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Position Announcement: General Superintendent
Forest Preserve District of Cook County, River Forest, IL

Monday, March 17, 2003
Northwest Herald

General Overview

The Forest Preserve District of Cook County is one of the largest locally owned open space systems in the United States.

With more than 68,000 acres of land, the District's mission has not changed since its establishment in acquire....and hold lands...for the purpose of protecting and preserving the flora and fauna...and to restore, restock, protect and preserve the natural nearly as may be in their natural state...for the purpose of the education, pleasure and recreation of the public.

The District has an operating budget of $37 million which represents less than 40% of its overall budget of $14 million. Capital improvement, land acquisition and pension funds as well as the budgets of the Chicago Botanic Garden and the Brookfield Zoo are included in the total budget.

Both the Chicago Botanic Garden and the Brookfield Zoo are owned by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County and operated by the Chicago Horticultural Society and the Chicago Zoological Society, respectively. These two world class institutions attract nearly three millions visitors annually.

The District offers its visitors a variety of conservation, educational, recreational and volunteer opportunities including bird watching, school programs, teacher trainings, hiking, biking, cross country skiing, swimming, golfing and more.

Volunteers are an integral component of the District's land management and educational activities, donating thousands of hours each year to advancing the mission of the District.

The District is currently implementing a $30 million capital maintenance program to repair and upgrade facilities, many of which were built in the 1930's.

The District's goal to hold 75,000 acres of open space in public trust requires the acquisition of an additional 7,000 acres. More than 500 acres of land are currently in negotiation, under condemnation or otherwise being considered. In addition to tax supported land acquisition funds, the District has been successful in securing state and federal grants as well as donations to further this goal.

The outsourcing of golf operations to Billy Casper Golf represents the District's commitment to providing professionally managed golf courses at affordable rates. The ten golf courses and three driving ranges represent one of the largest publicly managed golf operations in the nation. Fore more information on golf, visit or

About the Position

Under the direction of the President of the Forest Preserve District, the General Superintendent is responsible for ensuring that the overall mission of the District is advanced through the plans, programs and activities of its departments. The General Superintendent directs and administers the organization and supervision of the District's daily operations; directs the development, planning and research for effective long-range program planning; and is responsible for the ongoing review of departments, operations and needs as they relate to the District's overall mission. The General Superintendent has responsibility for administration of annual appropriations which currently total more than $141 million. This position reports directly to the President of the Forest Preserve District Board of Commissioners.

The Forest Preserve District of Cook County offers an excellent compensation package including family health, dental and optical insurance, pension and vacation time.

The Ideal Candidate

The ideal candidate should have a proven track record of progressive management experience and a demonstrated record of working with government agencies; civic and community organizations; and advocacy groups. The candidate must possess superior oral and written communication skills and should have direct experience in budget preparation and administration, and financial and strategic planning.

The candidate should hold a bachelors and/or masters degree in a field related to public administration, management, conservation, forestry or landscape architecture.

Department Profiles

Resource Management

The Resources Management Department provides a framework of ecological management practices that are compatible with recreation and other land uses while enhancing the biodiversity of District lands. The Department carries out annual land management plans for prairie and wetland restoration and woodland reforestation on 15,000 acres of District land using all techniques available to the District. Hundreds of educational programs are offered through the District's six nature centuries. The fisheries section provides professional lake management for more than 40 lakes throughout the County, including fish propagation and stocking, population studies and water chemical analysis.

Budgeted Positions: 101


The Recreation Department is responsible for the oversight of Billy Casper Golf hired in 2002 to operate the Districts ten golf courses and three driving ranges. Recreation is also responsible for issuing more than 10,000 picnic permits annually and the operation of three swimming pools.

Budgeted Positions: 36

Construction and Development

The responsibilities of the Construction and Development Department include the development and implementation of long term capital plans, including the completion of a $31 million dollar capital maintenance program funded through a grant received from the State of Illinois. This department also prepares plans for routine maintenance projects throughout the District.

Budgeted Positions: 26

Law Enforcement

The District employs 65 full time police officers to ensure the safety of visitors and holdings and to enforce the ordinances, rules and regulations of the District and the laws of the State of Illinois. Part time officers are utilized during peak seasons to assist I patrol and crowd control.

Budgeted Positions: 94


In-house legal staff provide counsel on matters such as land acquisition, contracts, ordinances, utility easements and licenses as well as District policies and procedures.

Budgeted Positions: 9

General Maintenance

The Maintenance Department is staffed with 234 full-time and seasonal employees working out of 16 locations. Responsibilities include maintenance of picnic groves; refuse removal; vehicle and equipment repair; and routine repair and maintenance of buildings.

Budgeted Positions: 234

Finance and Administration

Finance and Administration handles all financial matters for the District from daily receipts to accounts payable, from auditing to payroll. Purchasing and information systems functions are also carried out by Finance and Administration.

Budgeted Positions: 26

General Office

Five administration/support functions are provided through the general office; executive office; secretary/treasurer to the Board of Commissioners; grant development; special events; and public information.

Budgeted Positions: 14

The Forest Preserve District of Cook County was created by the citizens of Cook County in 1914 after the Illinois State Legislature created the Comprehensive Forest Preserve District Act in 1913. The act defines the District mission:

"To acquire...and hold lands...containing one or more natural forests or lands connecting such forests or parts thereof, for the purpose of protecting and preserving the flora, fauna and scenic beauties within such district and to restore, restock, protect and preserve the natural forests and said lands together with their flora and fauna, as nearly as may be, in their natural state and condition, for the purpose of the education, pleasure and recreation of the public."

Application Process

Interested individuals should submit a resume and three professional references to:

FPD General Superintendent Search
118 N. Clark Street, Room 537
Chicago, Illinois 60602

No faxes will be accepted. The position will remain open until a candidate is selected. Qualified candidates will be contacted and interviewed in Chicago.

District policy requires that the selected candidate reside within the boundaries of the County of Cook within six months of start date.

The Forest Preserve District of Cook County is an equal opportunity employer.

Need more information?

For more information on the District or related agencies, visit these websites:

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