Kenilworth, News

Northfield finds next village manager just one town over

Kenilworth leader Patrick Brennan to take over Northfield job in April, pending board approval

The Village of Northfield didn’t have to look far to find a new path forward.

Village trustees on Tuesday night are expected to approve the hiring of a new village manager, Patrick Brennan, the current village manager of neighboring Kenilworth.

Brennan, who reportedly was hired from a field of 30, will step into a role long held by Stacy Sigman, who in July 2023 left the position following months of turmoil and in accordance with a settlement agreement with the Village and its board of trustees.

Brennan was a police officer in Ohio from 1998-2011 before joining City Hall in Highland Park. After serving in the city manager’s office for more than a decade, Brennan was hired as the village manager for Kenilworth in 2012. He will take over in Northfield on April 29.

“Northfield is a great community that has a long history of being a wonderful place to live,” he said. “It is a bit bigger than Kenilworth with more opportunity, a bit bigger staff and I’m ready for some new challenges.”

Not including medical benefits, Brennan’s pending annual compensation of $250,000 comprises a $225,000 base salary, $22,000 retirement contribution and $3,000 vehicle allowance. The position will also be granted 160 hours, or about 20 days, per year in vacation time, according to the pending contract.

Brennan was village manager of Kenilworth for 12 years, most recently making an annual salary of $172,090, according to Kenilworth documents.

As part of the agreement with Northfield, Sigman remains on staff as the part-time director of special projects at her village manager salary of $267,000 a year through May 2025. The Village also had to pay $85,000 to Sigman, who agreed to drop pending and future claims against the Village and its trustees.

Since Sigman’s departure from her former role, two interim village managers have led the Village of Northfield: Steve Noble (July-September 2023), a retired Northfield finance director; and Tim Frenzer (September 2023-present), a former village manager in Wilmette.

Brennan said he had read about the turbulence in Northfield government over the past year but was impressed with Northfield officials during his interview process.

“I saw individuals passionate for their village and who want to make good things happen,” said Brennan, adding that he knows Sigman well from his time in Kenilworth, has enjoyed working with her and “(does not) foresee any issues there at all — it actually will be kind of fun.”

Brennan is looking forward to catching up on and leading important Northfield projects, such as the renovation of the town’s main downtown intersection. Officials are in the process of adding a roundabout with a fountain centerpiece to the intersection of Happ Road and Orchard Lane.

Associated with that project, Northfield is hoping to beef up its economic development in the area. Additionally, Brennan said Northfield has housing opportunities and infrastructure improvements in its future.

In a joint statement, Northfield trustees said, “Patrick Brennan is a proven leader with a strong record as a visionary Village Manager. He has outstanding communications skills and a reputation for excellence in managing people, projects and progress. We are excited to introduce Patrick to the Northfield community and village staff and businesses. Sometimes you find the ideal person right next door.”

In his time there, Brennan helped Kenilworth address substantial infrastructure issues, such as residential flooding and low fire-hydrant efficacy. He said he is proud of the Village’s work on those projects during his tenure.

The Village of Kenilworth approved on Monday, March 18, a contract with GovHR USA to execute a national search for Brennan’s replacement. The Village of Kenilworth did not immediately return The Record’s request for comment, but Village President Cecily Kaz wrote in the Village’s weekly newsletter:

“We wish him the best of luck as he begins his next chapter. … With an excellent team in place at Village Hall and Public Works, residents should not experience any lapse in village services during the transition, and the Village Board remains committed to bringing exciting new amenities to the community.”

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joe coughlin
Joe Coughlin

Joe Coughlin is a co-founder and the editor in chief of The Record. He leads investigative reporting and reports on anything else needed. Joe has been recognized for his investigative reporting and sports reporting, feature writing and photojournalism. Follow Joe on Twitter @joec2319

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