Sept. 11, 2023 - Donna M. Gayden, an experienced municipal manager and seasoned financial professional, has been named interim Chief Financial Officer for the Village of Oak Park, Village Manager Kevin J. Jackson announced. She began her duties on Sept. 7.
The primary function of Gayden’s temporary role with the Village will be to manage the fiscal 2024 budget process that is underway and will continue over the next several months.
Since 2020, Gayden served as City Manager and Treasurer for Long Beach, N.Y. She was recruited to the city as it faced extreme financial distress and was tasked with restructuring the community’s debt burden and improving its credit rating. In addition to day-to-day and long-term financial management, Gayden acted as Long Beach’s Chief Executive Officer with oversight of departments including the comptroller’s office, economic development, public relations, police and fire, sanitation and many more.
Prior to three years of service in New York, Gayden held interim finance director roles in Illinois for the City of Country Club Hills (2019-20) and Bradley (2018-19). She handled day-to-day accounting and budgeting activities for each of those municipalities during her stints.
In addition to being a well-versed financial expert, Gayden owns an extensive background as a City/Village Manager and Administrator. She served in that capacity in Fairburn, Ga. (2017-18), Hazel Crest, Ill. (2015-17) and Glenwood, Ill. (2010-15). With budgets ranging from $16-$35 million, Gayden was responsible for day-to-day management and operations for those municipal governments.
From 2006-10, Gayden served as Controller for the Community & Economic Development Association (CEDA) of Cook County. She was responsible for the association’s operating budget in excess of $225 million and all areas of financial planning and accounting administration.
As a member of the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA), Gayden serves as a Budget Reviewer, as well as a member of the Community on Economic Development and Capital Planning Committee. She is also a member of the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and Women of Public Finance. Gayden is a past Board member for the National Forum of Black Public Administrators and a past member of the Illinois City Managers Association.
Gayden earned a master’s in tax law from John Marshall Law School (now UIC Law) and a master’s in accounting from Governors State University. She also holds a bachelor’s in communications from Columbia College. She also holds numerous certifications and has frequently served as a keynote speaker and published author.
The Village will be utilizing additional financial consulting services to support the transition with a primary focus on financial policy and long-term planning, including support for Oak Park’s economic development and public facilities planning initiatives.
The Village of Oak Park’s CFO role is vacant upon the departure of Steve Drazner. Drazner served Oak Park in that capacity since June 2016.