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New village administrator has come a long way since internship

LEMONT – After years working as the assistant village administrator, George Schafer will take the reigns as village administrator July 1.

He has spent most of his career with the village, starting as an intern in 2005.

Having worked closely with outgoing Village Administrator Ben Wehmeier, Schafer said he feels familiar with the village and its projects and is in a good position to implement the village’s strategic plan.

Reporter Dan Farnham recently spoke with Schafer to discuss the promotion.

Farnham: What was your first reaction when you learned you would be the new village administrator?

Schafer: I was very excited for the opportunity. I’ve feel like I’ve grown up here.

Farnham: What are some issues you’d like to address in your new position?

Schafer: The backdrop has been set the past few years when we updated our strategic plan. The two most important are going to be the financial stability ... and economic development.

Farnham: How has your job as assistant village administrator prepared you for your new job?

Schafer: Every big decision, every project, I’m in the room with Ben. He’s given me a lot to run with over the past several years. It’s going to be difficult to replace him, but I think I’m going to be ready to do it.

Farnham: What about Lemont attracted you to work here?

Schafer: It’s a very unique community ... It’s a perfect balance to have all the recreation opportunities, but it’s still close to Chicago.

Farnham: What do you think is the biggest responsibility of being the village administrator?

Schafer: My biggest responsibility is going to be to make sure that our finances are in order, especially with Springfield being uncertain and threatening to take funding away from municipalities.

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