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NIU grad named DeKalb city manager

December 10, 2013
Anne Marie Guara

Anne Marie Guara

The DeKalb City Council unanimously approved the selection of NIU graduate Anne Marie Gaura as its next city manager during its Dec. 9 council meeting. She will begin serving in this capacity Jan. 21, 2014.

Gaura, who has a Master of Public Administration (MPA) and a bachelor’s degree in communication – both from NIU – told council members after Monday’s vote, “This is a dream come true for me.”

Gaura currently serves as the interim director of Engineering and Public Works for the Village of Schaumburg, where she manages all aspects of departmental operations.

Her previous city management experience includes serving as the village manager of Montgomery for 12 years and assistant village manager and other assistant positions for Lombard for nine years. She began her city management career interning for the Village of Elk Grove Village.

As the Montgomery village manager, Gaura managed capital projects, such as the design and construction of the Police Department, Village Hall and water infrastructure improvements including a water treatment plant, water towers, wells and lift stations. She coordinated the attraction and development of two major retail corridors in Montgomery that included national retailers.

Her background also includes industrial retention and expansion as well as downtown redevelopment. Gaura was able to secure Montgomery as the location for the first special census of the new millennium as well as three subsequent censuses, which resulted in $6.7 million in revenue to the village over the course of the decade.

Gaura has extensive intergovernmental experience which includes working with 24 different Montgomery taxing districts, including five school districts, two park districts and two of the fastest growing counties in the state. She coordinated two school sites, municipal land donations for a fire station and a library as well as the preservation of a historic farmstead. Gaura also led the effort to establish the Metro West Council of Government that currently represents over 30 municipalities serving a population of more than 750,000 in Kane, Kendall and DeKalb Counties. Metro West addresses regional issues including managing growth, transportation, water conservation and promoting sustainable economic development.

City of DeKalb mural at First Street and Lincoln HighwayIn addition to dealing with community issues, Gaura also addressed organizational needs by focusing on succession planning and employee development. She created the Leadership Team to strengthen the supervisory core and the Emerging Leaders Program to begin training and mentoring future supervisors. These teams are direct examples of her team-oriented, mentoring management style and her commitment to employee development.

During her tenure, Montgomery was recognized as a leader in innovative naturalized storm water management practices. The Village also received recognition regarding its financial audit and budget, transit oriented development planning, farmstead preservation and building design.

Gaura currently serves on the NIU MPA Board of Advisors and is the President of the Legacy Project, an organization that aims to help women in public service by enhancing career-building models. Gaura has previously served on the Boards of Directors for Metro West, the Montgomery Economic Development Corporation, the Municipal Insurance Cooperative Agency and Metro Managers.

In 2011, Gaura was recognized by Metro West for her six years of service as Board Secretary and as a founding member.  She was also inducted as an honorary member of Pi Alpha Alpha, the honorary society for excellent students in public affairs education.  In 2006, Ms. Gaura was named as Model Administrator by the Chicago Area Chapter of the American Society of Public Administrators.

Gaura grew up in southwest suburban Oak Lawn but has family ties to DeKalb. Since her graduate school days, she has maintained contact with DeKalb through her family, friends and sports. Specifically, she has enjoyed playing in the DeKalb Park District softball leagues.

“I am humbled by the confidence the mayor and city council have in my abilities and am extremely excited about the opportunity to serve the residents and businesses of DeKalb,” Gaura said. “Serving as DeKalb’s city manager has been a dream of mine and I looking forward to addressing the challenges and opportunities outlined by the mayor and the council.”

DeKalb’s mayor and city council members are excited to have Gaura lead the city staff in sustainable design of growth in DeKalb. Rudy Espiritu will return to the position of assistant city manager as a key member of the management team.

“I look forward to Anne Marie’s collaborative management style with direct interaction with citizens, staff and council members,” Mayor John Rey said.