After a five-month search, the Oak Park Regional Housing Center has hired a new executive director.

Rob Breymaier will take the lead administrative post at the 34-year-old organization in mid-June.

Breymaier’s extensive background in fair housing; good people, management and computer skills; interest in staff training and development; sense of humor; and commitment to living in diverse a community made him stand out among other applicants, said Rick Kuner, president of the Housing Center board. Kuner declined to say how big the pool of applicants was.

“This is a really tough job to fill,” Kuner said. “This is a fairly unique organization and there are not a lot of folks out there who have all the skills necessary.”

The center’s previous director, Agnes Stempniak, resigned in August 2005, and the board spent the next four months developing a job description. In early January, letters were sent asking people if they knew of someone who would be interested in the position.

Breymaier, who lives in Chicago, was sent one of the letters. His position as community relations director for the Leadership Council for Metropolitan Open Communities will end June 2 when the 40-year-old nonprofit organization closes its doors.

Breymaier declined answering questions about his new appointment.

John Lukehart, an Oak Parker and acting executive director of the Leadership Council, said he had nothing to do with matching Breymaier with the Housing Center, but said it was a good move.

“Rob gets it,” Lukehart said about open housing. “He knows it’s not something that just happens.”

Lukehart called the Leadership Council’s governing board’s decision to close a “very sad day.” The organization has worked together with the village and the Housing Center throughout its history.

“We’re working hard to make sure the legacy and mission of the Leadership Council is carried on,” said Lukehart, who has also been battling brain cancer.

“It’s been a challenging time,” he said.


Join the discussion on social media!