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Pena announces retirement as Channahon administrator

Published: Thursday, March 20, 2014 8:59 p.m. CDT
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(Photo provided)
Village Administrator Joe Pena

CHANNAHON – Village Administrator Joe Pena announced this week his intent to retire next month, saying it was time for him to spend some quality time with his family.

His letter of intent was approved by the Channahon Village Board Monday. His retirement is effective April 30.

Pena was hired as Channahon’s police chief seven years ago, after the board and staff became acquainted with him through an assessment of the department Pena conducted through the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police.

“I became enamored with both the department and with Channahon,” Pena said in an interview Wednesday.

He then withdrew from the assessment process and applied for and received the position of chief. In 2011, Pena became interim village administrator, as well as chief, after Village Administer Jamie Bowden left. In 2012 he became full-time administrator and Jeff Wold was made police chief.

“I have been involved in municipal work now for just over 40 years and feel the time has come to step away and let the younger generation assume control,” Pena wrote in his letter of resignation.

Pena also said the staff at the village and police department is one of the best he has ever worked with.

Trustees are planning a study session for next week to discuss the next step in replacing Pena.

“We want to sit down and do some brainstorming and see what direction we want to go,” Trustee Sam Greco said Thursday.  

One consideration will be whether to seek an interim administrator or go for a permanent position, Greco said. In Channahon, the mayor appoints the village administrator, and Mayor Joe Cook’s term expires April 2015, so an interim administrator is a possibility until it’s known who will be mayor next year.

“I really hate to see Joe go,” Greco added, “because he’s been a friend, and he has been good for the village. I think Joe’s done a tremendous job coming over from police chief and becoming village manager. He’s done that very well. He went above and beyond to do that when we asked him to do it... He saved the village a lot of money, too.”

In other business, the village board also approved two measures designed to prepare the area served by the new Interstate 80/Brisbin Road interchange for future business.

Trustees approved hiring Strand Associates engineering firm as the primary consultant for an infrastructure study on where water wells and water treatment plants may be needed. The study will not exceed $75,000, with the village paying 25 percent, Minooka paying 25 percent, and the remaining half being paid for by a U.S. Department of Commerce grant.

“The potential for growth has been increased by that development,” Pena said after the meeting, “and we want to know how much investment we need to make there.”

The same grant also will pay half of a cluster analysis to be performed by Northern Illinois University’s Center for Governmental Studies. Channahon and Minooka also will work together on this project, paying 25 percent each of the center’s fee of $19,800. In the study, the CGS will identify businesses within cluster areas so that appropriate focus can be placed on business retention and new business recruitment in those areas.

The project will begin immediately, and plans are for the report to be ready by July 31.

The board also authorized a payment of $5,280 to ACE Plumbing and Sewer for service on 28 frozen water lines throughout the village this winter. Most were residences.

“It was a brutal winter, with deep frost lines,” Pena said.

The village board Monday also:• Approved using Illinois Department of Central Management Services to bid 1,800 tons of rock salt for Channahon roads next year. If the price is similar to this year’s price, the purchase would total about $93,600.

• Heard the second of two budget presentations by Finance Director Bob Guess. A public hearing on the budget will be held in April.

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