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La Margo named new Orland Park village manager

Orland Park has a new village manager, following the appointment of Joe La Margo to the position at the Sept. 5 Village Board meeting.

His contract, with an annual salary of $165,000, runs through Sept. 4, 2020.

The search for a new village manager began when Paul Grimes left, 2016 to take a similar position in McKinney, Texas. And La Margo is not exactly new to the position. He has been serving as interim village manager since April, when he was named to that role after Police Chief Tim McCarthy resigned from the interim post. Prior to that, he had been assistant village manager since 2015.

While he was assistant village manager, he was involved in the successful efforts to open the University of Chicago Medical Center, Mariano’s, the village’s parking complex and other village projects.

LaMargo, 47, joined the Orland Park staff more than 12 years ago when he was appointed deputy village clerk under the late Village Clerk David Maher. During his tenure as deputy clerk, La Margo spearheaded the village’s application process for the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ City Livability Award, resulting in Orland Park winning the first of four national awards.

He also created the online Citizens’ Information Center, leading to Orland Park becoming the first government agency in Illinois to earn a 100 percent transparency rating from the Illinois Policy Institute. It was during his time as deputy clerk that La Margo facilitated and oversaw Orland Park’s first village-wide citizens’ and business surveys to measure and evaluate the community’s quality of life and village services.

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           La Margo

In 2012, La Margo was named public information officer adding to his deputy clerk responsibilities. He was the village’s primary spokesperson and oversaw the Public Information Department, and remained in that position after being named assistant village manager in 2015. As assistant village manager, he was the direct supervisor of eight village department heads.

He was president of Orland School District 135 School Board before stepping down when he was named assistant village manager.

LaMargo was approved by a 6-1 margin by the Village Board, with the support of all the trustees. The only dissenting vote was cast by Mayor Keith Pekau, who did not comment on the decision.

“I am grateful to the trustees for their unanimous vote, and the trust and confidence that they have extended to me. I am looking forward to continuing to work with the trustees and the mayor to build Orland Park and ensure that it remains the great community that it is,” said La Margo on Monday.

Trustee Carole Griffin Ruzich said at the meeting that La Margo proved himself to be worthy of the position during the five months he served as interim village manager.

Karie Friling, who was named interim village manager in April, will remain in that position. She also heads the Development Services department.

          LaMargo said the biggest challenge facing the village is “the Amazon effect,” referring to online shopping having a detrimental effect on brick-and-mortar stores. Orland Square Mall generates a lot of the tax revenue for the village, and La Margo said the village is already taking steps to protect against losses in that area.

          “We’re working on that already by trying to diversify to bring more entertainment and restaurants to Orland Park,” he said.

          “We want Orland Park to continue to be a destination location for people from throughout the Chicago area, a place where they can come to shop, eat and have fun,” said La Margo, who has lived in the village for about 20 years. He and his wife, Melissa, have four children.

A graduate of Marist High School originally from Alsip, La Margo holds a master’s degree in organizational leadership and public policy from Lewis University and a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in economics from Loyola University.

He began his government career as a budget analyst for the Cook County Bureau of Finance Department of Budget and Management Services. He then served as deputy director of the Cook County Clerk’s Department of Tax and Real Estate before leaving in 1999 to join the Secretary of State’s office, where he was chief deputy director for the Illinois Secretary of State Department of Accounting Review. He also was deputy internal auditor for the Secretary of State’s Department of Internal Audit.

La Margo is a founding member of the South Suburban Anti-Bullying Coalition and served with the Illinois Secretary of State Audit Advisory Group.

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