Gillian sticking around a little longer

Village administrator search will be done in-house and extend into March

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By Maria Maxham

Village Administrator Tim Gillian won't be leaving his position to retire on Jan. 29 as originally planned.

At a Jan. 11 village council meeting, it was made clear that a replacement for Gillian won't be hired by then. Gillian will stay on, full time, until the village is further along in the process, which won't be completed until at least some time in March.

"The mayor has asked me if I would stick around long enough for you guys to get a little bit further down the path to hiring a new administrator," Gillian said at the meeting.  "And I have said that I would." Gillian had announced his planned January retirement on Nov. 23.

During the Jan. 11 meeting, the village board voted on the process for selecting the next village administrator. The process was approved by a four to one vote, with Commissioner Dan Novak casting the dissenting vote.

The process includes the formation of a subcommittee. The subcommittee is comprised of Commissioner Joe Byrnes, Commissioner Jessica Voogd, Mayor Rory Hoskins, Village Clerk Vanessa Moritz, who serves as the village's human resources director, and Bridget Lane, who co-chairs the Forest Park Chamber of Commerce's economic development committee and has done some economic development consulting for the village.

The subcommittee will determine qualifications necessary for Gillian's successor and will develop a matrix of skills used to rank applicants to decide who will be interviewed. All commissioners will receive copies of all resumes received, and each commissioner can recommend one applicant for a preliminary interview. The sub-committee will review resumes and invite up to 10 candidates for preliminary interviews, which will be conducted from Feb. 16 to 25. Final interviews will be conducted by the entire village council from March 1 to 5.

Byrnes and Voogd, both appointed to the subcommittee, made it clear that they wanted all commissioners to have a say in the process, and they had been told by Hoskins that the subcommittee was a way to streamline the process. In fact, Voogd said that if another commissioner preferred to be on the subcommittee, having that discussion now and publicly was the best option.

Hoskins said the village sought proposals from a search firm, but the cost, around $17,000, was too much.

"After discussing this with all the commissioners, it seems like a consensus, that we had agreed that this is something that we could do in-house," Hoskins said. That consensus was reached in part through emails to individual commissioners and also through phone conversations with them, Hoskins indicated.

The consensus, however, didn't include Novak, who said he'd made it clear that he was opposed to the process brought forth at the meeting. Novak said he supports hiring an executive search firm, since the position of village administrator is important and having the best advice possible is crucial.

"You get what you pay for," said Novak during the Jan. 11 meeting. "And in turn, I think that this top level, top executive municipal position, you know, we need professionals to assist us for the best interests of Forest Park."

Novak also indicated that the pool of candidates the village will pull from under this process might not be as big as it would be with the help of a search firm.

"We're just casting the net where we honestly could be casting a lot bigger net," Novak said.

Hoskins responded that, "We just didn't feel the need to hire someone and pay them nearly $20,000, to come and talk to our village and then conduct the interviews for us. I mean, I think we'd all rather be hands on, in this case … This is a very important vote that we'll take. So we might as well really get to know all the candidates up front, rather than outsource this."

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