© 2024 WGLT
A public service of Illinois State University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Bloomington City Manager Tim Gleason returning to former position in Decatur

Bloomington Mayor Mboka Mwilambwe, right, with City Manager Tim Gleason at a previous meeting.
Emily Bollinger
WGLT file
Bloomington's City Manager Tim Gleason, left, had been weighing multiple employment offers in previous weeks, including a position in Florence, a Phoenix suburb. At right is Mayor Mboka Mwilambwe, at a city council meeting.

Six years after a 3 1/2-year stint as Decatur’s city manager ended, Bloomington City Manager Tim Gleason is preparing for a second act.

Gleason, hired away from Decatur by Bloomington in 2018, is preparing to return to the city manager position in Decatur by early May. An employment agreement is pending a city council vote scheduled for Monday.

Gleason had been weighing his employment options for several weeks, having been announced as a finalist for a similar position earlier this month in Florence, a Phoenix suburb.

Ultimately, Gleason chose Decatur, where he will replace a retiring Scott Wrighton, who took over as Decatur’s city manager after Gleason left for Bloomington.

Decatur will pay Gleason a salary of $230,000 per year and an additional $650 per month for a vehicle allowance that will be transferred to a deferred compensation retirement plan. He is required to establish residency within one year; the city will pay him $20,000 to cover relocation expenses; Decatur Mayor Julie Moore Wolfe said in a statement that he is considering building a new home there.

Six months ago, Bloomington's city council approved a 5% pay raise for Gleason, setting his salary around $220,000 annually.

“We’ll miss Mr. Gleason and how much he’s done for the city, but I do think the best thing he’s done… is put us in a great position to move forward,” Bloomington Mayor Mboka Mwilambwe said Thursday.

Gleason's tenure as city manager include oversight of numerous projects in Bloomington, including a push for a multimillion dollar downtown revitalization project, the expansion of Bloomington's public library, the replacement of O'Neil Pool, as well as the hiring of additional city staff dedicated to arts and entertainment. City staff took over management of the city-owned downtown area under Gleason's watch.

Gleason also reorganized multiple city departments including public works. The city moved the water department within public works, but later converted them into three departments; public works, water and engineering services.

"The one thing I would say, and I think Mr. Gleason would echo, is that he really built a strong foundation," Mwilambwe said. "So from that standpoint, I am not too worried. We just need someone at the top to sort of be the conductor."

City of Bloomington
City Manager Tim Gleason

Mwilambwe said it’s not yet clear who will replace Gleason even in the interim, but added he expects that will be determined after conversations with city council members. Bloomington has two deputy city managers, positions Gleason created after the city had one assistant city manager previously.

“We'll have to make some decisions on whether or not we go internally or externally,” said Mwilambwe. “We just have to sit down and think about the process and see what really works best and gives us a chance to make the best decision in the most time-efficient way possible."

Before Decatur, Gleason was a city administrator in Washington and a deputy director for the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. He also had a 20-plus year career in law enforcement, rising to the rank of lieutenant with the Pekin Police Department.

Pending the Decatur council vote on April 1, Gleason is expected to start as city manager there on May 6.

Lyndsay Jones is a reporter at WGLT. She joined the station in 2021. You can reach her at lljone3@ilstu.edu.