Former Alderman, Well-Wishers in Attendance at City Hall for Transition of Duties
New city manager welcomed, as Tom Borchert is showered in accolades.
A new employee is often told he or she has big shoes to fill. In the case of Elmhurst's new city manager, those shoes have been on the job for 40 years.
On Monday, Elmhurst said hello to Jim Grabowski, who will replace retiring City Manager Tom Borchert, and also sent Borchert off with praise and affection.
Grabowski is currently village administrator in Minooka, a town about 43 miles southwest of Elmhurst; he previously was assistant village manager in Wheeling. According to Elmhurst Mayor Pete DiCianni, Grabowski was chosen for his economic development experience. He cited a population surge in Minooka and the growth of a “restaurant row” in Wheeling as evidence of Grabowski's experience.
Terms of Grabowski's employment were not immediately available. Current Assistant City Manager and Fire Chief Michael Kopp will serve as interim city manager until Grabowski begins on July 11.
The meeting ended with accolades for Borchert, who has been with the city since 1971. Former Alderman Jan Vanek was there to praise Borchert, saying she learned a lot from him.
“I have the highest regard for Tom,” Vanek said. “He will get the facts, he is truthful, he is a man beyond reproach.”
Second Ward Alderman Norman Leader also had high praise for Borchert.
“This is a man sure in action and wise in counsel. ... His is a well-trained intelligence,” he said.
Third Ward Alderman Michael Bram lauded Borchert's dedication to customer service, and 7th Ward Alderman Mark Mulliner called him a “great coach.”
“He is probably one of the best politicians who was never elected,” DiCianni said.
Third Ward Alderman Dannee Polomsky, who was elected in April, was told by a few residents while on the campaign trail that it was a shame she would not have more time to work with Borchert.
“You're a legend,” she said.
Borchert has said he hopes to work part-time as a consultant, stay active with his church, Yorkfield Presbyterian, and ultimately move to Grand Rapids, Mich., where his four children and six grandchildren live.
“It has been my fortune to be able to help folks have a better way of life,” he said.