GENOA – Art Osten is no stranger to running a town, bringing to Genoa more than 30 years of experience in villages across Illinois and Wisconsin.
Osten, hired as Genoa’s part-time city administrator in May, has been meeting with elected officials, department heads and business leaders in Genoa since he was selected for the job. He said his plan is to create a prioritized list of goals and familiarize himself with the city.
“They needed an experienced manager and I was looking for steady part-time work,” Osten said. “Plus, I enjoy small towns and the opportunity to build on their accomplishments.”
Osten’s credentials include two master’s degrees in Public Policy & Administration and Urban & Regional Planning from the University of Wisconsin and 14 years as village administrator of Fox River Grove, where he lives with his wife, Mary. Osten said he has been retired for six years, but his vast experience has made him a “jack of all trades.”
Osten is at least the third administrator from McHenry County that the Genoa City Council has hired to work in a part-time capacity. Joe Misurelli joined Genoa shortly after he retired as the longtime city manager in Crystal Lake in 2002, working for 15 years in Genoa as an economic development coordinator and later administrative consultant.
After Misurelli’s death in December 2017 at age 65, Bill Ganek, administrative and economic development consultant, was appointed as interim city administrator Jan. 17 of last year. Ganek was a longtime village administrator in Algonquin, and held the position in Genoa until Osten took the reins in May.
Osten has been working part-time since leaving Fox River Grove in 2012. Unlike Crystal Lake and Algonquin, Fox River Grove is more comparable to Genoa in size and population, and has faced similar challenges with issues such as downtown redevelopment.
Osten said he is familiar with many challenges facing local government today, including economic development, budgeting, personal management and infrastructure, he said.
“It exposed me to a variety of different projects every day,” Osten said. “Each job prepared me for the next.”
Osten said he plans to present a list of goals for the city as it moves forward to the council at a future meeting. Before he does, however, he said he wants to continue meeting with residents to understand what their goals are.
Residents and business owners are encouraged to drop in while he familiarizes himself with Genoa’s programs and procedures. Osten will be at City Hall, 333 E. First St., most Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.
“Part of my job is to integrate their perspectives into the issues and opportunities we face,” Osten said. “It’s a an exciting opportunity.”