Niles village manager resigns, accepts job in Skokie
Niles Village Manager George Van Geem. | Dan Luedert~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 28, 2013 1:57AM
NILES — Niles Village Manager George Van Geem sent an e-mail to village officials Nov. 20, announcing that he has submitted his resignation as village manager.
“It gives Niles a fresh start,” Van Geem told Pioneer Press this week.
Van Geem is headed to Skokie where he will take on the position of finance director for the village. His final day as Niles village manager is Dec. 7. He will begin his new job Dec. 10.
“It’s a terrific opportunity to join a village with a great reputation,” said Van Geem, noting his friendship with Skokie Village Manager Al Rigoni.
Van Geem’s resignation came nearly one year after trustees offered him a buyout to leave his position. Van Geem rejected the offer. At the May Village Board meeting trustees voted 4-2 not to reappoint Van Geem as village manager. Mayor Robert Callero then appointed Van Geem acting village manager and said he would continue to reappoint him to that role as long as he was mayor.
Van Geem has been the village manager of Niles for the past seven years and was the village’s finance director prior to that.
“We’ve accomplished a lot in my 20 years here and I know the village will remain strong and proud long after I’m gone,” Van Geem wrote in his resignation e-mail.
Van Geem said that Niles is financially solid and has a good group of employees working for the village.
Trustee Rosemary Palicki said she was surprised by Van Geem’s resignation.
“Although the board had recommended not rehiring George last spring, I had no indication that he was looking elsewhere,” Palicki said.
She added that a search for a new manager “will give us the opportunity as a board to define the strengths and qualities we envision as beneficial to carry Niles forward.”
Trustee Jim Hynes, one of the trustees who had offered Van Geem a buyout, said he believed the village manager had been looking for a new position “for a long time.”
“It makes sense given the tension that has been there for so long,” Hynes said.
Mayor Callero could not be reached today (Nov. 26).