Being Thankful in a Time of Change

Being Thankful in a Time of Change

SBP61239By Village Manager Phil Kiraly

In looking back on 2019, I can say without a doubt that the Village organization has seen more change in the last 365 days than it has since I began as your Village Manager in 2013. It’s been a year of multiple high visibility local issues such as beginning the review process for the largest new subdivision in Glencoe in a generation, as well as the impact of State laws that required a significant public review and dialogue about the potential sale of recreational cannabis in Glencoe. We have seen two new members to our Board of Trustees and multiple new chairs and members on our many committees and commissions (the Plan Commission alone had 5 new members!). Internally, we have seen a year of significant staff turnover as multiple long-time employees retired while others moved on to other communities to advance in their careers. While short staffed, we spent countless hours implementing a new technology system to streamline our business processes and conducted an immense amount of research into what our regulatory authority is as a non-home rule community, considering what a change in authority might mean for the financial health of the Village organization into the future. Overcoming these changes while maintaining operations, such as the critical life safety services provided by Public Safety or the task of maintaining our parkways, streets, sidewalks and water plant as provided by Public Works, has been no small feat. But as these changes and challenges were met by the organization, I have seen more growth, innovation and comradery from the Glencoe staff team this year than I ever thought would be possible, and for this I am grateful (check out some photos of the team from throughout the year below). Thank you to Village staff, to our elected officials and to our many volunteers for your resilience and service. And thank you to all the family members of our employees who, like my family photographed above, put up with long hours and late nights as we pushed through the year.

Of course, even throughout this change, many of the things that make Glencoe great continue to hold steadfast. Foremost among those in my mind is our community’s love of living in Glencoe. This was illustrated perfectly through the collective body of events and activities the community inspired to celebrate the Village’s Sesquicentennial, and again through the preliminary results of the 2019 Community Survey, which I look forward to sharing with you in the coming weeks. The love continued with another wonderful year for our business districts which welcomed seven new businesses, and for the downtown district specifically which maintained almost 100% first-floor occupancy. I hope you join me in shopping local this holiday season at Light the Lights on November 29 and during Small Business Saturday on November 30.

Similarly, our community’s commitment to bettering Glencoe and beyond was unwavering again this year as evidenced by the work of our many community organizations—from the Friends of the Green Bay Trail, to the Glencoe Historical Society, to the Women’s Library Club, to Family Service of Glencoe just to name a few. Each year I am grateful for the work of these organizations, as they go above and beyond to serve our community.

In the spirit of expressing gratitude and giving back, I hope you will consider participating in the Glencoe Community Holiday Drive and the Toys for Tots collections going on at Village Hall now through mid-December. For those of you unfamiliar with the Glencoe Community Holiday Drive, since 1990 this small group of volunteers have been collecting care packages, unwrapped toys, non-perishable foods, paper goods and monetary donations for area families, low-income seniors and adults with disabilities, especially those here in New Trier Township.

Whether you express your thankfulness this year through giving back or by simply taking time to be with friends and family, from the Village family to yours—Happy Thanksgiving! I continue to be grateful to serve in Our Town Glencoe!