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By Anna Lothson
The next steps in selecting Oak Park's next village manager are in limbo until the final pool of applicants is narrowed down after the application deadline closes Friday.
The Georgia-based firm Slavin Management Consultants was tasked with the job in May of finding a new village manager. Slavin is receiving up to $21,490 for its work. Robert Slavin, the company's president, has been working closely with the village board to decide who would be the best fit.
Last week, trustees received an update from Slavin saying he'd received a good number of applicants, "but he didn't believe he'd received the entire pool yet," according to Trustee Colette Lueck.
"There are good applicants in the pool," she said, referring to what they've heard from Slavin. "He thinks there could be more."
Slavin has been accumulating resumes and will make site visits with candidates before narrowing down the list for village board consideration.
Although the deadline is just days away, Lueck said she's confident in Slavin's ability to recruit the right candidate.
"In the end, you just need the right one."
She said the process, which Village President David Pope reported last month was about two weeks behind schedule, is moving along. It's unknown how close the board will stick to its original timeline of having someone hired in September.
"I think that timeline is ambitious," said Lueck, who served on the Personnel Committee with Pope and Trustee Ray Johnson. "There won't be someone [hired] by September, but it should be possible to make an offer in September."
The pace of the decision will depend on how many people Slavin presents, how they are received by the board and whether consensus is reached.
A public meeting to gather feedback about the next village manager was held in May, but the meeting was poorly attended. Lueck said she hopes there is another opportunity for the public to express what qualities they want to see in the next village manger.
There may still be the possibility of involving stakeholders in a private meeting with the final village manger candidates or even having a public meeting regarding the candidates. Those decisions, however, will be determined by the board once the process enters the next phase.
Jonson said he's unsure if the timeline is realistic, but it's still the goal. The board plans to set up times in September to meet with Slavin about the candidates, likely in the second week of September.
"Overall it seems like there is some good level of interest," Johnson said. "[Slavin is] still very optimistic we are going to get the [right] candidate."