This is Cara Pavlicek’s last week as Oak Park’s village manager. After a long tenure which began with her as Oak Park’s parking czar, Pavlicek heads to Northbrook as its top administrator.

In a long interview with the Journal last week, Pavlicek was typically candid on a range of topics — from deciding it was time to move on, to the challenges and opportunities she believes Oak Park faces. 

In her tenure Pavlicek, with support from various village boards, has modernized and streamlined virtually every aspect of village government. She has led Oak Park through two major national crises — the financial collapse in 2008 and the combined health and financial wallop of COVID-19. While the pandemic continues to prove it is not over, Pavlicek provided strong leadership and brought Oak Park village government through and in many ways leaner and more focused.

Pavlicek was imperfect. Shocking. While the board sets policies, Pavlicek could have done more on community safety reforms, on building a culture of equity in village government, on investing in sustainability. 

That said, this is a very hard job. Pavlicek did it very well. And we’d close by noting that the guff she took for being too decisive, for reorganizing village hall with the manager dead center in all things, reflects a sexist malignancy we all still need to deal with.

Our thanks to Cara Pavlicek for her leadership.

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