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Bloomington picks deputy Jeff Jurgens as new city manager

A man in a suit speaks at a podium
Emily Bollinger
Incoming Bloomington City Manager Jeff Jurgens, left, and Mayor Mboka Mwilambwe at a news conference on Thursday, April 18, 2024.

A longtime City of Bloomington employee and current deputy city manager is set to take the municipality's top administrative job next month.

Jeff Jurgens is Bloomington's pick to replace current and outgoing city manager Tim Gleason. Gleason is leaving to take a similar position in Decatur.

"It goes without saying what an honor and a privilege this is. This is a community I've been in for a number of years. I love this community. I think there are many great things that are ahead of us," Jurgens said during a news conference on Thursday.

Jurgen's promotion to city manager on May 6 is pending an April 22 vote from city council members. The proposed contract between Jurgens and the city is a three-year agreement that sets Jurgens' base salary at $210,000 per year, plus benefits.

Mayor Mboka Mwilambwe said the agreement is a "fair" one with which he is "pretty satisfied."

"His proven track record of excellence, along with his knowledge of the city and its unique challenges, make him the ideal person to lead Bloomington into its next chapter," Mwilambwe said.

Jurgens has been deputy city manager for just over a year and spent nearly a decade as Bloomington's legal counsel. Prior to joining the city of Bloomington around 2014, Jurgens worked as an attorney; he is a graduate of Illinois State University.

Jurgens told reporters on Thursday he believes his lengthy tenure with the city has prepared him to work even more closely with city council members.

"I've been able to work with a lot of different council members — I think the last count I had was about 28," he said. "Getting to know those council members and getting to know their priorities and their objectives and having that relationship coming into the door is going to be crucial to my success. I'm very excited about having that opportunity and being able to work on those relationships — and frankly, to grow them even further."

Jurgens said he plans to prioritize infrastructure, housing and governmental efficiency upon his promotion.

"Those are three high priorities that the council has, and three things that we want to focus on as staff that we're seeing a need for," he said.

Jurgens said he will be in attendance at a city council and staff retreat next week when housing options will be addressed; Jurgens said the goal is to get the council's "marching orders."

"We've got to focus on what the infill possibilities are and where we could potentially add some housing units in the city," he said.

As deputy city manager, Jurgens was credited with reorganizing the city's public works department into three separate departments — public works, water, and operations and engineering services. The position was created last year to manage the city's growth, adding a second deputy manager to the city's roster.

In a news release Thursday, the city said it plans to fill Jurgens' former deputy city manager role "soon."

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