pay for unnecessary "repairs" to their lateral sewer lines, and you're likely next if you have ever had your sewers cleaned or rodded because of tree roots. Of all other cities in Northern Illinois, only HP, based on Mr. Limardi's proposal and refusal to hear to the outcry, decided to force residents to pay between $4000-$20,000+ each. Learn more: http://bit.ly/ReimburseResidents
Susan Kozloff August 09, 2011 at 01:23 PM
Yah Dave....write me a $5800 rebate check for the possibly illegal forceful lining of my sewer before you leave...funny how you stopped the program when the multi-million dollars home owners balked!!
Walter (Tripp) Hainsfurther August 09, 2011 at 01:44 PM
Whil I do not always agree ith Dave, having woked with a number of administrators in the Chicago area, Dave is arguably the best. The City has run effectively during his term. Even in times of poor economic climate, services to the residents have continued at a high level. Thanks, Dave. With regards to the sewers, I would remind opponents of this fact. When you build a building, you, the owner, are responsible for installing the lateral that connects the building to the sewer main. At no time do you transfer control of that to the municipality. Therefore, it is, and remains, your responsibility to maintain it. Did I like having to pay to line my sewer? No. Did I challenge the City to tell me exactly what they wanted done so I could get competitive bids? Yes. Would I like a refund? If everyone else gets them, sure. Should the City continue the policy? I believe that is only fair.
Susan Kozloff August 09, 2011 at 01:57 PM
True, Tripp...however the gentleman who scoped our sewer while we watched stated that we had minimal leakage which was consistent with almost every sewer he had ever scoped in any municipality. In the 29 years I had lived at this address prior, I had never had a root issue and not ONCE had to have roots removed from my line. How could it be that a friend who lives on Summit needs her sytem rodded twice a year, needs to purchase "special" toilet paper which won't adhere to the roots in her sewer ger a pssing grade????
Walter (Tripp) Hainsfurther August 09, 2011 at 02:10 PM
Susan: I'm not a civil engineer. However, I know that every sewer lateral was televised before notices were sent out and the City made those CD's available to homeowners. The leakage issue was to try and stop infiltration that caused backups and basement flooding. In our case, it wasn't roots but cracked sewer pipe. As to the neighboring sewers, I suppose it would be based on what material they were constructed out of that would determine what kind of maintenance they require. My point is that I don't have a problem with rules, as long as I understand them and they are consistantly enforced.
Susan Kozloff August 09, 2011 at 02:21 PM
Agreed...but it will never happen. We are the sacrificial schmuks. And, yes, we did recieve a copy of the cd, went to public works so that they could TRY to identify water infiltration as it was not easily discerned.....they really didnt see much! We had neither roots nor cracked pipe. 6 of us on Hill were grouped around a city T sewer and were all suspect. Friends sewerline? Same as ours....they could not believe they passed and continue to have problems to this day.
Walter (Tripp) Hainsfurther August 09, 2011 at 03:02 PM
Susan: I can't comment on the neighbor's issues, but let me say this is not a Dave Limardi issue, but a policy issue, which is set by the Council. The Council took the position on the advice of the professionals it relies on, that the lateral sewer lines, which you agree are the responsibility of the property owner, should be repaired. Changing managers will not change the policy. And changing to a weak manager/strong mayor system as advocated by one of the Council members is not the right way to go either.
Debra Rade August 09, 2011 at 03:04 PM
The Down the Drain in HP blog answers all these questions. Naperville & Downers Grove, addressing similar flooding issues, politely asked for permission to work on private property and they paid for the "repairs." Compare this with HP -- it sends you a letter saying "pay up now or we'll place a lien on your property, and BTW, indemnify the City for the work done on your property." The sanitary laterals work as intended, some cracking is normal. Tree roots (mostly from City parkways) will invade anything, including the new lining the City requires. The City can then go back to you and make you pay all over again. The flooding issues could also be repaired by fixing & expanding storm sewers but that is costly to the City. So, based on the recommendation of this Mr. Limardi, the former City Council placed a financial responsibility, large enough to have caused home foreclosures and people to sell their homes, on residents. There were other reasonable alternatives -including placing an extra $10 on your tax bill to have the laterals lined. But that would have required the City Manager to care about the residents. This would have effectively resulted in the same number of homes the City budgeted for per year -- about 50. Wouldn't you prefer to pay $10 per year to ensure that neither your neighbors nor you are forced into paying $20,000 for something that does not improve the value of our property? To learn more from a different blog entry: http://bit.ly/HPmakeUpay
Evelyn Levin August 09, 2011 at 03:12 PM
We wish Dave the best and he was a great asset to Highland Park and will be greatly missed. Evelyn
Debra Rade August 09, 2011 at 03:19 PM
It appears the program was put on "hiatus" primarily because there was an election coming up in 2009 and there were hundreds of residents from the Ravinia Neighborhood Association showing up for meetings to complain, including now Mayor Nancy Rotering. That's a lot of votes and, indeed, it cost one of the best incumbents reelection. Former Mayor Belsky said it was on hiatus because of the economy, but you know, Susan, the economy was awful when you and the others paid. The hiatus was a political decision. BTW, the targeted neighborhoods were Sunset Park, the Highlands, Sherwood Forest, and Ravinia. Indeed, that left out a lot of very affluent neighborhoods. http://bit.ly/ReimburseResidents
Debra Rade August 09, 2011 at 03:38 PM
To the contrary, this IS a Dave Limardi issue. It's time to recognize that any city council, HP included, relies very heavily on the city manager. Being a councilman is not a full time job, and they appropriately look to the city manager to give them proposals. Mr. Limardi has been very unresponsive and disrespectful to residents for a long time. He is the one who didn't care about the financial impact on the residents, and he is the one who made the proposal. He is also the one who received numerous complaints from residents and who let their significant complaints fall on deaf ears. There are other many other instances of him neglecting and rejecting complaints from residents. Yes, the former City Council accepted his proposals and also ignored residents complaints. Based, primarily on Mr. Limardi's information, and yes, they should have been more challenging, and they should have studied up more on the issues. However, unless we're planning to make the mayoral job full time (and this is not suggested), we need a strong city manager, a great business person for these challenging times. This time, let's get someone who cares about the residents and can admit when she or he has made a mistake. City Councilmen need to ask the right and challenging questions, they need to respond to residents -- and they need to reimburse the residents who paid for a poorly designed and inequitable program to address City infrastructure problems.
Redhead August 09, 2011 at 04:03 PM
So many Lincolnshire residents were elated when Limardi was hired by Highland Park. I have every confidence that our new mayor and council will hire a worthy replacement. It's a new day in Highland Park - many positive changes are being seen already!
Larry Jones August 09, 2011 at 05:08 PM
You are really kidding when you say that HP needs a strong City Manager. They will never find a stronger manager than Dave and you are delusional if you think otherwise. The day Nancy was elected that was the end for Dave as Steve Mandel wanted him out so that he could run the city and that has now happened. I hope Nancy, who I was not in favor with, is a strong enough Mayor to put Mandel in his place and keep him there and I think she definetly is that strong
Susan Kozloff August 09, 2011 at 05:15 PM
Larry Jones August 09, 2011 at 05:58 PM
You said in one of you replys that City Councilman is not a full time job. Please explain then, how councilman Mandel supports himself as he has been un employed for years. If you look at his website under occupation it show City Councilman. Please explain
Stuart Senescu August 09, 2011 at 06:36 PM
Is it true that Dave wanted to nickname HP "The Gelato Capital of Lake County?"
Susan Kozloff August 09, 2011 at 06:38 PM
Trust fund?
Larry Jones August 09, 2011 at 06:44 PM
Trust fund, please give me a break. He's an un employed electrician if i remember!!!!
Frank Williams August 10, 2011 at 01:38 AM
Seriously LEE, do your homework Highland Park City Council members according to 2010 data make $9,500 A YEAR and the Mayor makes $13,500. Read the article written by Paul Frank (Sept 27, 2010). I highly doubt that Mandel supports himself only off of his city council salary. If your so interested, why don't you call Mandel and ask him where he gets his money. I'm tired of reading comments from people who have no idea what they are talking about!!
Larry Jones August 10, 2011 at 02:02 AM
Check it out yourself Frank, Mandel is a unemployed electrician and his only job is the Council. If you don't believe than you ask him what he does for a living
Larry Jones August 10, 2011 at 02:54 AM
Really dumb comparison as both are married.
Bitter Jester Creative, inc. August 18, 2011 at 04:38 AM
Lee, if Councilman Mandel lists "City Councilman" as his occupation and if he is getting paid to do the job, then he not unemployed. Perhaps you are confused as to what it means to be "unemployed." Also, being a City Councilperson is *not* a full-time job. If a councilman chooses to spend their full time *on* the job, however, I don't see why that is something to chastise. Personally, I wish all our City officials treated their positions as full-time jobs (and many of them do).


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