The Village of Oak Park | 123 Madison St.  Oak Park, IL 60302 |

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Board names new Village Manager

After a national search that attracted 41 applicants, the Village Board in January unanimously approved the selection of Cara Pavlicek to oversee the day-to-day administration of municipal services and programs as Oak Park’s Village Manager. Pavlicek had served in an interim capacity since March 1, 2012 following the resignation of Tom Barwin, who held the post for nearly five years.

Actually, Pavlicek has been with the Village since June 2008 when she was brought in to lead the Parking & Mobility Services Department, which manages a complex system of meters, surface lots, garages and thousands of permits and vehicle stickers.

Officials cited her extensive municipal management experience coupled with hands-on knowledge of Oak Park’s many programs and services as being key to making her the perfect candidate to fill the top executive role. Her role in developing the 2013 budget was especially illuminating of her skills, they said.

Prior to coming to Oak Park, Pavlicek served nearly three years as the village manager of Downers Grove. She came to Illinois from Las Vista, Nebraska, where she served eight years as the city administrator following two years as an assistant. She began her municipal government career as an administrative analyst and administrative assistant to the city manager of Des Moines, Iowa.

Pavlicek holds a Master of Arts degree in public affairs from the University of Iowa and a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from the University of Washington. She also is credentialed by the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), an organization that develops and advances professional local government management.

Oak Park has operated under the village manager form of government since 1953. Under this form of government, a board of elected officials sets policies and hires a professional manager to oversee the day-to-day administration of government services and programs.

Only one other woman has served as Oak Park’s village manager, but that was in an interim capacity and for only two-months in 1986. Pavlicek is Oak Park’s 10th village manager.

Oak Park Village Managers
  • Mark Keane: 1953–1962
  • Harris Stevens: 1962–1971
  • Lee Ellis: 1971–1976
  • Jack Gruber: 1976–1980
  • Ralph DeSantis: 1980–1985
  • J. Neil Nielsen: 1986–1992
  • Allen Parker: 1992–1995
  • Carl Swenson: 1996–2006
  • Tom Barwin: 2006–2011