While the first phase of Riverside village government’s restructuring – the transition from separate police and fire departments to a combined Department of Public Safety and Emergency Management – is complete, the second piece of the administrative reshuffle will fall into place later this month.
On June 17, Ashley Monroe will step into the newly created role of assistant village manager after being selected for the position after a search by Village Manager Jessica Frances.
“She’ll be taking on multiple roles in the organization,” said Frances. “She’s had a lot of great experience and will be able to hit the ground running with projects we have going on with our restructuring.”
Monroe comes to Riverside from Iowa City, Iowa, where she has served as assistant city manager since 2016. Prior to that, Monroe worked for nine years for the village of Hoffman Estates, starting as a planner and later moving into the role of assistant to the village manager in 2014.
She has both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in public administration from Northern Illinois University.
Monroe’s experience in planning was especially attractive for Frances, since her restructuring plan for Riverside Village Hall included the new assistant manager supervising the Community Development Department.
As planner and grants/green initiatives coordinator for the village of Hoffman Estates, Monroe was the staff liaison to the village’s Plan Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals. She also reviewed various zoning variance and planning requests and performed commercial property inspections.
“Given her background, especially her experience in planning, we were very excited when she came in [to be interviewed],” Frances said.
Monroe, whose extended family lives in the Chicago suburbs, said her family was looking to move back to the area to be closer to family. The Riverside opening gives her an opportunity to continue to use skills she’s developed as a municipal administrator through the years but also a new opportunity to serve in a supervisory capacity.
“It’s exciting to come in and have the opportunity to build a team from the beginning point, to identify the skills and strengths of people and put them in roles that are good for them and the organization,” Monroe said in a phone interview last week.
The Community Development Department in Riverside has been in a state of transition since the beginning of 2021. The department has had no full-time staff since the end of February, with the village using third-party vendors on a part-time basis for planning and inspection services.
Frances told the Landmark that she is still evaluating candidates for another new position, village planner. Finding a new full-time building inspector has proven a much tougher nut to crack, she said, because of competition with the private sector.
“In the next three weeks, I’ll hopefully have a good update in terms of the planner and building inspector,” Frances said.
Monroe said getting the Community Development Department team sorted out would be job No. 1 when she arrives later this month.
“Because of the reorganization and staffing changes, I’ll really be stepping into focusing on the planning and development area and make sure we have all the pieces in motion and all the players we need,” Monroe said.
According to Frances, the new assistant village manager will be paid $96,500.