City Hall was built in 1898 and served as the Office of the City Manager, Mayor and City Council as well as the Fire Station, Police Station and Library. As the population in Lake Forest grew, these departments moved into separate facilities.
Lake Forest government operates under the Council/Manager system. The City Council is the legislative and policy-making body and includes the Mayor and two Aldermen from each of the City's four wards. The Mayor is elected bi-annually for a two-year term. Aldermen are elected to staggered two-year terms, with one Alderman elected from each Ward annually. The City is also fortunate to have more than 125 residents generously contribute their time and expertise each year to serve on the City's various boards, commissions, and committees.
Lake Forest celebrated its 75th anniversary of the Council/Manager form of government at the May 5, 2014 City Council meeting. Mayor Donald P. Schoenheider presented City Manager Robert R. Kiely, Jr. with a Resolution from The City of Lake Forest and plaques of recognition from the International City/County Managers Association and the Illinois City/County Management Association.
Robert Kiely is a professional administrator who is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the City. Appointed by the Mayor and City Council, he carries out the policies set by the elected officials and is responsible for the efficient, economical operation of City services and facilities. Additional information on the Council/Manager form of government is available through the International City/County Management Association (ICMA).
The mission of the Office of the City Manager is to implement and administer the policies and programs established by the City Council; facilitate the attainment of operational goals and objectives established by individual departments; and foster an organizational attitude that promotes excellence in the delivery of service.
The City's internal and external communication programs are handled through the Office of the City Manager by the Communications Manager, who is responsible for public relations for the City, disseminating timely, accurate information about City programs and services, upcoming meetings, and issues important to the community. The Dialogue, Lake Forest's quarterly newsletter, is edited by the Communications Manager and mailed to all households and post office boxes in February, May, August and November. The City's web site is overseen by the Communications Manager.
Economic development initiatives are also conducted through the Office of the City Manager. In September 2007 the City enlisted the services of an Economic Development Officer who acts as the main contact between the City, Lake Forest/Lake Bluff Chamber of Commerce and the business districts in Lake Forest. This individual performs business development and marketing activities with a primary emphasis on prospective business attraction and retention. The City is committed to attracting desired businesses and appropriate economic development to promote the viability of the business districts.