Kathy Hansen abruptly retired her from her post as director of Oak Lawn’s emergency communications center, after helping to implement a third-party staffing agreement amid the glare of village politics.
The village announced her departure Friday afternoon. Hansen cited family obligations as the reason for her decision to leave the village, according to village news advisory.
Hansen rose through the ranks to director of Oak Lawn’s 911 call center and was a 20-year employee of the village. As a member the village’s public safety management team, she was involved in a controversial decision to outsource the union 911-dispatchers to a private vendor.
Former dispatchers publicly blamed Hansen for the department's growing budget deficits, but she was always backed by Oak Lawn's village manager and most village board memebrs. Hansen cited family obligations as her reason for leaving the village.
Hansen's second in command, Richard Bessette, was immediately appointed as emergency communications center director. Bessette is a nine-year information technology specialist and worked often for Hansen as a project manager.
Village Manager Larry Deetjen praised Hansen as a “true public servant” who embraced technology and commitment to serving the village’s municipal 911 customers. Hansen also implemented the village’s emergency communications center to a third party staffing agreement under the glare of village politics.
The village board was notified of Hansen’s departure on Friday afternoon, although Deetjen said he discussed Hanse’s leaving with the mayor and police and fire chiefs earlier in the week.
No one on the village’s executive team or village board forced her to leave, Deetjen said. He described Hansen’s exit as a retirement and not a resignation, even though she is too young to retire.
“I didn’t want her to go,” Deetjen said. “Kathy walked out of her on her own terms. She didn’t ask for severance or a dollar.”