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updated: 2/24/2012 4:54 PM

Naperville park director gets contract extension

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  • Ray McGury will continue to lead the Naperville Park District through 2015.

      Ray McGury will continue to lead the Naperville Park District through 2015.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer


Ray McGury hasn't finished unpacking since his recent move back to Naperville and he's not looking to move again any time soon.

His new deal with Naperville Park District ensures he won't have to.

The park board voted unanimously Thursday to approve a contract extension with the executive director that provides him with 2 percent raises each year through 2015.

Park board President Mike Reilly called 2011 a "banner year" for the district, citing the Centennial Beach renovations, Nike Sports Complex expansion and the Seager Park Interpretive Center and site improvements that were all led by McGury. Topping it all, he said, was the district receiving national accreditation.

"We've said we couldn't be more pleased with the stability and progress we've achieved under Ray's strong leadership," Reilly said Friday. "It didn't take much to realize Ray was doing good job and it was in the best interest of our residents for Ray to stay and provide that stability for several more years."

McGury, who will earn about $142,000 annually at the end of the deal, recently moved back to town after selling his house in Bolingbrook. He said he and his family appreciate the stability and comfort that comes with knowing they won't be uprooted and moving again.

"Being a public servant is extremely stressful on a family, so sometimes things like a contract allow you to take a deep breath and just go 'OK, I'm where I should be,'" McGury said. "And I really, really enjoy what I'm doing. There's not a doubt in my mind this is where I need to be."

In exchange for the additional job security, the deal provides for 2 percent annual increases rather than the 3 percent promised in his expiring contract.

As part of the deal, he also agrees not to accept a job with the city of Naperville or any park district north of Interstate 80 through 2013.

A former Naperville police officer and Bolingbrook police chief, McGury had been rumored as a possible replacement for retiring Naperville Chief David Dial. But McGury promised earlier this month not to throw his hat in the ring.

"You just can't remove any and all opportunities that an executive employee may pursue outside of the organization, but you can provide some short-term assurances," Reilly said of the stipulations. "With the success the district has had under Ray, it would be easy for other districts to decide he's the guy they need. But we want him to stay in Naperville for a while."

Prior to joining the park district in September 2008, McGury spent more than 20 years with the Naperville Police Department and three years as chief in Bolingbrook.

His hiring at the park district raised eyebrows because of his lack of parks and recreation experience.

Slightly more than three years later, Reilly said McGury continues to silence would-be critics. He's also exceeded the expectations of those who always had faith in him.

"Ray and his accomplishments turning that district around continue to make me proud every day," said Will County Board member Suzanne Hart, who led the board when McGury was hired. "I beam with pride any time someone says 'Hey, you hired Ray. Good job.'"

Dial also expressed his pride in seeing his former officer raise the bar in his new career.

"Ray has a leadership style like no other, so I knew he would succeed back when he told me he was considering the move," Dial said. "And based on what he's done over there (at the park district), it looks like a good move for everyone."

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