Village Hall, 123 Madison St.

The village of Oak Park’s Personnel Committee has chosen GovHR as the recruitment firm to carry out the search for the open village manager position. The decision was made during the committee’s Aug. 19 meeting, during which the committee interviewed representatives from the three firms in consideration: GovHR, Baker Tilly and Slavin Management. 

While the committee deemed all three firms qualified, they were united in their preferences for GovHR. Slavin impressed the committee as well. However, GovHR’s focus on diversity in recruitment gave it the edge over Slavin.

“Both of those are my number one and number two,” said Trustee Jim Taglia, who sits on the committee.

Along with Taglia, the committee is comprised of Trustees Chibuike Enyia and Lucia Robinson. Village President Vicki Scaman serves as the committee’s chair. While Trustee Ravi Parakkat attended the meeting and was granted the opportunity to ask questions, only committee members could vote. 

“I like the focus on diversity and inclusion,” said Taglia of GovHR.

While he called all three contenders “excellent,” Taglia told his board colleagues he was impressed with GovHR’s approach to community engagement. The firm’s community engagement model utilizes a combination of public meetings and electronic information gathering. GovHR intends to hold a series of seven public meetings with different community stakeholders and disseminate a community-wide survey. The firm also proposed creating a dedicated email address so residents can send their comments directly.

For Robinson, GovHR stood out from the rest because of its significant experience in Oak Park-based recruitment, as well as for having a number of staff members that previously held government positions. 

“They seem to just have a really solid understanding of Oak Park and the industry,” the trustee said. “I thought they would bring a really nice balance between those two to this process.”

She was also impressed by the “electronic file” portion of GovHR’s proposal. The electronic file includes candidate credentials, sets of interview questions with room for notetaking and evaluation sheets to assist in assessing candidates’ skills and abilities. 

“I think that’s going to be a nice feature,” Robinson said.

Robinson mentioned the two additional services available in GovHR’s proposal: leadership personality testing and a “post-hire 360 evaluation piece.”

The latter of the two “add-ons” Robinson believes will provide the village with “a very full-service level of assistance to bringing on a totally brand-new village manager.” 

She noted that Baker Tilly, the first firm interviewed, also offered leadership personality testing in its proposal. Baker Tilly’s interview had an unsteady start due to initial technological issues.

“I’m sorry I’m a little discombobulated. I was prepared with my presentation and I’m trying to get back on track,” said Baker Tilly’s Art Davis.

 While explaining that Baker Tilly has 30 years of experience in municipal recruiting, Davis had another mix-up. 

“I believe the two positions you are looking to fill are police chief and public works director, if I’m not mistaken,” Davis told the committee.

As he began to recount Baker Tilly’s experience in recruiting police chiefs and public works directors, Village President Vicki Scaman politely interjected.

“I hate to interrupt you, but this meeting is discussing the recruitment of a village manager position,” said Scaman.

He quickly apologized for the stumble.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” said Davis. “I prepared the proposal and I know that.”

Enyia found the three firms “all super qualified,” but favored GovHR for its very diverse leadership and prior experience working in Oak Park. He felt those two qualities leant the firm a greater understanding of the community and its needs. 

The Personnel Committee voted unanimously to recommend the village board hire GovHR to conduct its village manager recruitment. A vote from the full village board will ultimately dictate whether the village will move forward with GovHR.

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