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DeKalb chooses Gaura as next city manager

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013 12:56 p.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013 10:38 a.m. CDT
Anne Marie Gaura

DeKALB — Anne Marie Gaura led Montgomery through it's largest period of growth.

As its population grew from about 5,500 in 2000 to more than 18,000 in 2010, she helped the village near Aurora build a new police station and village hall and saw retail growth with a Walmart Supercenter, Menard's and JCPenney.

Now, DeKalb leaders think she's the best candidate to be the next city manager.

DeKalb Mayor John Rey announced the selection in a news release Monday. Gaura, presently Schaumburg's interim director of engineering and public works, will start Jan. 21. Interim City Manager Rudy Espiritu will return to his former position of assistant city manager.

"It became apparent to the council that Anne Marie is a seasoned professional," Rey said. "She has strong city management experience and a very collaborative style."

Rey said Gaura's contract will run from Jan. 21 through Dec. 31, 2017. He said her base salary will be $155,000, with a $4,800 car allowance and $14,285 for insurance, bringing the total compensation package to $174,084.

The City Council will vote on her appointment at its meeting Monday. The search began in June when former City Manager Mark Biernacki retired after nine years in the position. The top five candidates were interviewed Nov. 1.

According to her LinkedIn profile, Gaura interned with Growth Dimensions in Boone County and in Elk Grove Village. After graduation, she worked in Lombard, in Montgomery from 2000 to 2012, and, most recently, in interim positions in Buffalo Grove and Schaumburg.

No stranger to DeKalb, Gaura earned a bachelor's degree in communication and a master's degree in public administration from Northern Illinois University.

"She will build relationships quickly, particularly with the university," said Stan Bond, a Montgomery village trustee.

Although Bond admits being a vocal critic of her salary in Montgomery, he described Gaura as a hard worker and very professional. When she resigned as the village's manager in April 2012, her salary was $147,940. Her separation agreement provided her with 10 months' pay as severance. Her contract was set to expire in May 2013.

Montgomery Village Administrator Jeff Zoephel said Gaura put her experience to good use in Montgomery.

"She made sure we had the staffing, infrastructure and equipment to meet the demands of all the new residents and took staff to a new level professionally, at the same time," Zoephel said.

When reached Wednesday at her Schaumburg office, Gaura said she was very excited.

Her first priorities are to get to know the city staff and facilities which will help her understand the issues and challenges identified by the mayor and City Council. From there, she said she plans to identify and set up meetings with key business and university leaders.

"I'll be reaching out," Gaura said, "meeting people, listening, hearing concerns and issues to provide a foundation for what I need to focus on."

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