Brookfield’s village board is on track to hire a new village manager by sometime next month, with that person taking up residence in the manager’s office by Oct. 1, President Kit Ketchmark said last week.
On Saturday, Aug. 18, members of the village board are scheduled to meet in closed session to interview four finalists chosen by the board in July. The finalists were selected from a group of nine semifinalists presented to the board on July 9 by a consultant from Slavin Management Consultants, the firm hired by trustees in April to conduct the executive search.
“I think everyone is anxious for the new manager to be here,” said Ketchmark. “It’s been a thorough search, and we haven’t felt the need to hurry it. A lot of the transitions have already been made.”
The search for a new manager was triggered by the sudden resignation in March of former manager Keith Sbiral, who’d served as assistant village manager from 2006 to 2014 before taking the top administrative job at village hall.
In the interim, Brookfield tapped the services of Jay Dalicandro, the retired longtime village manager of Elmwood Park, to serve as a management consultant. He helped select Slavin to do the manager search and has also played roles in other key hires, such as the appointment of a new recreation director, in addition to handling other projects.
“Because we have Jay here, we haven’t felt pressure to just hire someone,” Ketchmark said. “Having Jay has helped out tremendously.”
Ketchmark said members of the village board are preparing for a long closed-door session on Aug. 18. In addition to interviewing all four finalists, board members will extensively discuss the interviews and could settle on a consensus pick that day.
Background checks on all of the finalists have already been completed, Ketchmark said.
“Then it’s a matter of coming together on an agreement,” he added.
It’s unlikely negotiations on a contract could be completed in time for the village’s board’s next regularly scheduled meeting on Aug. 27, pushing an announcement of the hire to Sept. 10 at the earliest.
According to Ketchmark, all four finalists are men and all have served as municipal managers, though not all currently serve in that role. The finalists have backgrounds variously in public works, finance and planning, and all are from Illinois.
“I’d like to believe our candidate is among that group,” Ketchmark said.
The present search for a manager is the most extensive Brookfield has undertaken since 2001, which is the last time the village board employed a search firm.
That experience didn’t turn out so well. The village board ended up hiring Mark Isakson, who came aboard in the fall of 2001 and was gone six months later. South Chicago Heights Mayor Dave Owen was chosen as Isakson’s replacement, and he served until 2005, when the PEP Party swept back into power.
In 2005, President Michael Garvey and then-trustee Ketchmark, with the help of the Illinois Municipal League, conducted the search that led to the hiring of Riccardo Ginex, who brought Sbiral aboard as his assistant in early 2006.
Ginex left to become village manager of Oak Brook in 2014, when Sbiral was elevated to the manager’s spot.