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Breaking: DeKalb city attorney takes administrator job in Pingree Grove

February 25, 2019 GMT

DeKALB – While the city of DeKalb looks for the most effective legal counsel at the right price, one thing’s clear: It won’t be provided by Dean Frieders after May 31.

City Manager Bill Nicklas confirmed Monday morning that Frieders has been appointed administrator of the Village of Pingree Grove, and that he’s given Mayor Jerry Smith and the city council his resignation letter, effective May 31.

“Obviously, they’ll be accepting it, but it could be earlier,” Nicklas said.

In a phone interview Monday morning, Mayor Smith said Nicklas could make an announcement at tonight’s city council meeting, since it’s “not a big secret.”

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“We were made aware o the possibility of [Frieders] obviously finding appointment elsewhere after he had indicated to us that he was not going to submit a proposal at we go through the Request for Proposal for legal services,” Smith said. “I’m so excited at this opportunity for him, but really pleased that he gave us adequate notice and is going to be able to work with us through the end of May.”

On Feb. 11, the City Council gave Nicklas the green light to go out for bids for legal services in order to make sure the city was getting the most bang for its buck. The approval of the request for proposal came on the heels of Nicklas laying off four city department heads, effective Friday, part of a mission to tighten the city’s fiscal year 2020 budget shortfall.

“After seven and a half years [in DeKalb], no matter who our attorney may have been, you’re not going to be able to please everybody,” Smith said. “And I think [Frieders], in many respects, had a lightening rod on his head. But what attorney doesn’t?”

According to the agenda for the Feb. 19 Pingree Grove Village Board meeting, his first day as village manager/attorney is expected to be June 1, and he’ll make a base salary of $182,000.

DeKalb was set to pay Frieders’ St. Charles-based law firm, Frieders Law LLC, $228,000 this year. He has already been providing legal counsel for the village while working for DeKalb, but as a contractor for both municipalities, he wasn’t provided benefits.

St. Charles-based Frieders Law LLC began contracting with the city in May 2012 at $17,000 a month, according to city documents.

Smith sang Frieders’ praises in light of the transition.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever worked with anybody who has been more professional, more courteous, more responsive to not only me individually, but to the City of DeKalb,” Smith said. “I wish him well in this new endeavor.”

The council will meet at 6 tonight at the DeKalb Municipal Building, 400 S. Fourth St.

A voice mail left this morning for Frieders has not yet been returned. This story will be updated.

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