Ask an expert - It takes a village

After 15 years as a stay-at-home mom and a short stint in the real estate world, Jacqueline Gale wasn't sure where life would lead her next in early 2018. A chat with her cousin, Kevin Votava of the Hinsdale Fire Department (now retired), set Gale on the path toward the front desk at Hinsdale Village Hall and a job that she thoroughly enjoys.

Gale was hired as a part-time finance clerk in March 2018 and went full time nearly a year later. As finance clerk, Gale is the first line of communication for anyone calling or dropping by the village offices.

"Generally speaking, I'm the touchpoint for the entire village," Gale said.

Gale said she considers it her job to make each day a little easier, not only for the Hinsdale residents who call or stop by, but for her fellow village employees.

"I thoroughly enjoy problem solving," said Gale, noting that a small effort on her part can mean a lot to the person in need of her assistance.

Keeping up with everything that's going on in town is key to her job, Gale said. She keeps herself apprised of construction projects, bid openings and special events so she can answer residents' questions without adding to her co-workers' already busy days.

"I know every construction project in town," Gale said. That includes the Chicago Avenue project - a frequent subject of resident inquiries. Gale said she does her best to keep up with the project's progress, always ready with the latest information about when the work might be complete.

As finance clerk, she processes payments for business licenses, tickets and violations, and water bills. With water bills due at the beginning of each month, the first days of every month are busy, Gale said. She also sees an uptick in activity in January and July, when parking permits come up for renewal. And every year, Gale said, goes out with a bang.

"December is always a biggie. Everything comes due."

Any day can get busy for the small staff tasked with running the day-to-day activities of the village.

"But we're never too busy for anyone," Gale said.

Being available to residents is just part of the job, whether it's taking a payment, answering a question or listening to a complaint, even if she can't solve the problem.

"Sometimes, they just want to be heard," Gale said.

She said her daily commitment to the people of Hinsdale isn't unique. The entire village staff strives to serve the needs of everyone who lives in town, Gale said.

Gale said she long admired the beauty of Hinsdale and sometimes brought her children to events in Burlington Park.

"We would jump on the train from Downers Grove and come out here," she said.

Today, she knows more about Hinsdale than her own hometown and enjoys walking the village's streets every day at lunchtime. Gale said she learns a little more about Hinsdale every day, along with new ways to serve the town, its employees and its residents.

- by Sandy Illian Bosch

Author Bio

Sandy Illian Bosch is a contributing writer to The Hinsdalean