In three weeks Riverside will have a new village manager. And it may not stay an interim appointment.
Peter Scalera announced last week that he is resigning from his post as Riverside’s village manager to accept a position as the village manager of Bloomingdale, the town in which Scalera lives.
On Monday current Riverside Finance Director Jessica Frances was named interim village manager effective Sept. 15. Scalera’s last day with the Village of Riverside will be Sept. 16.
Frances will replace Scalera permanently if she does well in the interim post. The village board has no plans to conduct a wider search for a village manager.
“We welcome the opportunity to promote from within our staff and it is our hope that Ms. Frances will assume the position permanently,” said Riverside Village President Ben Sells in a press release issued by the village on Monday.
“I think it is a period just to make sure all parties are happy,” said Frances.
Frances is something of a protégé of Scalera. She came to Riverside in January 2012 from the village of Glencoe where she had worked with Scalera for five years when Scalera was assistant village manager there and Frances was the assistant finance director.
Frances, 33, earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in public administration from the University of Illinois-Chicago. Prior to working for the village of Glencoe Frances was a client services manager for the law firm of Wakenight & Associates.
“I obviously enjoy Riverside tremendously,” said Frances. “I welcome the opportunity to take on this new role in this capacity. I think it’s a really exciting time for Riverside. There are many initiatives that are out there. I will thoroughly enjoy working with the board on achieving all these initiatives.”
In Frances’s two-and-one-half-years as finance director, Riverside has received a Distinguished Budget Award from the Government Finance Officers Association and its bond rating has improved two notches to AAA.
Scalera has been village manager since 2009. He came to Riverside during a period of upheaval after former village manager Kathleen Rush resigned after the election of former village president Michael Gorman and the three other members of the Riverside Community Alliance Party. Scalera had to deal with an often divided village board and a hard charging new majority that was determined to shake things up. He also dealt with a difficult financial situation in the wake of a severe recession.
Scalera, with his low key professional demeanor, seemed to gain the respect of all he worked with.
“We will miss Peter,” Sells said in the press release announcing Scalera’s resignation. “He has been a well-respected leader who has been a positive influence on the village.
Scalera said that he enjoyed working in Riverside.
“It is a wonderful community; a very active, well-educated and concerned citizenry who cares about what happens to their community and the betterment of the community and I’ve enjoyed working with the village officials and the village staff,” Scalera said. “It’s just been a very positive experience.”
Scalera helped Riverside win grants to upgrade Burlington Avenue and the historic train station. He has led efforts to revitalize Riverside’s long stagnant downtown.
Scalera said that he is looking forward to the challenges in Bloomingdale.
“Bloomingdale is a larger community than Riverside,” he said. “It has some of the similar challenges that Riverside faces with economic development and downtown revitalization and I’m going to have an opportunity to be an active part in that.”
Jackie Glosniak contributed reporting to this story.