Strategic Planning at a Glance:

  • Strategic Planning is a major initiative that occurs annually.
  • It is the most important work of the Village Board (and of staff and the community as a whole).

  • The Village utilized a very reasonable budget ($5,500) for consultant services and location services during the major strategic planning initiative overhaul.
  • Ad hoc meetings (including for strategic planning) are unpaid and require a significant amount of time (3 hours) from elected officials on evenings or weekends.

  • Elected officials and Village staff utilize settings other than the formality of the Village Board room to inspire creativity.

  • All ad hoc strategic planning meetings are open to the public.

The Process:

Our most recent strategic plan wrapped up in 2016 and was quickly followed by the appointment of a new Village Administrator and several key elected official transitions. This included the election of a new Village President, who began his term in May, 2017. Four of the eight Village officials have been elected or appointed since the development of our previous plan and only one department head who had participated in its preparation remains on staff.

At the direction of the Village President and Board of Trustees, staff initiated a formalized strategic planning process in early summer of 2017. The Art Petty Group was selected to serve as the consultant firm during the strategy development process, meeting our requirement for a seasoned, yet progressive, professional in strategy development and deployment whose background was not specifically in public service.

In addition to the elected officials and executive leaders, a select team of individuals identified as up-and-comers, creative thinkers and subject matter experts amongst our staff were invited to participate in the planning process as representatives of their areas of operation.

The strategic planning process was a fully inclusive project and involved a highly structured series of events, interspersed with more informal collaborations, information gathering and conversations amongst staff and project teams.

December, 2016: Our management team participated in a training session carefully and intentionally designed to prepare them for a change initiative.

February, 2017: We engaged the National Research Center to conduct the National Citizen Survey. 1500 residents were invited to participate in offering valid and reliable customer input for incorporation into our strategic planning efforts.

July, 2017: Our consultant led a structured exercise with the extended strategic planning team to identify and describe the current external forces, trends, and changes with the potential to affect the understanding, planning and delivery of services in the public interest such as political factors, economic climate and changes in technology.

July, 2017: The consultant coordinated a discussion with our extended strategic planning team on the significance of the environmental scan for the Lake in the Hills community and its impact on our ability to deliver quality services at an affordable cost.

August, 2017: The consultant facilitated an open meeting for elected officials and members of the community who, along with executive leaders, explored the pursuit of a vision and the same issues of external forces and their impact on operations; elected and staff perspectives were integrated.

August, 2017: The Village Administrator led dialog with the extended strategic planning team on how we must respond or act based upon the external and internal environmental scan. In this session, the problem statement, guiding policy and key strategic action items were drafted.

August, 2017: Our executive leaders presented the Strategic Plan’s essential elements, including the problem statement, guiding policy and key strategic in an open meeting for elected officials and members of the community, seeking additional feedback to incorporate and support as the plan was taking shape.

August, 2017: The consultant inspired a conversation between extended strategic planning team members on the community’s vision and assisted staff in finalizing essential elements of the plan and associated definitions.

September, 2017: The Strategic Plan was presented to the Village Board and community for approval and an overview of the planned implementation and execution process was reviewed.

Results Summary

Our process resulted in the development of a clear strategic framework to guide decisions made by our elected officials, executive leaders, and staff.

The elements include:

  • The introduction of an organizational vision and pursuit of its validation

  • An analysis of the current operational environment and the identification of external forces and trends with the potential to impact the community

  • A Problem Statement that defines how we must respond to the environmental scan in order to achieve our vision and identifying any gap between the two

  • A Guiding Policy that provides a high-level filter through which key issues can be evaluated and decisions made

  • A set of six prioritized Key Action Items around which important organizational and operational activities can be managed

The preparation and implementation of our Strategic Plan is important and rewarding work for the community. Though we’re accustomed to strategic planning, we are less accomplished in executing planned initiatives.

This project of creativity and renewal was developed with the intention of ingraining strategic thinking, planning, and management into our organization’s culture. The plan is truly a change initiative; pet -projects, long-standing practices, and yesterday’s business models will be sacrificed in the process to better the community.

Over the life of this plan, which will allow us to focus on the most important services and drive advancement in areas that matter most, the value of strategic planning will be proven.

View the Full Results


This Strategic Plan is a result of collaboration amongst all employees of the Village of Lake in the Hills and the thoughtful analysis and incorporation of resident feedback, along with the dedication of the following people:

President Russ Ruzanski
Trustee Stephen Harlfinger
Trustee Ray Bogdanowski
Trustee Bob Huckins
Trustee David McPhee
Trustee Bill Dustin
Trustee Suzanne Artinghelli
Village Clerk Crystal Ulen

Jennifer Clough, Village Administrator
David Brey, Chief of Police
Shane Johnson, Assistant Village Administrator/Finance Director
Fred Mullard, Director of Public Works
Laura Barron, Director of Parks and Recreation
Michael Brown, Director of Community Development

Mary Frake, Deputy Chief of Support Services
Chris Miller, Police Sergeant
Matt Mannino, Police Officer
Justin Piessens, IT Manager
Tricia O’Donnell, Management Assistant
Ted Griffis, Water Operator
Tyler Eckman, General Utility Worker II

Dan Kaup, Deputy Public Works Director
Megan Melendez, Superintendent of Parks and Recreation
Matt Rossi, Assistant Finance Director
Lindsey Voss, Human Resources Assistant
Judy Hoaglin, Payroll Coordinator
George Hahne, Economic Development Coordinator
Alex Zewde, Recreation Supervisor

Mr. Art Petty of the Art Petty Group was invited to support the initiation of this process of visioning, planning and alignment through the facilitation of two strategic workshops for elected officials and numerous working sessions and partnerships with staff.