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Grundy County terminates HR director

Hoppe on job for just six months

Published: Monday, Sept. 16, 2013 4:18 p.m. CST • Updated: Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013 2:11 p.m. CST

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The Grundy County Human Resources Director of just six months, Dan Hoppe, was let go Friday.

The Grundy County Board's Personnel Committee, county officials confirmed Monday, met Thursday and took action to have Hoppe terminated on Friday.

"It was a good relationship, but it didn't prove to be good enough to work for both parties," said Vicki Geiger, personnel committee chairwoman, on Monday.

Geiger said there was not one particular incident that resulted in Hoppe's termination and reiterated that he just was "not a good fit" for the county overall. She said it was not an easy decision and that Hoppe had strong human resources qualities and did a lot for the county.

Grundy Board Chairman Ron Severson said the committee approved the termination on a 4-1 vote, with Geiger and Ken Iverson having to leave the meeting before the vote. He said the committee's vice chairman, John Almer, and members Chris Balkema, David Welter and Millie Dyer voted in favor of the action. Member Ann Gill voted against it.

"I am very disappointed in how things worked out," said Hoppe Monday. "I was not given the opportunity to defend myself with the Personnel Committee. This was a decision I am still trying to wrap my head around."

Hoppe added he was surprised by this action and thought he was a great fit for the county.

"At no time did anyone tell me I wasn't fitting in," he said.

Severson, who is not a voting member of the Personnel Committee, is very unhappy with the decision.

"I didn't know this was coming," he said.

"As far as I am concerned, Dan Hoppe was an excellent employee and an excellent person in the HR department," Severson continued. "He brought a lot of things up to date and I think the county really will miss him."

Hoppe joined the county with 16 years of human resources experience.

Former HR Director Denise Kasper quit her position in November. The county then hired Lindsay Ferguson, formerly of Morris Hospital, to a part-time position in February, but she quit after one week on the job. Hoppe was hired as her replacement, but on a full-time basis.

Gill, who was the lone vote against Hoppe's termination, said that, from her experience working with Hoppe, he was doing a good job. She said he was doing training with employees and bringing different proposals to the county, including a recent presentation on an employee assistance program that was not introduced as a benefit for county employees until Hoppe did so.

"If there were some performance issues, I felt he should have been afforded an opportunity to make changes," she said.

Geiger said the county will need some human resources help and the Personnel Committee will be weighing its options.

Almer, who ran the remaining portion of the committee meeting as vice chair after Geiger's departure, did not return a call by press time. Neither did County Administrator Chris Wittkamp.

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