The village administrator search committee is receiving resumes until Feb. 12, though they have discussed the possibility of extending that date if they aren’t satisfied with the quantity or quality of applicants.
At a public meeting on Jan. 28, the committee discussed the next steps in the process of finding a replacement for Tim Gillian, who is staying on temporarily despite his plan to retire at the end of January.
The search committee is made up of Mayor Rory Hoskins, Commissioners Joe Byrnes and Jessica Voogd, Bridget Lane, co-chair of Forest Park Chamber of Commerce’s economic development committee, and Vanessa Moritz, village clerk and human resources manager.
All resumes will be provided to all members of the village council, including Commissioners Dan Novak and Ryan Nero, who are not on the committee. Once all resumes are received and the application window closed, the committee will rank the resumes to decide who to call in for preliminary interviews. Hoskins said, as a ballpark figure, he thinks the group should screen candidates and “ultimately recommend somewhere between seven and 10 for interviews.”
Preliminary interviews, which will most likely be held via Zoom, will tentatively be scheduled for between Feb. 22 and 26, and final interviews in March. The final interviews will be in person if possible.
Byrnes said, “I’m the type of guy that when I’m talking to somebody, I like to look them face to face and not on a TV screen and see body language and things like that, where I can get a feeling and how the person is reacting to certain questions that are asked.”
During the meeting, Moritz said the job had been posted extensively, in sources that include the village website and Facebook page, the Illinois City/County Management Association (ILCMA)’s career page, the Illinois Municipal League, the West Central Municipal Conference, the GOV HR website, the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, the Northwest Council of Mayors and the National Forum for Black Public Administrators.
Moritz said she also shared the job posting with some committees she’s on, such as the Northwest Cook County Clerk’s Association and the Illinois Public Employers Labor Relations Association.
According to Lane, one of her biggest concerns about getting the word out about the village administrator position is that Forest Park isn’t a well-known town and could be confused with Park Forest.
“My concern remains that a lot of people don’t know where Forest Park is when you get out into the hinterlands, because Park Forest has such a reputation … I think that’s one of our bigger problems is just the low identity of the community.”
Lane said Voogd has concerns in a previous meeting about committee members sharing the posting because it might seem like they were promoting individual candidates for the position, but Hoskins said he isn’t worried about that.
“I don’t have any concerns about whether you appear to be promoting, because you’re not the hirer. You’re not the decider,” Hoskins said. “I’ve shared this with personal contacts of mine as well.” Ultimately, he reminded the committee, the full village council will interview the finalists and select the next village administrator.
“I mean, that’s kind of how the market works, whether it’s public or private sector,” Hoskins said. “If you know someone who’s good for a role, you know, maybe you let the person know that there’s an opening … we want to get someone good for Forest Park.”
The committee will use an interview evaluation form from the ILCMA to help during the interview process, possibly adding or changing it to fit the particular needs of the village.
Hiring guidance from the ILCMA also suggested that the village put together an information guide about the town to provide to potential candidates, though there was minor debate about how extensive such a packet should be.
Hoskins and Byrnes seemed to feel that a determined candidate would seek out information about budgets, finances and comprehensive plans on his or her own.
Byrnes said someone very interested in the position would find ways to get the information. “They’ll be a self-starter and go look for it,” he said.
Voogd and Lane said some links to basic information, though, would at least provide a starting point for potential candidates.
“Supplying a baseline to the information I think would be helpful,” Voogd said. “We’re talking about extensive reads. Long documents. A lot of information … Requiring them to jump through hurdles of finding it hidden in the nooks and crannies of our website doesn’t need to be a qualifier for employment.”
As of Feb. 6, Hoskins said the village had received about 18 resumes from candidates interested in the village administrator position.