After 45 years in municipal management, more than two decades of that in Arlington Heights, retiring Village Manager Bill Dixon attended his last board meeting Monday night.
"This is a very bittersweet evening for us here in Arlington Heights," Mayor Tom Hayes said.
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Dixon's last day on the job is Friday, June 27, which Hayes proclaimed Bill Dixon Day in Arlington Heights.
Dixon was recognized Monday night by Hayes, the board of trustees and leaders of municipal manager groups.
"Bill has modeled the behavior that is so important for anyone holding a position in the public trust," said Mike Cassady, Bensenville's village manager and a member of the board of directors of the Illinois City/County Management Association. "He has been a coach, mentor and friend to many of us of over the years and he will be greatly missed."
Several speakers noted Dixon's high ethical standards during his years of leadership.
"Bill has left historical footprints that will be felt for generations to come," said David Limardi, Midwest regional director of the International City/County Management Association. "He did it by leading professionally and touching people personally."
A lifelong Cardinals fan, Dixon received tickets to an upcoming game versus the Cubs from the board. Hayes jokingly threw in a Cubs hat that he insisted Dixon wear to the game.
Trustees also shared stories of their time working with Dixon over the years.
John Scaletta said when he was first elected, Dixon gave him a tour of Arlington Heights, showing him important history and parts of the town that he didn't know. Thomas Glasgow said he has had a standing weekly meeting with Dixon to go over issues facing the village.
Dixon said he was moved by the kind words of his colleagues and that he is planning to keep living in Arlington Heights after his retirement.
"It's hard to sum up 21 years in this wonderful community. This is an outstanding community. I feel very privileged to have been manager all these years," Dixon said. "It has taken a lot of hard work by everybody in support, but it starts with the citizens. They get involved, they care about this community, they volunteer, they run for office or they serve on a board or commission. People here want good government, they expect it, and that's what we've worked hard to provide."
The search to replace Dixon is ongoing, and Hayes said he hopes to have a replacement hired by Labor Day. The job posting will be open until June 30 and lists a starting annual salary range of $175,000 to $185,000.
In the meantime, the village board on Monday appointed Assistant Village Manager Diana Mikula as interim village manager, effective Saturday, June 28.
Honors: Dixon to remain in Arlington Heights