ST. CHARLES – City Administrator Brian Townsend said his public goodbye Wednesday during a farewell reception in the St. Charles City Council Chambers.
City staff, elected officials and community members attended the three-hour event.
“We’ve been proud to have him for eight years,” Mayor Ray Rogina said. “A proud city says, ‘thank you, son.’ ”
Townsend is resigning this month for a position with the Village of Schaumburg, where he worked before coming to St. Charles.
“When I came to St. Charles in 2005, I said I was leaving a special community in Schaumburg, and it would take something special to pull me away,” Townsend said. “I have not at all been disappointed with my experience in St. Charles.”
He credited his staff for the contributions, noting their effort made his job easier.
“It’s really been a pleasure to work with all of you,” he said to the community members and staff gathered for his farewell.
Rogina predicted that Townsend’s success won’t end with Schaumburg.
“I think he’s destined for bigger things than that,” Rogina said.
He and other city leaders – including Fire Chief Joe Schelstreet, Police Chief Jim Lamkin and Public Works Director Mark Koenen – commended Townsend’s leadership during the Great Recession.
While it’s common to plan for future growth, Schelstreet said, the same isn’t true about the opposite.
“There was no book how to effectively shrink the organization to meet the economic pressures,” Schelstreet said.
Despite a reduced workforce, Lamkin said, the city continued to provide many services, which got positive feedback.
“I’m proud to have walked through that with you,” Lamkin said.
Lynne Schwartz, executive director of the Downtown St. Charles Partnership, thanked Townsend for all he did for the organization, which in recent years went through a reorganization and moved its headquarters to City Hall.
“It’s really easy to see why everybody admires you,” she said.
Koenen, who will take over as city administrator effective Aug. 31, said Townsend’s tenure with the city can be nicely summarized by this quote by Gen. Douglas McArthur, “A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions and the compassion to listen to the needs of others.”