Village Manager Carl Swenson will leave Oak Park for a deputy city manager position in Peoria, Ariz., effective in April.

The confirmation of Swenson’s hiring is expected at Tuesday’s Peoria City Council meeting. Swenson would oversee development and community services and earn $149,000 annually, according to city documents. He would begin work there April 10, 2006.

Taking a deputy post is not a step down when it’s in a larger community, especially one that’s bursting with growth, said Peoria City Manager Terrence Ellis. The 178-square-mile suburb of Phoenix adds approximately 5,000 new residents every year to its 140,000-plus population. “How do you do that in a quality fashion?” will be at the heart of Swenson’s work, Ellis said, adding that Swenson will deal with attracting the right development, and deal with land use and infrastructure issues.

“I think he has the ideal background and resume for this job,” Ellis said. “This guy is a guy who’s great with dealing with people…. Frankly, I feel lucky to get him.”

The woman Swenson will replace also formerly served as a city manager, Ellis said. Swenson will also deal with community services, which includes parks and rec, library and the Peoria Sports Complex, spring training host to the Cubs, White Sox, Brewers and others.

Swenson could not be reached immediately for comment.

Oak Park Trustee Robert Milstein said Swenson seemed excited about the new position when he informed the board of the move last week. He said Swenson’s 5-month notice was “very professional” and would give the village an opportunity to do a national search for a replacement.

Although rumors that Swenson would depart came soon after the New Leadership Coalition’s victory at the polls in April, Milstein denied that was the impetus.

“There was absolutely no pressure” for him to leave, Milstein said, adding that the relationship under David Pope’s presidency has been more positive than with the previous board.

A more complete report will appear in this week’s Wednesday Journal.

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