City of Elgin Announces Leadership Changes, Hiring Opportunity

City of Elgin Announces Leadership Changes, Hiring Opportunity


The city of Elgin announced two leadership changes this week.

Interim Fire Chief Robert Cagann has been appointed fire chief, and Assistant City Manager Laura Valdez will step down.

The city is seeking candidates to fill the assistant city manage position.

Cagann Appointed Fire Chief

Interim Fire Chief Robert Cagann has been appointed fire chief, effective immediately.

Robert Cagann

With 27 years of experience with the Elgin Fire Department, Cagann will lead the department of 133 fire and emergency personnel at seven fire stations within the 38 square miles of Elgin and with an annual operating budget of nearly $30 million.

“I am so honored to serve as Elgin’s new fire chief,” Cagann said. “The citizens of Elgin have the best fire and emergency medical services you can find, and I look forward to leading this department to further define excellence in the industry.”

Cagann was hired as a firefighter in 1993 and promoted to lieutenant in 2001, captain in 2008 and battalion chief in 2015. He was then appointed to assistant fire chief in 2017 at the onset of David Schmidt’s chief tenure.

During that time, Cagann lead the department’s training division for 15 years, during which time the department instituted new programs such as firefighter rescue. Cagann created a comprehensive high-rise response plan, and most recently, he has worked with the Elgin Police Department in the development of a rescue task force program to address hostile threat incidents.

“Cagann has distinguished himself as an integral leader in the efficiencies and advancements the fire department is practicing,” City Manager Rick Kozal said. “I am confident he will continue to build upon the fire department’s solid reputation for operational excellence.”

Valdez Steps Down From Role of Assistant City Manager

Assistant City Manager Laura Valdez will step down from her role at the city of Elgin to accept a position in the nonprofit sector. Her last day will be Friday, Feb. 14. The city will conduct a search to fill the position.

Laura Valdez

“It is bittersweet to close this chapter in Elgin, as it has been such a privilege to work for the city and serve the community,” Valdez said. “I am proud to have worked with tremendously dedicated staff, City Council and people in the community who all have the same goal — to make Elgin the best place for all to live, do business and grow. Elgin truly is a special place and no doubt continues to have a bright future, particularly with such talented leaders at the helm.”

Valdez has served the city of Elgin since 2013, when she began as an intern in the human resources department. Working through the organization, she spent the last two years as the assistant city manager where she focused on building organizational capacity to meet the future needs of the community.

Since her start, Valdez’s work has included serving on the city’s executive budget team, implementing key technology initiatives, development of the diversity and inclusion framework, and oversight of capital planning, strategic communication and organizational development.

Valdez’s work has also reached into the community over the years with special initiatives such as work with human service agencies during the State budget impasse, realigning the community’s approach to addressing homelessness, Alignment Collaborative for Education and Elgin’s Census 2020 campaign.

“Elgin has greatly benefitted from Ms. Valdez’s commitment to enhancing the organization’s operational efficiencies and strengthening the bonds between community stakeholders,” Kozal said. “I fully expect to learn of similar success in her future endeavors.”

For more information, please contact Communications Manager Molly Gillespie at 847-931-5613 or visit

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