Brookfield Village Manager Timothy Wiberg last week announced he’s hired George Issakoo to fill the new role of assistant village manager after a three-month search that drew more than 80 applicants.
His first day on the job will be May 13, when he will also be introduced to elected officials at that evening’s village board meeting. His salary is $110,000.
The 31-year-old Issakoo (pronounced ee-SA-ko) has spent the past two years as assistant to the public works director for the village of Skokie. Prior to that he served as a budget analyst and assistant to the county administrator for Lake County.
He comes to the village of Brookfield with a particular experience implementing technology initiatives, and that will be a main focus of attention for Issakoo, according to Wiberg.
“What I’ve come to realize is that there’s a lack of any type of IT strategy here,” said Wiberg, who came aboard as village manager last September. “There are technology needs throughout all departments that need to be implemented.”
Wiberg said it will be Issakoo’s job to spearhead initiatives like the village joining the GIS Consortium, installing a new phone system, digitizing paper records to make them indexable and searchable.
“We’re not in the 1980s anymore,” Wiberg said.
In Skokie, Issakoo spearheaded the implementation of fleet management software for the public works department and rolled out an app, much like the one used by the village of Riverside, where residents can submit requests and report problems directly to staff in the field.
“Technology is a big part of my job here,” said Issakoo in a phone interview.
In addition, Wiberg said he wants Issakoo to create a visible and responsive presence on social media, something lacking right now.
“That’s the way the public now communicates,” Wiberg said. “If there are factual misstatements or legitimate questions being raised about public policy, there’s an opportunity for the village of Brookfield to respond to those things.”
Wiberg said he see the assistant village manager as the “operations director,” dealing with internal issues that bubble up daily.
Having an assistant in place, Wiberg said, will allow him to interface with the village board and community leaders, get more involved in economic development by reaching out to the development community and establish a strategic plan with the village board, particularly infrastructure maintenance and replacement.
“This is a critical piece that needs to be filled,” Wiberg said.
Issakoo, who lives in the north suburbs with his wife and 2-year-old daughter, is a graduate of Glenbrook North High School who earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from DePaul University before getting his master’s degree in public administration at Northwestern University.
While he entered college thinking he wanted to be a diplomat, his focus changed in graduate school, where his professors were local city managers.
“They educated me on the impact you can have at the local level,” Issakoo said. “That really appealed to me.”
Brookfield has not had an assistant village manager since 2014, when Keith Sbiral was promoted from that position to village manager. Sbiral did not have an assistant, although just before he resigned in March 2018 he announced that longtime administrative assistant Theresa Coady was being promoted to assistant village manager.
That promotion does not appear to have ever been made official. Coady’s position was officially director of administrative and residential services.
In February, Wiberg announced he was eliminating Coady’s position effective April 30 and undertaking a search for an assistant manager. Coady was on leave from the time of the announcement until April 30.
Back in February, attorney Stacey Vucko confirmed Coady had filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over the elimination of her job. There has been no word on the status of that complaint. Vucko did not respond to emails from the Landmark about the matter.