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Bernard Schoenburg: Sgro likes numbers aspect of new job

May 15, 2011 at 06:44 AM

The State Journal-Register

Springfield Park Board President LESLIE SGRO has left a job as deputy director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to join the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget as deputy director and manager of the capital budget.

“I’ve been very lucky to work with a tremendous group of people” at DNR, Sgro said.

But now, she said, “I’m very excited about maybe getting to make a positive difference on a broader scale.”

The new job will have her “looking at the (capital) program and evaluating the projects.”

She starts the job Monday at an annual salary of $102,500, up from $96,324 at DNR.

“We look forward to Leslie sharing her budgetary knowledge, vast management experience and vision for the state with our staff,” said KELLY KRAFT, spokeswoman for the budget office. “One of her main duties will be the continual implementation of the state’s successful capital plan which is putting hundreds of thousands of Illinoisans back to work.”

Kraft said a senior team member at the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget, ROBERT MELICAN of Oak Park, who worked closely with DNR, recently left for the private sector.

Another senior team member, MIKE WILSON of Springfield (no, not the former talk-radio guy of the same name) who has been capital director, “is transitioning to another state agency,” Kraft said.

“These two vacancies left holes in our capital team and strategic and policy team. Leslie will fill these voids,” Kraft said.

Sgro, 49, was unopposed April 5 as she won a sixth four-year term as nonsalaried president of the park board.

She also has a master’s degree in business administration from Washington University in St. Louis, and worked in mortgage banking in Springfield for four years — long before, she stresses,  that industry got into big trouble.

It was about 20 years ago, and she worked buying loans from banks around the country, packaging them and selling the bonds in New York.

“I think I’ve had a lot of relevant training for this job,” she said.

“I really do like numbers,” she said. “Mostly, I like what numbers can do for people. That’s part of what I’ve enjoyed with my job at DNR and the park district, is maximizing the dollars that are available to do the most good.”

Bernard Schoenburg is political columnist for The State Journal-Register. He can be reached at 788-1540 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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