The dog days of summer are here and there’s still no word on a new village manager for the Village of Brookfield. Village President Michael Garvey, who made a change in village management a priority in his election campaign this spring, said that interviews with prospective candidates are ongoing.
One person who won’t be occupying the village manager’s chair in Brookfield is Steven Jones, formerly the village manager of LaGrange Park. Neither Jones nor Garvey would confirm or deny that Jones was in line for the position.
“I’ve always indicated that I would not discuss anyone I’ve interviewed,” Garvey said.
On July 12 Jones was hired as city administrator in south suburban Oak Forest. He had resigned as village manager in LaGrange Park after a new political administration was swept into power in April.
Garvey said he has received 50 resumes for the Brookfield job and has interviewed “five or six different people” with another two scheduled last week.
“I’m anxious to get going, but it’s such an important decision, I’m not going to set any artificial timetable,” Garvey said. “But I hope to move forward on a decision in the next couple of weeks.”
Asked if Brookfield’s sometimes contentious political climate was seen as a drawback by candidates for the position, Garvey said that wasn’t the case.
“No one has expressed any reluctance,” Garvey said. “It’s a matter of trying to pick the person who has the right qualifications and skills. I don’t want to have to go through this again in six months or a year.”
Dave Owen remains Brookfield’s village manager in the meantime. He is likely to remain on board until a replacement is found, since he has a clause in his contract that gives him six months’ severance pay in the event he is let go. Owen has been village manager since May 2002, taking over from Mark Isakson, who lasted just over six months on the job.
“I’ve told Dave that if he has any offers, I don’t want to tie him up,” Garvey said. “I’ve been open about the process, and he’s been helpful.”
Close back in as Lyons manager
Kevin Close spent nine years as the village manager in Lyons, working with three different administrations. When the 64-year-old Brookfield resident retired during the administration of Marie Vachata in 2002, he thought it would be permanent.
“I’m happily retired,” Close said.
But on July 1, Close was back in the Lyons village manager’s office, called back on an interim basis by Lyons Village President David Visk, who was returned to office by voters on April 5. Patrick Burelle, who succeeded Close as Lyons village manager resigned under circumstances which remain unclear. Visk, who did not return calls to his home seeking comment, has not provided an explanation for Burelle’s departure.
Visk, however, was very familiar with Close, who served as village manager during Visk’s first term as village president from 1997 to 2001. According to Close, the appointment will be a temporary one. He’s being paid a $70 an hour consulting fee with no other benefits while he’s on board.
“The other village manager left, and they asked if I could come in, fill the gap and help them select a new village manager said Close. “I think it’ll take three or four months to get a village manager in working.”
Close, a 31-year resident of Brookfield, said he’s performing all of the day-to-day duties required of the village manager. The Lyons job has been posted in the Illinois Municipal League Journal and elsewhere.
Apart from his role in Lyons village government, which spanned 1993-2002, Close was a visible figure in Brookfield politics during the 1980s. From 1981-85, Close served as a Brookfield village trustee and later won a single term as village president from 1985-89 under the United We Care Party banner.