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Former Police Chief Named New Village Administrator

Post Date:07/17/2020

At the July 13, 2020 Mundelein Board Meeting, the Board of Trustees approved Mayor Steve Lentz’s appointment of Eric J. Guenther as the new Village Administrator making him the third village administrator over a 45-year period.  He will assume this position effective August 3, 2020.

“This is a historic evening for us,” Mayor Steve Lentz said at the meeting. “The Village Administrator is really the most important hire a municipality can make . . . That person is at the top of the organization and with a lot of responsibility.”

Four months ago, the Village of Mundelein hired GOV HR recruitment firm to assist with the search process for a new Village Administrator.  59 applicants from across the country applied for the position. GOV HR presented the Board of Trustees with 14 candidates.  The Board narrowed this group down to 7 candidates for “video” interviews.  Following the video interviews, the pool narrowed to 4 candidates for in-person interviews.

“In just 8 years, Eric Guenther has distinguished himself at the local, state, and national levels through his leadership and innovative thinking.  Last year, he was named ‘Chief of the Year’  by the Illinois Chiefs of Police and then the American Medical Association awarded Eric the prestigious ‘Dr. Nathan Davis Award for Outstanding Public Service’ for his work with the ‘A Way Out’ Program.  I am very pleased that he decided to pursue the Village Administrator position.  Eric knows Mundelein’s issues and people. He is intelligent, an excellent communicator, and a gifted leader who works well with people.  We know Eric to be honest, ethical, and well respected by our employees and his peers. He will make an excellent Village Administrator for our community,” said Mayor Steve Lentz.

“The search process for our new Village Administrator spanned nationally and we had many qualified candidates apply.  It was a rigorous vetting process and I applaud the Trustees for their diligence and engagement.  Thanks to their careful assessment of each candidate, our community can have great confidence in this decision,” Mayor Lentz added.

“In his new role as Village Administrator, Eric’s proven leadership, effective project management skills, strategic thinking, and the respect he garners in the community and with staff, will certainly help Mundelein continue to grow and thrive. His commitment to Mundelein and his passion for executing Mundelein’s strategic vision will be immediately apparent,” said Trustee Ray Semple.  

“I am honored to have been selected as Mundelein’s new Village Administrator. I feel confident that my leadership and organizational skills will benefit the community. This position has similarities to the police department role from the standpoint of managing projects, managing personnel, and making sound financial decisions.  I am looking forward to working closely with the Mayor and Board of Trustees and the Villages management team to achieve Mundelein’s short and long-term strategic goals. I have intimate knowledge of the Village and I believe the continuity I bring to this position will serve the Village well. I am grateful to John Lobaito for his leadership which will certainly help me keep Mundelein on its positive trajectory,” Eric Guenther said.

Chief Guenther has been with the Mundelein Police Department since September 1995.  He has served as Deputy Chief, Commander, Sergeant, Criminal Investigator, and Patrol Officer.  Eric has demonstrated his noteworthy leadership and management acumen with the launch of the nationally-renowned and award-winning, “A Way Out” program—an initiative that provides a pathway for Opioid addiction that focuses on treatment as opposed to prosecution. He has also spearheaded the Latino Police Academy, led the 911 consolidation with 3 communities, and directed the process to equip all Lake County law enforcement officers with the lifesaving, anti-opioid drug, Naloxone.

Eric earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville in Criminal Justice-Law and a Master of Arts degree from the University of St. Thomas in Public Safety Administration.  He attended the 204th session of Northwestern University’s School of Police Staff and Command and the 242nd Session of the F.B.I. National Academy at Quantico, Virginia.  He also attended the 51st Session of the Senior Management Institute for Police hosted by the Police Executive Research Forum and Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. 

Chief Guenther is a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Illinois Chiefs of Police Association, past President of the Lake County Chiefs of Police Association, the Police Executive Research Forum, and the FBI National Academy Associates. 

Eric and his wife Melanie have three daughters: Emma, Taylor, and Peyton. 

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