St. Charles aldermen favor new $205,000-a-year economic development director position

St. Charles aldermen so far approve of the creation of a $205,000-a-year economic development director position as the city continues to deal with numerous key departures among its staff.

With Community and Economic Development Director Rita Tungare retiring and Economic Development Planner Ciara Miller moving out of state, the city is working to redefine the roles by separating the two departments. Tungare’s position, paid at an annual base salary of $184,000 for the current fiscal year, will become a director of community development position.

The aldermen voted unanimously at Monday’s government operations committee meeting to create the economic development director position, but they must give final approval at a future city council meeting.

The cost of the new position -- with an annual salary between $121,000 and $181,000 and a total compensation cost of about $205,000 -- will come from the general fund, according to Finance Director Chris Minick.

Director of Human Resources Jennifer McMahon and City Administrator Heather McGuire said the idea of splitting the community and economic development departments and creating a new director position came from the city council’s interest in expanding economic development staffing. McMahon noted the departments had been separated and combined at various times through the years.

“We have kind of a blank slate here,” McMahon said. “If we’re going to create a director of economic development position, this is the time to do it.”

Ward 2 Alderman Rita Payleitner approved of separating the community and economic development departments, but she questioned the need to immediately create an economic development director position when a draft of the employee flow chart indicated just one employee under the director.

The community development director would have 12 employees.

“It seems like a very generous salary for somebody who just out of the gate has oversight of one person,” Payleitner said. “I’m not sure a director warrants just one person. Maybe grow into it, I don’t know.”

Given the potential for staffing growth within a successful economic development department, though, the aldermen agreed to the director position. McMahon estimated candidate recruiting costs to be about $45,000.