After nearly 23 years working with the village of Huntley and the past 12 as its village manager, David Johnson is leaving to become the chief operating officer at Aurora University.
Johnson is set to start his new job on Tuesday and his resignation will be accepted by the Huntley Village Board at Thursday's 7 p.m. virtual Village Board meeting. Lisa Armour, currently assistant village manager, will be promoted to interim village manager.
Johnson filed his letter of resignation on March 6 and sent a letter to village employees about the resignation on March 9.
"I have been unbelievably blessed to be part of the growth of this amazing community," Johnson said. "I can’t express how rewarding it has been."
After working in Cary and Crystal Lake, Johnson's first day on the Huntley community development director was July 5, 1998, when the groundbreaking was held for Sun City.
In his time in the village, the population has grown from about 3,000 to about 28,000.
"For a community that went through the explosive growth that we went through, I never felt from the longtime residents that there was anger and upset about that," Johnson said. "It’s something that I admire. You can't say that about everywhere."
His largest memories of the community will be its growth, the $200 million hospital project from Centegra that's now owned by Northwestern Medicine, the Route 47 interchange and now the rebirth of Huntley's downtown.
"Most recently for me, it's the transformation of the downtown to a place where the community gathers, has a sense of place and being," Johnson said. "It’s been an incredibly rewarding time here."
Huntley School District 158 Superintendent Scott Rowe said that he has worked closely with Johnson, especially since Rowe was promoted to district superintendent. They met regularly at local restaurants – supporting the local business owners – on topics that impacted both entities from tax abatements for potential businesses to serving the community. Rowe said he would always see Johnson at the Tuesday night community concerts in downtown.
"I think his mark on our community is definitely one of economic development and creating a family-friendly atmosphere, making Huntley an attractive place to live," Rowe said.
Johnson's children have grown up in Huntley and he has worked with the village for most of that time, outside of a stint in Channahon in 2004. On Aug. 14, 2008, Johnson became village manager after the death of former village manager Carl Tomaso.
"It’s been a heck of a run," Johnson said.
He said that the collaboration between Huntley's public entities and neighboring communities has helped make the job rewarding.
Rowe has been part of the Huntley Area Administrative Round Table that includes everyone from the library director to the Huntley Police Chief.
"It starts with the people that I met while doing this job," Johnson said. "I have been so fortunate throughout the community and with the work we have done with the other agencies. I think we have built a strong partnership that continues to benefit the community."
Armour is set to take over the interim role, she said, going forward.
"I appreciate the Mayor and Board’s confidence in appointing me to serve as Interim Village Manager and am honored to serve in this role," she wrote "I have had the privilege to work with Dave the past 14 years and have the utmost respect for his leadership. I look forward to working with the Mayor and Board and our dedicated employees as we make our way through these unprecedented times.
"Serving the residents of this community and continuing to provide the highest quality public services will always be our top priority."
To listen to Thursday's Huntley Village Board meeting, the public can dial in at 847-748-0565 and enter the pin 57731. The public is asked to mute its phone lines and public comment will not be taken over the phone.
Instead, the public is asked to email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments received before 5 p.m. on Thursday will be read during the meeting. Commenters are asked to state the meeting meeting date in the email subject line and include a name and address within the body of the email.