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Wanted: City manager

PRINCETON — Princeton City Manager Jeff Fiegenschuh has announced his resignation. His last day will be Nov. 11. Department heads and commissioners were notified late Wednesday and Thursday.

Fiegenschuh has taken a village administrator's position in Shorewood, a town near Joliet with a population of 17,000. Fiegenschuh was selected from 100 applicants for the job, which was narrowed to six finalists. Fiegenschuh was one of those six, and along with a couple of other finalists, was asked to return for a second round of interviews before being selected.

Fiegenschuh accepted the city manager's position in Princeton in November 2007. He came to Princeton from Sac City, Iowa.

"It's been a fantastic opportunity for my family and me," Fiegenschuh said Friday. "Princeton has become our second home. It's a great community. I have enjoyed working with the mayor, immensely. The city of Princeton is very lucky to have a mayor like him."

Fiegenschuh said he's also enjoyed working with the commissioners throughout the years, the citizens of Princeton and the city employees.

"Princeton has some top-notch employees; Princeton should be so proud of them," Fiegenschuh said, adding, "All these wonderful people and experiences here have made a lifetime of memories.

"Princeton has a great future. All these projects underway will continue to operate, and I wish nothing but the best for the city and the people who live here. Princeton is a great community," he said.

Princeton Mayor Keith Cain was quick to applaud Fiegenschuh and his accomplishments.

"He's done a great job here," Cain said Friday morning, acknowledging the fact that city managers usually stay in one place between three and six years before they move on to another, usually a larger community. "If they are doing a great job, like Jeff did, they move up to bigger positions."

Despite the tough economy, Cain said he believes Fiegenschuh was instrumental in Princeton's success.

"He figured out ways to eliminate positions and still do things efficiently. He was instrumental in budget cuts. That's why you need a city manager because he taught us how to tighten down the budget," Cain said, adding the city manager also did a good job negotiating union contracts without having to hire outside attorneys, which was a great savings to the city.

"Jeff has saved the city a lot of money, and he helped get a lot of grants into the city. He had good, open communication with the commissioners, the department heads and me. I wish Jeff the best of luck," Cain said.

Cain said he believes the next step is for the city to contact a search firm to help fill Fiegenschuh's position. He said it could be anywhere from six weeks to four months to get another city manager in place, but he hopes to have a person in the job before next year's budget.

What will the mayor be looking for in a new city manager?

"I look for someone who is aggressive, and who can lead us in the right direction and into the future," Cain said.

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