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DeKalb selects acting city manager

DeKALB – Rudy Espiritu, who holds the city’s No. 2 administrator spot, was named acting city manager until DeKalb aldermen find a replacement for Mark Biernacki.

The DeKalb City Council approved Espiritu’s appointment unanimously at its Monday meeting. Until the DeKalb City Council permanently appoints his successor, Espiritu will oversee the administration of the council’s various policies.

With the council’s vote, the city and Espiritu enter an agreement that spells out his role as acting city manager, as well as his compensation and the expectations of both parties. During his appointment, Espiritu’s salary will be increased to an annual salary of $128,339.

“I’ve been here for six years; we went through a lot of tough times, and we were able to put the city in a better position than it was ever before,” Espiritu said about his appointment. “I had a big part in that, so I definitely think I am up to the challenge.”

Espiritu said he plans to apply for the permanent city manager position.

Mayor John Rey and 2nd Ward Alderman Bill Finucane will interview representatives from Voorhees Associates, based in Deerfield, and Slavin Management Consultants, based in Mesa, Ariz. Both executive search firms received favorable reviews from DeKalb aldermen.

The city solicited proposal requests from eight firms total, and the aldermen emailed Rey with their top three choices. Voorhees came up as a preference from six council members, Rey said. The DeKalb Sanitary District used the firm previously.

“They’ve learned the needs of the sanitary district, and they delivered,” said Rey, reading a recommendation from Dennis Collins, the president of the district’s board of trustees. “His assessment was that you can’t go wrong with Voorhees as a choice. “

Voorhees Associates outlined a 12-week process for interviewing and selecting a candidate at a price of at least $16,000. Slavin Management also touted a 12-week process at a cost of at least $15,000.

Rey said the city would pursue a professional services agreement with the company they like.

Biernacki said he will not have a role in choosing his replacement, stating it is entirely the City Council’s purview. He was commended at Monday’s meeting for his service to the city with a resolution listing his accomplishments. Rey also read a letter from former Mayor Kris Povlsen, who praised Biernacki for his nine years as city manager.

Nineteen of Biernacki’s 33 years in local government were spent in the city. He previously served as a community development director for 10 years before being selected as city manager in 2004.

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