Ghida Neukirch has served as Buffalo Grove's deputy village manager since 1999. She oversees the communications, IT, building & zoning, and economic development departments. Neukirch served as pro tem village manager from June 11 to Sept. 7, when Dane Bragg assumed the role. She sat down with Buffalo Grove Patch to reflect on those three months and share her thoughts on the village's future.
What have the past few months on the job been like for you?
It has been exciting and also a great deal of work. We have a wonderful staff, so the teamwork approach has created a smooth transition during this period.
How do you feel about the direction of the village?
The direction during this interim period is to maintain the direction of the village. This is a great community. The amount of energy and cooperation with staff has been excellent. We definitely have had political challenges and that has made it challenging for our organization, operationally, but we've continued with the vision of our departments.
In your opinion, what is the best aspect of Buffalo Grove?
The overall community. People are very involved. They take an interest in the community. In terms of quality of life, it's an outstanding community.
In what ways can the village continue to improve?
I think we have to constantly be creative with funding, programs and initiatives. Our finances are a very important issue. We're running a planned $200,000 deficit. We're trying to be fiscally responsible in carrying out new services.
What will be the new village manager's biggest challenge?
Finances are definitely number one. We are just starting our budget process, so that will be a challenge. Number two is we definitely need to continue coordinating with our property owners and get property developed and get some of these vacant buildings occupied. I've been in ongoing communication with (new village manager Dane Bragg, who takes the reins Sept. 7), so it will be a smooth transition when he starts.
You've been working a lot of hours, juggling your own position with the interim village manager job. Now that you'll be able to focus on your own job again, what will you do with your free time?
I will likely be talking to my husband which I haven't had much time to do weekday evenings, jogging on the treadmill, or reading something other than local government news. I've always had a strong work ethic, but whenever I do have free time, I enjoy spending it with my family.