Rachel Entler stands for a portrait outside of village hall on Monday, Sept. 12, 2022, at Forest Park Village Hall on Des Plaines Avenue in Forest Park, Ill. | ALEX ROGALS/Staff Photographer

It’s good to have a clear focus. When asked to briefly state her job description as Mayor Rory Hoskins’ executive secretary, Rachell Entler, who has been at that job for 10 months now, replied, “My job is to do whatever the mayor or the village administrator may ask me to do.”

Entler fleshed that bare-bones description out by saying that some of her duties are ongoing. She puts out the weekly village newsletter and monitors all of the social media feeds. Much of her work is behind the scenes, like making appointments with legislators in Springfield or with local residents. 

Another example is coordinating film projects in Forest Park. Moses Amidei, Forest Park’s village administrator, said, “Rachell goes the extra mile to make things happen. Recently, she assisted with the administration and coordination of filming events [Universal NBC] that took place in town. The process went smoothly and we look forward to Forest Park appearing on the small screen in the coming months.”

Because of her experience and ability, she does a lot more than sweat the details for her superiors. Amidei started his job as administrator in May of 2021 and Entler began the following November, so both are relatively new on the job.

Entler, 46, grew up in Forest Park, worked at the park district for 12 years, and was an elected village commissioner for four. 

“As a Forest Park native,” said Amidei, “she has intimate knowledge of the community, especially its people and what is happening around town.” 

“We have a very respectful relationship,” Entler said. “We’ve gotten to the point now where he brings an idea to me and asks what I think about it, and I can give him an honest opinion, like ‘I don’t think this will work’ or ‘Hey, I think we need to look at that more.’” 

The same holds true with her relationship with the mayor. “They may be my superiors,” she explained, “but regarding how we work together, I do feel like we’re on the same level.”

“I don’t pretend that I have their authority,” she continued, “but I grew up in this town and that feeds into helping Moses and even the mayor get acclimated to their roles. I just bring a different level of knowledge.”

That knowledge includes relationships with people in government like Speaker of the House Emmanuel “Chris” Welch. “I have to thank retired Park District Director Larry Piekarz for teaching me how to interact with government officials,” she said. “I already had a relationship with the Speaker from my days at the park district, so I didn’t have to build one and that makes it easy to communicate with his office.

“I think that one of the strongest things I bring to the village right now,” she added, “is that, having been a village commissioner, I understand that aspect of government, but now I’m an employee, and the two don’t always mesh easily.”

What happens, she explained, is that the mayor or commissioners will get an idea and then ask staff like her to “vet” it. 

“I try to be a sounding board and a go-between with the council, the mayor and the staff so that we can get to the same point. It takes constant communication.”

Hoskins, for instance, had been thinking about doing a Pride event for a while and appointed Entler as the contact from the village to pull it all together. When Erich Krumrei from Play It Again Sports offered to be in charge, Entler got together with him and Laurie Kokenes, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce.

“We had a very candid conversation,” she recalled. “We asked if this community was ready to embrace seven drag queens performing in Constitution Court. We had to vet it through and based our decision on our sense of how the community feels.”

Entler said her “feel” for the community isn’t based just on conversations held within village hall. She is a regular at MP Kitchen, for example, and always asks the servers what they hear their customers talking about, like a health-care worker taking the blood pressure of the community.

Another asset Entler brings to the village government table is that she grew up with an American father and a Filipina mother. “We lived a very blended life. It’s something that I’ve come to do naturally. I try to look at people’s perspectives, whether it’s from their experience, culture or religion. For example, when a person whose first language is not English comes into village hall and is frustrated, I try to take an extra step to understand why this person is feeling that way. I might not be able to give them what they want directly from our resources, but I can perhaps point them in the right direction.” 

One reason Entler moved from the park district to village hall is that in her present position she has weekends off, especially in the summer, which allows her to participate more fully with her family in vacation activities.

Another reason is that “there are a lot of good people” working at village hall. But more than anything else, “The bottom line for me is that I love serving the public.”