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Crest Hill public works director candidate introduced Monday to City Council

Council also recently approved new city administrator's contract

CREST HILL – Crest Hill’s village administration on Monday introduced to City Council members a new hometown candidate for the public works director.

Tony Torres presented his breadth of experience, which includes working in public works departments at the city of Joliet, village of Bolingbrook and a municipality in Indiana. But several council members questioned his lack of credentials and licensing in engineering.

“It’s a very impressive résumé,” Alderwoman Claudia Gazal said.

Mayor Ray Soliman said that although Torres was being recommended, he hasn’t been hired by the council yet. The council reviewed salary and benefits information during closed session Monday, and the city is waiting for completion of a background check.

Torres said he is a 40-year resident of Will County, and was looking for an opportunity close to home.

“I’m very familiar with this area,” Torres said. “I grew up here in the Crest Hill and Joliet area. It’s a great honor to come and work for the city.”

In answers to questions from council members, Torres said he was a collaborative manager who focuses on making decisions by getting people’s input.

However, some council members were concerned about him not having a license for water and sewer work, and not having engineering credentials.

“Having the top person [in the department] not having any licensing ... that’s my issue,” Alderwoman Tina Oberlin said.

But Torres said what he lacks in official certification he makes up for in experience, including in managing and planning wastewater treatment plants, a current issue for Crest Hill.

Torres also said he has experience in recommending consultants and outsourcing engineering and landscaping services.

City administrator

Last week, the council approved the contract for a new, permanent city administrator. James T. Elmquist’s contract was approved Feb. 15, and he will start March 28, Soliman said.

Elmquist will replace current City Administrator Cameron Davis, who was selected to run the city on an interim basis after former Administrator John Tomasoski left in September to take the same position at Mokena.

Elmquist is currently the administrator for Dodge County in Minnesota. He also has experience being the municipal administrator for the Minnesota cities of Carver and Mora.

Elmquist’s base salary will be $133,000, with any raises subject to approval by the council, according to his contract, available for public view at the city’s website,

“Based on his 20 years of experience, he’s going to bring a wealth of knowledge and a wealth of experience to the city of Crest Hill,” Soliman said.

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