Skokie appoints park district trustee as village clerk

After 15 applicants submitted their names and five finalists were interviewed, Skokie Mayor George Van Dusen appointed a new village clerk at Monday’s Village Board of Trustees meeting.

Minal Desai, the vice president of the Skokie Park District Board, was chosen as the next clerk for the village of Skokie. The position was held previously by Pramod Shah, who was clerk from 2013 to December of 2023 when he announced his retirement.

“I really did have something written up, but I honestly can’t even get the words out,” Desai said, moments after being sworn in by Cook County Circuit Court Judge Michael Weaver. “I’m going to do my best and work really hard.”

“Minal has had an extensive involvement in public affairs in Skokie over many years, including five years on the Skokie Park District… Her business experience coupled with her impressive civic engagement makes her highly qualified and it’s my pleasure to nominate her for village clerk,” said Van Dusen.

In Skokie, the village clerk is an elected full-time position with four-year terms and earns $87,000 a year, according to the village’s director of communications. Because the outgoing clerk announced his retirement in the middle of his term, the mayor had to appoint his successor and the village board had to approve the mayor’s decision, per the village code.

The board voted almost unanimously to accept Van Dusen’s appointment, with Trustee James Johnson recusing himself from the vote, citing his conflict because he also applied for the position and plans to run for the clerk position when it’s up for election in 2025.

“I welcome you wholeheartedly,” Johnson said to Desai.

Trustee Ralph Klein said, “Of all the applicants that I read, she’s the most qualified. (Desai) is the best person for the job.”

According to Desai’s application, she is the vice president of the Skokie Park District board and also has worked for a Chicago logistics company since 2019. Before that, she was a business consultant in the Skokie area for nine years, according to the application. She said she speaks six languages, including Gujarati, Spanish, Punjabi, Hindu and Urdu.

In Skokie, the village clerk is responsible for all matters involving elections, according to the village’s website. The clerk can register voters and process requests for lost voter registration, among other duties. The village clerk can also help residents with referrals to the village’s agencies.