South Elgin’s Larry Jones to retire, Steve Super to step up for budget
By Janelle Walker For Sun-Times Media January 8, 2014 4:36PM
South Elgin Village Administrator Larry Jones. | Submitted
Updated: January 13, 2014 12:56PM
SOUTH ELGIN — Steve Super, the village’s director of community development, has taken on another role after being sworn in as deputy village administrator.
The new role will become necessary as Larry Jones, South Elgin village administrator since 2001, prepares to retire this spring.
Super’s swearing in as the deputy administrator does not mean Jones is handing over the village reins to a likely successor, Jones said.
The move will help prepare Super for the village’s budget process and create continuity for whomever takes the position following his retirement, Jones said.
Now age 64, Jones has worked for the village nearly continuously since 1970, when he first took a position as a patrolman in the police department.
He rose through the department ranks, and was chief of the South Elgin Police Department from 1997 to 2000.
He retired from the department in 2001, but was asked by then village President Jim Hansen to return as village administrator.
Then, Jones said, he was unsure if he had the qualification to run the village.
“I felt I didn’t know enough about municipal administration myself. I told Jim Hansen that,” Jones said.
Hansen told him that was fine, as long as any mistakes he made were in favor of village residents, Jones said.
“This was never the job I intended to do,” said Jones.
But South Elgin’s staff, council and residents made it an easy place to remain, he said.
Jones had planned to retire last year, he added. But, when Public Works Director Chuck Behm retired last year, Hansen asked Jones to stay on until a new director was chosen.
Shortly after that, Hansen was diagnosed with cancer.
Hansen passed away from the cancer on Nov. 1. Longtime Trustee Steve Ward was named village board president, replacing Hansen, on Nov. 18.
Now seemed the time to make his announcement, Jones said — as the 2014-15 budget preparations start and before his contract expires on April 30.
Jones requested the board name Super deputy administrator because he knew how hard it could be to come into the budget process late in the game.
When he came in as village manager, an interim person and the village’s auditor had been preparing many of the financials, Jones said.
He and Art Skibley, the current finance director, “were here with a budget that neither of us had played a roll in developing. The budget is our planning, the document that we put our goals and objectives in. You are looking at numbers without an explanation as to why they are there,” Jones said of coming in new to the budgeting process.
Super began working in South Elgin as the community development coordinator — under the public works department — in 1999. He stayed for a year before leaving to earn a master’s degree in public administration, then returned to take over the community development position permanently in 2001.
Super will continue with both positions until a decision is made on Jones’ replacement, both said.
There is much on the horizon for the village, Super said, including the possibility of receiving funding to extend Bowes Road from Route 31 to McLean Boulevard. If successful, that $4 million to $5 million project would open up new areas for industrial development while moving truck traffic off Sundown Road and neighborhoods in the village, Super said.
“I am seeing a lot of evidence on the ground that the economy is starting to heal,” Super said, including a developer looking to finish out a housing development on Raymond Street and inquiries into buildable land on the McLean Boulevard corridor, he said.