New Sensation with Brian Southey, City of Bloomington, IL

Posted on June 17, 2013

Since ELGL is not a big fan of icebreakers and since we would rather not know what animal you want to be, this blog feature will serve as a means of introducing new members. While you won’t learn about their favorite animal, you will learn about their ideal Sunday morning, which dead people would they FaceTime with, and which song best describes their life.


Name: Brian SoutheyBrian Southey

Education: University of Illinois Springfield, Master of Public Administration (MPA), Public Administration and Illinois State University Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Political Science and Government

Current Position: Management Intern at City of Bloomington, IL

Previous Employment: Technical Assistant, City of Bloomington, IL and Ground Water Section Intern, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (Bureau of Water)

Connect: LinkedIn


Tell us about three projects that you are working on.

Establishing a new emerald ash borer (insect which inhabits and kills ash trees) policy for the City of Bloomington.  For the last 4 years the City operated under a policy which focused on removing ash trees in the City as they became infected and eventually removing all City owned ash trees.  The new policy focuses on treating healthy ash trees remaining in the area.  While the treatment is only temporary, it will help to preserve the urban canopy for some time.

I have just finished a project for the City Manager and Council to review, weighing the options for the restoration of the local Vietnam and Korean War Veteran’s Memorial.  The monument had a bronze sculpture of an eternal flame when it was original installed, which had been removed in an act of vandalism.  At the request of members of the council I researched the possibility of installing an actual eternal flame on the monument.  I weighed the cost, maintenance, and liability and have just recently submitted my final thoughts.

I am currently working with the Division Superintendents in our Department to try and move records from filing cabinets to computers. This will allow the files to be accessed by everyone in the Department that may need them.  As a Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Arts Department we have a number of facilities in our Department that are scattered across the City. Each facility has its own filing system, the number of facilities include; golf courses, zoo, performing arts center, park maintenance facilities, and more.  On too many occasions multiple people need access to a file but there is only one copy stuck on a random shelf in someone’s office. I am working with the Superintendents to collect years of documents such as project manuals, blueprints, operation & maintenance manuals, and more.  As the files are collected they are being filed in central location on the City server, where they may be easily accessed by all who need them.

Your mentors:

My parents, who have been together for over thirty years and instilled in me a love for family & friends, good music, great food, passion for the outdoors, and a hard work ethic.

Describe the inside of your car.

I usually attempt to keep it clean.  However there are a few constants: a lot of CD’s stuck in every conceivable crevice, coffee cups, and the back always possesses some camping gear from my last trip to Shawnee National Forest.

Most recent concert you attended:



Last Saturday I attended a free outdoor concert on our downtown square put on by the local radio station WGLT featuring Pokey LaFarge, Peter Karp & Sue Foley, and Guy Forsythe.

If you could only visit five websites for the next year, which ones would you choose?

(Complete the sentence) Before I die I want to…

Hike the Appalachian Trail

Best career accomplishment.

I am extremely proud that I was able to help the City to change its policy on the emerald ash borer and as a result save numerous trees in area.

Nothing compares however to the joy I received when I proposed to my fiancé this past winter on a local TV spot and she said yes! In the career that is my life she is the best part of me.

Article: She Said Yes! Televised Super Bowl Proposal Shocks Bride to Be

Favorite TV show: Parks and Recreation, House of Cards, or other

Don’t know if I could pick between Parks and Recreation, Mad Men, or Breaking Bad

What song best describes your life?

Life is Beautiful – Ryan Adams



Suggest two or three topics for the ELGL annual conference.

Where do small town governments start a public-private partnership?

How to build community awareness on the topic of sustainable communities?

If you could FaceTime or Skype with three people either dead or alive, who would they be?

Bob Dylan

Abraham Lincoln

Ted Williams

Favorite thing to do on a Sunday morning:

Sleeping in with my fiancé and then cooking biscuits and gravy.

(Complete the sentence) Government is…..

at the beginning of large changes and will continue in this rapid evolution for the foreseeable future.

(Complete the sentence) ELGL is …..

an opportunity for enthusiastic local leaders to meet, share stories & ideas, grow their network, and become stronger members of their respected communities.

What’s the meaning of life?

To establish a group of friends & family with whom you create love, give love, and can be loved.

What question(s) should I have asked you?

Why did you choose government work?

I believe it is a career path where someone can make a difference for the better.

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