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Gleason exits as city manager after Bloomington council approves replacement

Two men shaking hands in a conference room with a 'city of bloomington, illinois' logo in the background, indicating a formal or official meeting.
Emily Bollinger
Incoming Bloomington City Manager Jeff Jurgens, left, with Mayor Mboka Mwilambwe.

City Manager Tim Gleason exited Bloomington city government Monday night after Deputy City Manager Jeff Jurgens was approved as his replacement. Billy Tyus, the other deputy city manager, did not seek the position and will remain in his current role.

The city council refrained from holding any discussion on Jurgens’ selection, unanimously approving his appointment in lieu of a question-and-answer period.

According to the city's contract with Jurgens, he will be paid an annual salary of $210,000, and receive a $650 monthly reimbursement for use of his personal vehicle within 50 miles of Bloomington while on city business.

Gleason said in his report that Jurgens “is going to do an amazing job for this community. He’s going to put his style and touch to carrying on the council’s vision, and will just do great things. Even better than what I’ve accomplished in six years, and I mean that.”

Gleason added that Tyus will remain in an important role in city government and will continue to be a key asset to Jurgens as he begins his tenure as city manager.

Gleason also thanked Bloomington for having him. “I truly want to thank the community,” Gleason said. “This is an amazing community.”

Gleason is leaving his job to take the city manager position in Decatur, which he's held before.

The mayor and several council members praised Gleason following his comments.

Mayor Mboka Mwilambwe drew particular attention to Gleason’s organizational skills that have helped the council work effectively and more efficiently as meeting times have been significantly shortened. The mayor also praised Gleason’s work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

City of Bloomington
Tim Gleason is leaving Bloomington city government after six years as city manager.

Ward 7 council member Mollie Ward also praised Gleason for his “service to this community during a particularly rough time in our history. I think that you deserve a lot of credit for that.”

Gleason also deserves credit, she said, for the “cat herding” he's done “wrangling this council,” acknowledging that council members are not always the easiest people to work alongside. “I personally have appreciated your frankness and your willingness to have honest conversations,” Ward said.

Jurgens told WGLT he does not envision significantly shaking up the structure of the city administration. He also sees Tyus continuing to play a strong leadership role.

“I’m going to have an open door,” Jurgens said. “I want to be a collaborator. I want to be somebody that brings different agencies and different providers together. Somebody that works with the different governing agencies in our communities,”

Jurgens also noted a council retreat that will be happening later this week concerning the housing crisis in Bloomington. He hopes to work with the council members and community partners, including Home Sweet Home Ministries, to address the situation.

In other business, the council:

— Approved the consent agenda that included increased funding for Home Sweet Home Ministries, $50,000 to the Ecology Action Center for signage, and $10,000 to the Bloomington Public Library.

— Initially pulled two items on the consent agenda for further discussion; both received push back from residents during the public comment period.

Karla Bailey-Smith, who serves on the local ACLU steering committee, raised concerns about funding for increased security cameras at the Bloomington Ice Arena and Lincoln Parking Facility. The Bloomington Police Department clarified for the council that no facial recognition or audio recording technologies will be used in the new cameras, and the item passed.

Also pulled for discussion was the item concerning additional funding for Home Sweet Home Ministries. Concerns about the tent encampment currently located in west Bloomington have continually been raised during public comment.

After clarifying that the agenda item merely establishes a partnership between the city and Home Sweet Home for potential federal grant funding, the item passed.

Adeline Schultz is a correspondent at WGLT. She joined the station in 2024.