An organization cannot prosper and succeed without strong leadership. With that in mind, Peoria County is fortunate to welcome a new leader in Lori Curtis Luther. Lori assumed the post of county administrator this August and has already become an invaluable asset to our organization. She came to us from the city of Waukesha, Wisconsin, where she served as city administrator. Her public administrative background includes management at both the city and county levels. The County Board, elected officials and staff are excited to have Lori on our team, and we look forward to a long future with her at the helm.
For those unfamiliar with county government, ours is a vast and varied organization that includes a combination of 27 departments, offices and entities that provide numerous public services. Nine of these offices are run by elected officials, like the offices of the sheriff and state's attorney.
A handful are governed by a board of directors or commissioners independent of the County Board, including the Peoria City/County Health Department and Veterans Assistance Commission. The majority of departments, however, fall under the authority of the county administrator. These departments include Animal Protection Services, Planning & Zoning, and Bel-Wood Nursing Home.
The diversity of services and responsibilities characteristic of local government dictates the need for strong leadership. The addition of Lori Curtis Luther to manage the day-to-day operations of Peoria County government helps fulfill that need. Her first challenge was presenting the board a balanced budget for 2012, to be approved later this month. In addition to joining the county in the midst of its annual budget cycle, she also assumes oversight duties of two new facilities: the Peoria Riverfront Museum, expected to open a year from now, and the county's new elder care facility, expected to open in the spring of 2013.
During its strategic planning process, the County Board identified economic growth as one of the four goals on which it will focus its energy and resources over the next five years. A strong proponent of economic development, Lori supervises the county's newly established economic development division. We are seeking to expand financial opportunities for local business owners by improving our Government Assistance Program and offering new micro and macro loan programs. Not only will the business community benefit from these initiatives, but with Lori leading our efforts, the entire community will benefit from these new opportunities in growth.
Peoria County is a leader in local government. We are conservative stewards of taxpayer dollars, responsive to the citizens we serve, and passionate about the community in which we live, work and play. What we bring to the community as a leader in local government, we believe Lori brings to us as a leader in our organization. iBi