Heather McGuire stepping in as new St. Charles city administrator
Heather McGuire is ready to hit the ground running as the new city administrator in St. Charles.
Appointed by Mayor Lora Vitek and unanimously approved last month by the city council, McGuire officially begins her job on Monday. She'll replace Mark Koenen, who retired in May after nearly 40 years with the city including the last eight as city administrator.
McGuire spent the last few weeks wrapping up projects as the city administrator in Crest Hill while also researching St. Charles and getting to know her new colleagues. She said next week's calendar is already booked for meetings with staff and key community members.
"The staff in St. Charles is absolutely top notch," McGuire said. "They have been giving me documents to read and details so I can get familiar with the projects that are going on."
With the combination of a psychology degree from DePaul and a law degree from Northern Illinois University, the Joliet West graduate's first job was as a municipal law consultant for Crest Hill. After three years she became Crest Hill's city attorney and quickly shifted into various areas of city operations.
"They've always been an organization that's not been heavily staffed," McGuire said of Crest Hill. "I started filtering into other things outside of the true attorney role: attending development meetings, getting involved in planning and zoning, getting involved in human resources. (Moving into city administration) was a very natural extension of what I was already doing there."
McGuire was named Crest Hill's city administrator in 2016, where she oversaw a $44 million annual budget. After completing projects on a new wastewater treatment plant and new public works building, the city is poised to finish construction on a new city center with a municipal building and police station in November.
McGuire -- who has a contract with St. Charles through the spring of 2025 at a starting annual salary of $212,469.71 -- said one of the reasons for taking the job in St. Charles was the influx of several new aldermen and a new mayor after the April election, indicating a desire for fresh ideas in the city.
While concentrating on basic city functions, she said her primary focus will be on economic development.
"The elected officials, they're the ones that care and want to represent the residents and make sure the city is at its best," McGuire said. "There are smaller things I could reference in terms of being detail-oriented and economic development driven. But ultimately it's everybody's drive to make the city a better place and I really enjoy being part of that."