Anderson appoints 3 new dept. heads

By on May 8, 2009

Two staffers’ roles switched
by Martha Quetsch
Elburn Village President Dave Anderson made some of the changes he hinted about during his campaign, just minutes after being sworn into office Monday at Lions Park clubhouse.

He appointed a new police chief, former Elburn Commander Steve Smith, to replace Jim Linane. He also switched the roles of staffers David Morrison and Erin Willrett, making Willrett the village administrator and giving Morrison the community development director job.

Anderson said he did not re-hire Jim Linane, police chief for the past eight years, because they have different philosophies (see related story). Regarding his decision to make Willrett the administrator and Morrison the community development director, he said they are better suited to those positions than their previous jobs.

“They are both good people. Erin is self-motivated, intelligent and loves the village. Dave (Morrison) is a bright guy and an asset to the village, with expertise in community development,” Anderson said.

Morrison was village administrator for 10 years; Willrett was hired as community development director in 2008, having previously worked for the Kane County Development Department.

Anderson also re-appointed the current public works director, John Nevenhoven.

The village president selects department heads for one-year appointments each May, with the consent of the Village Board. The board that voted 4-2 in favor of the appointments includes three new members who were sworn in Monday: Ken Anderson, Jerry Schmidt and Jeff Walter. They, and trustee Gordon Dierschow, voted yes, and trustees Patricia Romke and Bill Grabarek dissented.

Grabarek said he did not feel comfortable voting in favor of the appointments without having discussed them during a Village Board closed session first.

“I was concerned about losing Morrison. He has been here 10 years and is very knowledgable,” Grabarek said. “I worked with him when I was on the Planning Commission and for the past six years as a trustee, and I have always appreciated his professionalism and his care in managing the village.”

Shortly after being elected April 7, Anderson told the village’s four department heads that he would interview them to determine whether to re-hire them for the next fiscal year.

Since then, he talked with each department head for a minimum of two hours, and made his decisions.

Bill Coughlin, 509 Cambridge Ave., said he is glad John Nevenhoven, public works superitendent for the past year, was not replaced.

“We’ve got problems in public works, and people have to be given a chance to do their job,” said Coughlin, who was among those seated in the packed clubhouse.