When the St. Charles Park District board hired Ray Ochromowicz as executive director two years ago, it was his long history of park experience in Illinois that made him the best candidate. But that's also a big part of why the park board now finds itself seeking a new executive director.
Ochromowicz announced this week that he will retire from the district at the end of the summer. Prior to coming to St. Charles he spent one year as the director of the Park Ridge Park District and 22 years as the director of the Bolingbrook Park District. Add that to his time spent in St. Charles and Ochromowicz had arrived at a financial reality of the state pension system.
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"I will be fully vested in my pension by August and have decided to explore other opportunities," Ochromowicz said in a written statement.
Park Board President Karrsten Goettel said they didn't hire Ochromowicz knowing he would retire in a couple years. But it's also not something the board is shocked about either.
"We knew of his experience in the past," Goettel said. "And we did have a little advanced notice before Tuesday. It was just something that developed. There's a wealth of experience on the park board. There's nothing, probably, that phases the board as far as taking on these kind of tasks. And we do have the luxury of having a little bit of transition time here."
Goettel said the park board will discuss the process for naming Ochromowicz' replacement at its meeting next month. A decision will be made on whether or not to outsource the search for an executive director or keep the process fully in house, he said.
The park board, including several of its current members, have a track record in luring successful directors to the district. Ochromowicz led the district to compete as a finalist for the National Gold Medal Award, the Academy Award of park districts, during his short tenure. Before him, Jim Breen served the district for nearly 20 years and led the district to a successful tax increase referendum during the slow economy. The money funded a new aquatic center.
Ochromowicz' last day will be Aug. 31.