Adapting to Change: A Testimony to Glencoe's Spirit

Adapting to Change: A Testimony to Glencoe's Spirit

By Village Manager Phil Kiraly

Every day, each of us has a “front row seat” to view our changing world. What has been particularly pk remote workinteresting to me as I’ve occupied my own seat during the past four weeks working from home has been the Glencoe community’s remarkable willingness, and ability, to adapt in the face of unprecedented change.

To start, I admit that I’ve been surprised by my own ability to adapt. One example is that I can now wrangle my active 19-month-old daughter into eating her breakfast while facilitating a virtual Village staff meeting, something I’d never tried before nor expected that I’d have to try. The Governor’s extended Stay at Home Order has put us all in the position of trying things we might never have otherwise considered and pushed us into a very Darwinian sense of adapting to survive.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, my statement’s double meaning is all too clear; some may say that we have no choice but to adapt. That’s a fair point, but I think we do have a choice. We can choose to deal with what has been placed before us or choose to not do so. In Glencoe, the choices I’ve seen being made highlight that eager willingness to adapt. Here are just a few examples of our community’s flexibility:

  • The Village government’s entire operation has adapted. We’ve amended schedules, and administrative staff has shifted to working from home and are now utilizing technology for everything from vehicle sticker purchases to building inspections. Public Safety, Public Works and our Water Plant teams are dealing with PPE, unusual schedules and learning how to do their work while social distancing. The transition hasn’t been seamless, but we are working diligently to continue providing our residents with the same high levels of service provision and customer service as before. Life goes on during a pandemic, and the Village must still be here to provide service; that’s why the Village took extraordinary steps early on in this situation to protect our staff so that we can continue providing these critical services. It’s also why we are even adapting the Village’s public meeting process to virtual means in order to keep the Village functioning as near to normal as possible while also protecting the health and safety of both Glencoe residents and staff alike.  
  • Our Glencoe Park District, Library and school district partners have similarly adapted their operations. The realities placed in front of our partner governments are no different than those placed before the Village, and each have done their level best – and then some – to continue providing their unique services to our community. I talk with my counterparts at least twice weekly, and I am so proud of the work they have done and of our partnerships, which have helped unite our missions of service to the Glencoe community even more.
  • Our business community has also significantly adapted. Adapting to a Stay at Home Order is not likely one of the contingency plans that our businesses planned for –and who would have? Through my many conversations with Glencoe business owners over these past weeks, however, I have been so impressed with their innovative thinking and their entrepreneurial spirits. Some are starting to take phone orders or using video calls for a more personal shopping experience. We’ve also seen restaurants adapt menus to be more accessible for carryout and both home and curbside deliveries. Businesses are also increasingly leveraging the power of social media to build upon loyal customer bases, adapting hours and making sure shelves are stocked with the essentials. Our business community is stepping up, and we need to support them now more than ever. I urge you to shop Glencoe businesses as frequently as you can
  • Last, each of you have also been remarkable in your abilities to adapt. Daily routines have been completely reworked, replaced with things like juggling working from home with e-learning for your kids, taking lots of walks rather than a trip to the gym and enjoying lots and lots (and lots) of family time. Each of you has been asked to adapt to this reality without objection, meaning no pickup games in a park or parties on the beach, no neighborhood gatherings or social interactions, and no opportunities to dine with friends or catch up over a cup of coffee. Access to certain amenities like tennis courts, Writers Theatre and the Chicago Botanic Garden have even been temporarily restricted in the interest of the public health and welfare. I’m proud to say that despite the difficulties of doing so, our community has taken steps to ensure we’re all doing our part in this effort to stay healthy. Let’s keep it up. Our lives and the lives of those we care about depend on it.

As we continue to work hard to maintain social distancing, wear face coverings in public and wait this out, I’m grateful to you for continuing to adapt to daily life in a way that underscores our resolve as a community to keep COVID-19 from changing who we are. Even though forced adaptation isn’t easy nor comfortable (and may be even a little bit frightening), we’ve become closer as a community than ever before. Thanks for supporting the Village and our business community, for #StayingHome to support our first responders of all kinds and finally, for supporting one another as we move through this together.

We are truly #GlencoeStrong.