After 29 years with the village of Schaumburg and 15 as its village manager, Ken Fritz will retire to Minnesota at the end of the summer to spend more time with family.
Fritz said Thursday he and his wife had planned his retirement about this time, with his son now off to college and no children left in the house. But what had been expected to be a longer-term process has moved faster than anticipated.
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He put his Schaumburg home on the market in April, fully expecting it to take several months before a sale. Instead he and his wife received the offer they accepted only six hours after the property was listed.
One of Fritz's adult children already lives in Minnesota, and he also wants to see more of his aging parents.
"It's just time to spend some time with the family," Fritz said.
That was the primary reason Fritz cited in a memo to the village board announcing his retirement.
"While my wife and I have been considering our next move for some time, I have learned that it is easy to delay that decision when there is one more important project to wrap up, one more budget to oversee, or one more complex financial transaction to work through," he wrote. "But, in my desire to enjoy family life to the fullest, I have also learned that institutions can live forever, but we don't."
Mayor Al Larson praised Fritz's role in overseeing village administration during an important period of Schaumburg's history. This included the revitalization of what is now Town Square at the southwest corner of Schaumburg and Roselle roads and construction of the Renaissance Hotel and Schaumburg Convention Center.
"He's been a good steward as far as Schaumburg is concerned," Larson said. "He's certainly very bright and very resourceful."
Though Larson admits that starting a property tax in 2009 was an unpopular -- albeit necessary -- decision, he said it was Fritz's proposal to mitigate the impact by rolling the garbage pickup fee into the property tax as well as doing away with vehicle stickers.
"He took a lot of heat, but he was steadfast and didn't shirk from setting the record straight," Larson said.
Fritz has been involved with local government for 32 years, and first joined Schaumburg as its assistant director of finance in 1984. He became assistant village manager in 1988 and then village manager in 1998.
Though he'd planned to take part in the hiring of a new police chief later this year, Fritz said his successor likely will be the one to oversee the final stages of that process.
The exact date of his retirement is undetermined, allowing Fritz to help with a smooth transition to his successor.
Larson said the board has not yet had any significant discussion about the succession process.
Fritz has been recognized for his role in developing leadership talent among the village's staff. In 2002, he won the International City Managers Association's In Service Training Award for creating the Schaumburg Institute of Professional Development. And in 2010, the same association gave him its Program Excellence Award for Strategic Leadership & Governance.