Filling Dalicandro’s ‘big shoes’
After 23 years as Elmwood Park's village manager, John "Jay" Dalicandro is retiring in June. | David Pollard~Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 27, 2012 8:10AM
When it comes to village managers, insiders say, you couldn’t find someone more grounded in the community he served than John “Jay” Dalicandro.
After 23 years on the job Dalicandro is retiring from his position as Elmwood Park village manager in June.
The Village Board is contracting with the West Central Municipal Conference in conducting the search for his replacement. All applications are due by May 4.
Dalicandro’s roots run deep in Elmwood Park placing a temporary shadow on whomever will take over.
“I’ve known Jay for 23 years,” said Elmwood Park Fire Chief Mike Marino. “He had nothing but the best interest of the town.”
“In my opinion he’s the best boss I ever had and I’m sad to see him go,” he said.
Marino said the top quality of a new village manager should be good managerial skills.
“There are going to be some big shoes to fill,” Marino said.
Village President Peter Silvestri said the village manager’s qualities will be varied.
“A good village manager has to have a good rapport with elected officials, the community and interact well with department heads,” he said. “It’s a hard combination.”
“A new guy brings in more opportunity,” he said. “I look forward to a new person with new ideas.”
Silvestri said the village is financially stable and they’ve made important infrastructure improvements.
“The village manager is a key player in that,” he said.
Silvestri said Dalicandro’s unusually long tenure as village manager says a lot. “His longevity proves his success,” he said.
“His affinity for the community is a very positive thing. It would be hard to replicate,” Silvestri said.
John Zivojnovic, president of Elmwood Park Chamber of Commerce, said he’d like to see a manager hired who is just as supportive to the chamber as Dalicandro.
“We’re really happy with the way things are,” he said. “We had a great relationship and we’d like to keep it that way.”
“He was very supportive of the local business community,” he said. “That is something we like. We hope whoever comes in will foster that same relationship.”
Trustee Angela Stranges, celebrates her one-year anniversary on the board this month and already knows Dalicandro will be a tough act to follow. “He’s a local guy and pretty well respected in his field,” she said.
She said a new manager should be a strong leader.
“They should have good communication skills and the ability to work well with our department heads,” she said. “You definitely want experience and someone who has worked with budgets, someone who knows how to stay lean.”
“They’ll have to be a take-charge guy,” she said.
Trustee Alan Kaminski has been on the village 21 years and has followed most of Dalicandro’s legacy.
“He has the right mix,” he said. “He grew up in the community. It wasn’t like he was a stranger to the community. There were a lot of positives he brought to the community.”
But Kaminski is looking for a person with a strong background in municipal finance.
“I’m very curious to see what kind of responses we get from the request for proposal,” he said.
“In a sense we’ve been very lucky we’ve had consistency in management for all these years and we may have gotten spoiled because we’ve had a competent manager,” Kaminski said.
“Anyone who steps in his shoes will be measured at a very high standard.”