The Village of Northfield is staying close to home with its new village manager with the hiring of Patrick Brennan.

Brennan, currently Kenilworth’s village manager, has been named the new top administrator in Northfield.

“Patrick Brennan is a proven leader with a strong record as a visionary village manager,” the Northfield Village Board said in a joint statement. “He has outstanding communication skills and a reputation for excellence in managing people, projects and progress. We are excited to introduce Patrick to the Northfield community and village staff and businesses. Sometimes you find the ideal person right next door.”

Brennan’s hiring was set to be formally approved at Northfield’s March 19 Village Board meeting, according to the village. He is scheduled to start his new role on April 29.

“Northfield has a well-established reputation for professionalism and community engagement,” Brennan said in the statement. “I look forward to working closely with the Village Board and residents to achieve their vision for the village.”

Brennan will receive a total annual compensation package of $255,000, according to Village Board Trustee Tracey Mendrek. She added he was selected from a group of about 30 candidates and three finalists.

Brennan has been Kenilworth’s village manager since 2012. Prior to that, he worked in Highland Park in several roles starting in 2001.

Brennan’s hiring follows the contentious departure of previous village manager Stacey Sigman amid clashes with the Village Board.

“I was cautious before I applied,” Brennan said. “I didn’t want to jump into a politically messy situation. However after I did some research and talked with the village staff and their board, my concerns were alleviated.”

Tim Frenzer, Wilmette’s longtime village manager, was then hired in Northfield on a contractual basis.

Frenzer said he will now return to retirement.

Wilmette Village Manager Michael Braiman praised the work of Brennan.

“Patrick is a great partner for us,” Braiman said. “There is always an openness to working together from an intergovernmental standpoint to improve services in our respective communities. I look forward to working with Patrick on current projects such as the Skokie Valley Trail bicycle path and a shared fire training officer that we are in the process of hiring.”

Brennan spoke of some of the issues he believes are awaiting him when he gets to Northfield.

“I’m coming into a new situation in a community where I have not worked before,” he said. “One of the high priorities set by the board and identified by staff is examining the current staffing levels.”

There are 125 village employees currently in Northfield, according to Mendrek.

Meanwhile in Kenilworth, that community is now searching for a new village manager.

Village President Cecily Kaz praised Brennan’s efforts and spoke of the immediate future in a March 15 village e-newsletter.

“With an excellent team in place at village hall and public works, residents should not experience any lapse in village services during the transition, and the Village Board remains committed to bringing exciting new amenities to the community,” Kaz wrote.

Kaz added in an email the village board has authorized an agreement with a local government personnel search firm.

 Daniel I. Dorfman is a freelance reporter with Pioneer Press.

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