Deputy Clerk Birdie Buerger is new to her Position, but not Lake Forest
She swapped her role at the Lake Forest Police Department with Beth Marquez.
Although new to her position as Lake Forest's deputy clerk, Catherine "Birdie" Buerger is likely a very familiar face to many in the city.
That is because prior to joining the City of Lake Forest, she worked for 17 years as the records supervisor for the Lake Forest Police Department.
Buerger's move to the city is actually a swap of sorts, with her predecessor now occupying her previous position.
"I had hit my peak as records supervisor, and Beth had hit her peak," Buerger explained of the reason for the switching of their roles. "I was looking for a new challenge."
After 14 years working at Lake Forest City Hall, Marquez agreed."I had hit a plateau where I couldn't take on anymore challenges," she said.
In preparation for the transition to their new roles, Buerger shadowed Marquez around City Hall for a few days a week and Marquez did the same with Buerger at the Police Department for another couple of days.
They both officially switched their positions Nov. 15, with Marquez swearing Buerger in as the new deputy clerk during that evening's city council meeting.
For Buerger, who has been exposed to law enforcement for almost her entire life, working at City Hall is a complete switch from what she has been accustomed to.
Her father, Charles Howe, served as lieutenant at the Lake Bluff Police Department until he retired 15 years ago.
Her husband, Joe Buerger, is the current Lake Forest police chief, and has worked his way up through the Lake Forest Police Department over the last 23 years.
"Birdie" Buerger, who grew up in Lake Bluff, and graduated from Woodlands Academy in 1987, had even planned to be a police officer, and earned a degree in criminal justice from Marquette University in 1991.
However, an injury prevented her from completing testing to become a police officer. So she decided to enter the business side of law enforcement, which proved to be an even more appropriate path once she and her husband began having children.
"I got the business of the police force, without having to work the midnight shift," she said.
Buerger said the transition to a non-police related role at Lake Forest City Hall has been a little strange, but she welcomes the challenge.
"To go from a position where you always know, to something completely new is such a challenge," she said, adding that one big difference she has noticed is the public she encounters at City Hall is generally happier than the people she saw at the police department.
Among her new responsibilities, Buerger is in charge of organizing and distributing city council meeting agendas and minutes, taking care of Freedom of Information Act requests, filing completed solicitor permits, and handing the birth certificates of those who have been born in Lake Forest over the past 10 years.
Buerger believes adding new blood to her current position, and her former one will only improve operations at both city hall and at the police department.
"I think it's going to make it better," she said. "I'm just going to be the one asking the questions for a while."