.

Village Hires Economic Development Director

Tony Lucenko will begin work Sept. 6.

After months of debate and the ., the village has hired its own economic development director.

Tony Lucenko will start work with Oswego Sept. 6. The Plainfield resident’s last municipal economic development position was with the village of Grayslake. He left that post in 2009. He’s also work with the village of Lisle and spent time working in Ukraine.

Lucenko said following his appointment, which passed the Oswego Village Board with a unanimous vote, that he plans to build transparency into the department. He said he plans to commission an economic development strategic plan that will outline clear goals.

“There needs to be accountability with this,” he said. “We’ll be focusing on long- and short-term goals.”

An economic development commission made up of community stakeholders may also be in the works.

“Villages have been saddled with economic development but this is really a community effort,” Lucenko said.

Lucenko also plans to commission studies of the village’s hotel, retail and light industrial sectors to be able to better market Oswego to potential businesses.

The move to bring economic development into Village Hall was made after the board voted in April to suspend the village’s annual contribution to the OEDC. The OEDC closed up shop May 31. The board went on to vote in June to create the village’s own economic development department.

Village staff have projected an annual budget for the department of about $240,000. Trustees Judy Sollinger and Gail Johnson, who was absent from Tuesday’s meeting, had argued economic development couldn’t be done properly for that amount of money.

Lucenko said Tuesday night that the village’s projection seems doable and that figure is comparable to what he was working with in Grayslake.

Village President Brian LeClercq said he’s looking forward to Lucenko getting to work.

“Economic development is something that affects the entire community,” he said. “I think we can all agree on that.”

Tina Conley August 03, 2011 at 11:43 AM
so sick of the word "transparency"
joe smith August 03, 2011 at 02:07 PM
Leclerq and his cronies on the Board have really messed up with this new in house ED function. How is this saving the taxpayers money? Lets hope this new ED director has performance and ROI metrics he has to meet. If he doesn't then we need to send Leclerq and cronies down the road in the next election.
Amanda Mancke August 03, 2011 at 03:10 PM
“Villages have been saddled with economic development but this is really a community effort.” Mr. Lucenko is right. Villages should not take on the entire burden of Econ Dev. This is why municipalities form public/private partnerships. Then the community DOES have meaningful involvement. Bringing the EDC in-house has significantly increased the cost to taxpayers, grown government, and reduced the importance of community involvement. Even if stakeholder groups were to be formed, they would not hold as much sway as the formal OEDC Board, leaving all decisions regarding economic development to ultimately be made unilaterally by the Village Board. I welcome Mr. Lucenko’s experience and ideas to the community and wish him the best in shaping Oswego’s economic future!
Amanda Mancke August 03, 2011 at 03:20 PM
To clarify: Under the previous arrangement, the cost to the Village for the OEDC was $85,000. The future costs to taxpayers are projected to be, as stated above, $240,000.
Tom Pence August 03, 2011 at 03:29 PM
were spending three times as much now, out of our tax dollars, for Economic Development? Was the accountability of OEDC THAT bad? This is "less government"? Where is the "Tea Party" on this one? What village services will be cut in order to pay for this??
Jane Enviere August 03, 2011 at 03:53 PM
I recall reading the figures all hashed out a while ago. It was mentioned many times on Patch alone. Good luck to him!
Amanda Mancke August 03, 2011 at 04:24 PM
Although equally disturbing, my main point was not the money. It was the fact that even though there may be stakeholder commissions, the community has lost tangible and binding influence over economic dev. Now, if these commissions were given more than simply an advisory capacity, and were comprised of independent-minded residents and business owners, I would be more inclined to support this whole concept. If not, the Board will still have final say over all matters pertaining to development, effectively reducing community involvement.
Tina Conley August 03, 2011 at 05:16 PM
I think Mr. Lucenko can take his ED Plan from Grayslake and do a simple "Find and Replace" Grayslake with Oswego and we'll be rolling in development. Oh wait, their business competition went with surrounding communities that utilized tax incentives. Grayslake Economic Development had a strong public/private partnership.Other obstacles to economic development was "the business community perception of the Village’s business project approval process and some of its regulatory requirements is not favorable. While the Village leadership speaks in favor of economicdevelopment, their actions sometimes appear to be not supportive of these statements." Read the Grayslake Economic Development study here: http://www.villageofgrayslake.com/documentview.aspx?did=147
Jane Enviere August 03, 2011 at 06:56 PM
I don't necessarily think the function should have been taken in-house, I think a change in leadership would have been a more prudent approach and then clearly delineate the points of contention between the village and the OEDC. I hope whatever happens, we learn more about it. Because the OEDC website was a disgrace. It never told you anything and if a company utilized that for a starting point, I would have quickly looked elsewhere, too.
Tina Conley August 04, 2011 at 12:03 PM
I don't like the fact that this original "proposal" was made to save the Village money. $85,000 vs $240,000 is not saving the Village money. I think it is an abuse of power and an attempt to intimidate and control. I am tired of the elected officials thinking its residents are stupid and will just accept this type of behavior. Remember this when the race begins for seat for the 49th State Senate District. Mr. Giles says "I will bring the same approach to Springfield I have brought to Oswego," said the two term trustee. "We must live within our means, be fully open and transparent, and fight against the special interests and big money power players who want to control government at all levels and be enriched to the detriment of the taxpayers.”. I agree Jane, we need a change in leadership.
joe smith August 04, 2011 at 01:46 PM
Wow. I agree. The Grayslake SWOT analysis should be read by Leclerq and his cronies immediately. Find and replace "Grayslake" with "Oswego" and it pretty much sums up the problems.
Jeannie LaMarre August 04, 2011 at 02:47 PM
VERY big shoes to fill... Good Luck.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something