Oak Park village hall

Interim Village Manager Lisa Shelley is among the three finalists in line for the Oak Park village manager position. She is in the running alongside Eric Johnson and Lionel Lyons, both of whom come from outside of Oak Park.

In a break from tradition, the village board has publicly announced the names of the finalists and will host a virtual public forum to introduce the candidates. That forum will be held this Sunday, Jan. 23.

Eric Johnson

Johnson currently serves as the village manager of northwest suburban Carpentersville, where he oversees roughly 145 employees and a budget of $83.6 million. Johnson has been in that position for almost three years.

Prior to Johnson’s time in Carpentersville, he spent a little over a year as the township administrator in Schaumburg. Before that, he was township supervisor and treasurer of DeKalb, a position he was in for just over six years. He also taught political science as an adjunct professor at Kishwaukee College and was a prosecuting attorney as a state’s attorney law clerk for DuPage County.

Johnson has 12 years of experience working in local government and holds a juris doctor degree, as well as a bachelor’s degree in political science, from Northern Illinois University.

With 37 years of experience, Lyons has had the longest career in local government among the three finalists. He is also the only finalist from out of state. Lyons previously served as the deputy city manager for development and operations in Petersburg, Virginia., where he supervised 190 of the organization’s 619 employees and oversaw a budget of $40 million.

Lionel Lyons

Previously, Lyons spent 20 years working for the city of Phoenix, Arizona, where he led three different departments: equal opportunity, development services and human resources. He also served as the assistant to the mayor, where he was responsible for budget and economic development.

He holds a master’s degree in public administration and a bachelor’s degree in political science. He studied at Ohio State University and North Carolina A&T University.

Of the three finalists, Shelley has the benefit of name recognition in Oak Park. Previously Oak Park’s deputy village manager, Shelley has been serving as interim village manager of Oak Park since former village manager Cara Pavlicek’s departure last August. She is currently overseeing the village of Oak Park’s 360 employees and its $160 million budget. Shelley previously worked as the assistant to the village manager and assistant to the public works director.

Lisa Shelley

She has also worked for other Illinois communities including Woodridge, Barrington and Lake Bluff. Combined, she has a total of 30 years working in local government.

Shelley has a master’s degree in public administration from Northern Illinois University, as well as a bachelor’s degree in political science from Lake Forest College.

All three finalist are members of the International City/County Managers Association, an organization of professional city and county managers.

The public will get a chance to meet the candidates during the virtual public forum scheduled for 7 p.m., Jan 23. While the footage will also be archived and available for viewing on the village of Oak Park website, the link to participate in the forum is: https://oak-park-us.zoom.us/j/87063712087

The village board expects to choose the next manager by late January or early February.

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