If you got to know Doug Krieger, Naperville’s city manager, you most likely would be surprised by what you’d learn.
For instance, this year, he ran his first half-marathon ever right here in Naperville.
He owns a cat that was born with three legs.
His favorite snack food is cheese popcorn.
For lunch, his go-to item is a Polish sausage he buys from — surprisingly — Brown’s Chicken.
He served as a nuclear submarine officer in the U.S. Navy.
Last month, he attended the White Sox Fantasy Baseball Camp in Glendale, Ariz., and at 49 years old, says he was “one of the youngest guys there.”
As one of Naperville’s most important city employees, getting to know him makes a lot of sense. He has overseen the daily operations of the municipality since December 2008, including directing 925 employees.
Krieger admits his job can be overwhelming at times but that the hook for him is being able to make a difference in people’s lives “at the local level.”
“It’s harder to implement change at the state and federal level,” he said. “With local government, it’s a lot easier to make a difference in people’s lives and have a positive impact on what goes on.”
A native of Joliet who graduated from Joliet Catholic High School, Krieger attended college at the U.S. Naval Academy and later earned his MBA at the University of Chicago. His work history has largely been in the world of finance.
After leaving the Naval Academy, he worked as a tech consultant for Booz, Allen & Hamilton in Washington, D.C. He then got an MBA and an accounting job with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Chicago.
And then in 2003, he became the finance director in Naperville until being named city manager in 2008.
Krieger works daily with about eight department heads that coordinate and implement all of the city services from fire and police to electricity, water, streets, planning and zoning and so much more.
Mayor A. George Pradel said he and Krieger have forged a close relationship and that he leans on Krieger regularly for advice and counsel.
“We’ll go to lunch often and discuss things, and Doug is great about saying he’ll do things for me and take things off my list,” Pradel said. “When our city manager stepped down a number of years ago, we did a nationwide search for his replacement, and we found the person we needed here right under our nose on the second floor of the building.”
Pradel admires Krieger’s finance knowledge and background and says he doesn’t know how Krieger “carries around so many things in his mind.”
“He grew up here in the area and knows Naperville and is the ideal person,” Pradel said. “The background he has in finance is terrific, and he’s done wonders with the City Council and bringing us all together.”
A day in Krieger’s life usually consists of face-to-face meetings or a phone conversation with the mayor, responding either directly or through staff to residents’ inquiries, monitoring the operating budget as well as purchases, dealing with HR matters, and attending various meetings.
“It’s the whole gambit of the organization, but the thing about this job is the quality of the people we have here in the organization,” Krieger said. “The city has great employees who want to provide the best service for the community.”
Krieger said he and his wife have lived in Naperville for 20 years — long before he became one its employees. He said he was attracted to the community because of its schools and its sense of safety.
“The city is efficient, the schools are great and the public amenities are terrific,” he said. “We have a great downtown here and a good business climate.”
Krieger says Pradel probably considers him to be the mayor’s right-hand man, but he knows that soon he’ll have to work with a new mayor. Pradel is retiring at the end of his term.
For the record, Krieger said he has no intention of running for mayor, but welcomes the new person who will fill that job.
“I look forward to whatever Mayor Pradel’s successor brings and the new ideas and priorities,” he said.