Buffalo Grove trustees question need for 'community engagement manager'

A pair of Buffalo Grove village trustees are questioning whether the town needs to hire a "community engagement manager," as called for in the budget they're scheduled to vote on early next month.

The proposed $1.6 million budget for the village manager's office includes funding to fill the new post, which would cost the village about $100,000 annually, including benefits.

Deputy Village Manager Jennifer Maltas said that person hired would coordinate a video strategy and reach out to community groups that need more attention. The community engagement manager also would seek to boost volunteerism and the diversity of the village's volunteer base.

The position was created based on the goals of the village's strategic plan and the results of a citizen survey, Maltas said.

However, two village trustees are skeptical about the need.

"Can you explain to me why community outreach doesn't fall within your own purview, as well as (Village Manager) Dane (Bragg) and to some extent (Community Development Director) Chris (Stilling)?" Trustee Jeffrey Berman asked Maltas.

"We do some of that in our current roles right now," Maltas replied. "But in order to actually get out more in the community and do that, we just don't have the capacity and time within our current organization right now to do that."

Trustee Lester Ottenheimer III asked whether the new position is "a need or a want."

"Relationship building takes a lot of time and energy and management," Maltas said. "In order to have someone coordinating that, we just don't have the capacity to do that. If that's not something that the board wants to continue to pursue, that's not necessarily a need in the same way as public safety services are."

"And there is nobody else that could pick up that job?" Ottenheimer asked.

"Not based on our current workloads," Maltas answered.

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