Stevie Ferrari

For the past decade, parks and recreation has been the focus of Stevie Ferrari’s professional life. In 2018, she was hired as Brookfield’s first recreation director in 15 years, and she has performed so well that in less than two weeks Ferrari will be stepping into a new role as assistant village manager.

Ferrari will replace George Issakoo, who is leaving Brookfield to take on the position of assistant city manager in Lake Forest, on Oct. 11.

“It will be a change, but it’s not too far of a stretch, as it turns out, from recreation to making a broader impact through the village manager’s office,” Ferrari said. “It all stems from public service and local government and my interest and passion for that.”

In 2021, Ferrari enrolled in the Master’s in Public Administration program at Northern Illinois University. Work toward that degree is still in progress, she said.

In a press release issued Sept. 29, Village Manager Timothy Wiberg pointed to Ferrari’s work as recreation director as an example of her capability as a municipal administrator.

“I did not need to look far to identify our next assistant village manager,” Wiberg said. “Stevie has demonstrated a passion for serving the public and has single-handedly increased the scope and quantity of recreational programming for the community.”

Under Ferrari’s direction, the Brookfield Department of Parks and Recreation has expanded programming for adults and children. In recent years, the department has expanded day camp opportunities and has initiated its STARS before and after school programs.

In 2018, the year Ferrari was hired, revenue from recreation programs amounted to about $153,000. The village’s 2022 budget projected recreation revenues of almost $730,000. In 2021, the department collected about $516,000 in revenue.

She also worked with the Brookfield Parks and Recreation Board to form a nonprofit foundation to raise money to make sure programs are within reach financially of all residents regardless of family income.

Ferrari will continue to oversee the recreation department while the village searches for her replacement. That search will begin as soon as possible. Whoever is hired as recreation director will report directly to Ferrari.

“We’re very luck to have a great team,” Ferrari said of the department’s other full-time employees, Recreation Supervisor Cindy Yelich and Early Childhood Recreation Supervisor Kelly Picton. “They are on board with continuing our work here, and I’ll still be able to oversee and have direct access during the transition process.”

As assistant village manager, Ferrari will be paid $115,169. As of Jan. 1, 2022, her salary as recreation director was $93,756.

George Issakoo

The city of Lake Forest announced Issakoo’s hire as assistant city manager on Sept. 27. The village had posted the opening in the latter half of August.

“I was surprised by how quickly they moved,” said Issakoo, who headed up a host of initiatives as Brookfield’s assistant manager, many of them related to technology and communications.

Married with three young children, Issakoo’s new job will put him much closer to his home in Wheeling. In Lake Forest, Issakoo will also supervise a larger staff.

“It made a lot of sense for me and my family,” said Issakoo. “For me, it’s always been about broadening my experience and being exposed to different people and different processes and different challenges.”

Issakoo came to Brookfield in May 2019 from Skokie, where he served as the assistant to the public works director. Technology issues were a primary focus for Issakoo in Brookfield, and under his direction the village introduced a new agenda management software system that in time would include livestreaming village board meetings and making those videos available on an on-demand basis on the village’s website.

He was responsible for rolling out official village social media accounts and also implemented a service module on the village website called SeeClickFix, which allows residents to request services or notify the village of concerns and then track the village’s progress in addressing them.

“It is hard to lose a person of such high caliber as George,” said Wiberg in the press release. “He has made numerous contributions to the village which will keep us moving forward for the next several years. While I am personally sad to see him go, I know that professionally he has a bright and productive career ahead of him.”

Issakoo’s final day on the job will be Oct. 10, when he’ll attend his final village board meeting.

“I’ve never been more proud of the work I’ve done anywhere else,” Issakoo said of his tenure in Brookfield.