By Anna Lothson
Tom Barwin, Oak Park's former village manager, is up for the top administrator job in Waukesha, Wis., and Sarasota, Fla.
Barwin said in an interview Monday that he met with Waukesha officials about the job last week. He is one of four finalists for the position in Waukesha and one of five finalists in Sarasota.
He announced at a February Oak Park village board meeting that he was resigning from his post after five and a half years on the job.
Waukesha is a western suburb of Milwaukee and has a population of around 70,000. According to an online job posting, the job would pay between $110,000 and $140,000. Sarasota has more than 50,000 residents and would bring Barwin back to working on the waterfront — a scene he is familiar to.
Barwin said since Waukesha is just slightly larger than Oak Park it has a lot of business districts that operate in a similar manner. That's one factor that attracted him to the job, he said.
"It is a rock-solid town," Barwin said. "It's really moving in the right direction."
He said Waukesha faces a similar set of challenges to Oak Park including strategic planning, economic development and downtown revitalization.
Sarasota is a city also similar in size.
"In Oak Park we've been pretty good keeping our districts full and vibrant," he said. "[Waukesha has] a pretty substantial downtown."
Barwin, who was picked by the Florida-based search firm Colin Baenziger & Associates, said he was interviewed by a committee made up of members of the village government and staff last week.
Barwin said he expects a decision will be made within the next few weeks in Waukesha, and likely by July 2 in Sarasota.
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