Brookfield Village Trustees believe they’ve found the right person to guide the village through the next several months while searching for a new, permanent village manager.
Members of the village board voted unanimously on March 26 to approve a consulting agreement with Westbrook Strategic Consultants, a Westchester-based firm whose principal is longtime former Elmwood Park Village Manager Jay Dalicandro.
“What we found out real quick, is that Jay’s name came up all over the place,” said Brookfield Village President Kit Ketchmark of his inquiries into who might be able lead staff during the transition. “He brings tremendous knowledge to the table. I think he’s really going to help.”
He steps into the breach created earlier this month when Keith Sbiral resigned as Brookfield’s village manager as part of a mutual agreement between him and Ketchmark. The village board also approved a formal separation agreement with Sbiral on Monday night.
Dalicandro, 60, is well-known to several Brookfield officials through professional associations like the West Suburban Municipal Conference and due to his work in Elmwood Park, where the village of Brookfield’s legal counsel, Storino, Ramello and Durkin, also serves as that village’s law firm.
Retiring in 2012 after serving for more than 23 years as village manager of Elmwood Park, Dalicandro has spent the past four years serving as a consultant for municipalities in the midst of a management change.
Dalicandro described himself as “a good crisis manager and communicator.”
For the past nine months, Dalicandro has worked as a management consultant in the village of Westchester, whose board removed its village manager from office last summer.
In that capacity, Dalicandro helped recruit a new village manager. Dalicandro’s last official day on the job in Westchester is March 31.
Prior to that, Dalicandro was called in to guide the staff in Bensenville after a shake-up in that village removed three top officials. Dalicandro said he still works with the village of Bensenville as a mentor to its new manager and as a consultant on special projects.
Of his role in Brookfield, Dalicandro said he’s confident he’ll be able to help the village transition smoothly to a new manager.
“I don’t think it’s unique,” Dalicandro said. “It’s a matter of keeping everything together, making sure the staff is comfortable and have continuity.”
Dalicandro said he also does work for the village of Schiller Park, providing economic development consulting services. For the past 10 years, Dalicandro has served on the Cook County Sheriff’s Merit Board, which oversees disciplinary hearings for Cook County Sheriff’s Police, Forest Preserve District Police and corrections officers.
The consulting services agreement approved by the village board on Monday calls for Dalicandro to be paid $4,000 per month. He will work about three days a week. Both Dalicandro and Ketchmark said they believed the transition to a new manager would likely take three or four months.
“I learned a lesson in Westchester,” Dalicandro said. “The first thing you have to do is have proposals from search firms quickly.”
With that in mind, Dalicandro said he already has proposals in hand from search firms. Ketchmark said about six firms will be considered for the search. Firms charge between $15,000 and $30,000, said Ketchmark.
Dalicandro is expected to make a search firm recommendation to village board members at their next meeting on April 9.
In addition to assisting in the search for a new village manager, Dalicandro will have a hand in helping the fire department transition to a new chief. Patrick Lenzi will retire as fire chief at the end of April, and Ketchmark said his plan is for a permanent replacement, hired from the department’s ranks, to start right away.
Dalicandro will also help the village determine how to best reorganize the recreation department. The department’s longtime de facto leader, Program Coordinator Mary Pezdek, retired earlier this month, leaving just a part-time employee working for the department on the cusp of its busy season.
“He’s jumping right in,” Ketchmark said of Dalicandro. “He brings years of experience and lets us keep moving.”