July 14, 2024 Local Stories in and Around St. Joseph, Illinois

Administrator stops work for Arndt Municipal Support

Village Administrator Joseph Hackney is no longer doing work for Arndt Municipal Support.


In an email dated May 27, 2024 and sent to village attorney Marc Miller, Trustees Tammy Vallee, Art Raap, Max Painter, Angela Page, Terri Cummings, Matt Wolfersberger and Mayor Tami Fruhling-Voges, Hackney said “Upon further consideration, I wanted to communicate to you that I will not be providing future services to Macomb as outlined in the email below, nor will I be doing recruitments/consulting with Arndt Municipal Support.”


The email goes on to state, “ I want to reiterate that I have not made a penny from Arndt Municipal Support-ever. I am perfectly willing to show my tax returns and bank records as you would like to be able to demonstrate this. Just let me know.”


The email concludes by stating, “I do have an interest in providing consulting services to municipalities at some point in my life, and I will let you know if or when I decide to do this in the future and in what capacity.”


Vallée responded to Hackney saying, “Joe I am so sorry you felt the need to respond to this. None of it is warranted a response in my opinion. I have no questions about you at all. Hoping this all goes away soon.”

Painter responded, “I for one gave this no time. I started reading it and soon found out that it was garbage as soon as I saw the email it came from. I sent them a message back condemning them for not signing their name. This person also stated they were given the information and just doing their civic duty. I want you to know I’m a big fan of Joe so I didn’t give this any merit and no explanation was necessary.”

The email to the village board was in response to an anonymous email that the village and the St. Joseph Record received stating that Hackney was a team member of Arndt Municipal Support and asking why Hackney was employed by a business the Village of St. Joseph had hired.

The St. Joseph Record filed a Freedom of Information Act Request for all documents pertaining to the contracts the village had with Arndt Municipal Support and any electronic communication Hackney had with village officials regarding his employment with the company. The village provided the email dated May 27, 2024 as well as the contracts in response to the FOIA request.

Contracts with Arndt Municipal Support
Arndt Municipal Support is a public-sector management consulting firm that specializes in meeting the needs of local government. It is owned and operated by Jim Arndt.

St. Joseph had entered into a contract with Arndt Municipal Support for a Village Board Executive Training Workshop in November 2021.

The workshop was a three-hour session that provided “role clarity and defined expectations.”  It included a pre-session survey on roles and expectations with session participants, team building, role clarification, identifying expectations, identifying pathways for success, and defining roles and responsibilities.  The cost to the village was $1,950 plus travel expenses.  The contract states additional services may be available at an hourly rate of $125 per hour.

In November 2022, the village entered into a contract with Arndt Municipal Support for help developing a strategic plan. Strategic planning started in the Spring of 2023 and included an email survey of participants and strategic planning sessions with the mayor, board of trustees, village leadership and community stakeholders.  The session lasted six hours and included vision setting, goal setting, objective setting and prioritizing projects.  The group drafted a village vision statement, goal statement and assigned each goal to a schedule.  Arndt then created a draft report of the sessions outcomes and work and created a final written strategic plan.

The cost of this project was $3,825 plus travel expenses.


In August 2023 the village entered into a contract with Arndt Municipal Support for economic development support for $27,000 plus actual expenses. The village is billed monthly.

This proposal includes Arndt providing economic recruitment support to the village including attending the ICSC Illinois in the Fall of 2023 and the ICSC RECON in Spring of 2024.  These conferences are sponsored by ICSC which promotes marketplaces where people shop, dine, work and gather.

Arndt will also support the village with the creation and implementation of economic development programing that may include a TIF District, Business District, Enterprise Zone, Sales Tax Rebates and Property Tax Abatements, he will also work with village leaders to advocate on behalf of the village as deals are negotiated and work with property owners and realtors to better position the village for economic development. The contract is for 12 months and ends in September 2024 unless renewed by the village.

Hackney’s work with Arndt Municipal Support
Hackney was listed on a proposal from Arndt Municipal Support as a co-recruiter for a Village Administrator in the Village of Shorewood Hills, Wisconsin in March. They did not receive that contract.

Hackney was doing recruiting work for Arndt Municipal Support for Macomb, Illinois Waste Water Treatment Manager position in May.

In Hackney’s response to the anonymous email that was sent on May 23, 2024 he said the idea of doing recruitments was broached in fall or winter of 2023 and this was his first recruitment.


“I have had an interest in doing recruitments on the side for a long time, as it’s fairly common for those in my profession to have side gigs where they’re performing consulting services for other communities.”

 Hackney said he wants to do recruitment at some point in his life.


Hackney said his employment contract with the village allows him to do 12 hours of work weekly outside of his role with St. Joseph.

“I have no issue sharing what I am doing and if I was trying to conceal something, I wouldn’t have put it on a social media site like LinkedIn. My profile is not hidden and the point of recruitment is to do outreach. I need to publicly advertise a position, so there is not a way to do that quietly.”

The ordinance that created the position of Administrator within St. Joseph says the administrator cannot have other employment but is allowed to occasionally consult as long as it is not conflict with the village interests.

“The administrator shall have no employment other than the fulfillment of the obligations of the position of administrator. The administrator shall not be prohibited from occasional teaching, writing, consulting, speaking, or self-employed activities not in conflict with the village’s interests.”

Hackney said that he took on the recruitment work for financial reasons.

“My first year I didn’t receive a pay increase,” he said. “My second year I got a similar percentage to that of other employees but did not receive the minimum wage adjustment. This year I received a three percent adjustment but did not receive the minimum wage adjustment like other employees,” he said.

Hackney said his raises have no kept up with the market for a village administrator position.

“But I have never attempted to squeeze the village for more money nor will I,” he said in the email response.

Hackney went on to explain that he has financial goals he would like to reach and consulting is a way to do that.


“Since St. Joseph is ultimately not that lucrative of a position compared to other positions in City Management for someone who has almost six years of experience as a CAO,” Hackney said.

What does a village administrator do
Per St. Joseph ordinance, the duties of the village administrator include:
To aid and assist the president and board of trustees in the formulation and development of policies, programs and procedures, as established by the president and board of trustees and to supervise and administer the implementation of such policies, programs and procedures.


To recommend to the president and board of trustees the appointment of heads of all departments and divisions subject to appointment by the president and board of trustees and to supervise the work of said department or division heads and all other employees of the village of St. Joseph.

To serve as budget director, as such duties may be provided for by ordinance or resolution.
To provide for the development and dissemination of sufficient information relating to the business of the village.


To direct the general operations and business of all departments and divisions of the village, and to provide for communications within the village among the various departments and divisions, and to provide for coordinated planning of the various activities and duties thereof, provided that nothing herein shall be construed to remove direction and supervision vested in the village treasurer or village clerk by statute or ordinance, nor shall this chapter be construed as altering the lawful powers and duties of the president and board of trustees.


To assist the president and board of trustees in the enforcement of all laws and ordinances within the municipality.


To perform such other duties as described in the current village job description for said position and as may be further directed by the president and board of trustees.


When Hackney was hired in 2021, he was hired at a salary of $75,000. He now makes $80,340 and is given a $200 per month reimbursement for his cell phone.

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