SAVOY — When he was a toddler, Christopher Walton and his mom would sit in entrance of a tape recorder as he learn tales out loud. Then they’d ship the tapes out within the mail.
Quickly, he’d get a response within the type of a tape from his father together with a postcard from a faraway place. Typically, he may hear waves crashing within the background as his dad, a naval officer, learn the story whereas out at sea.
It was about doing “something and every thing you are able to do to make a deployment really feel much less distanced than it was,” Walton stated. “It’s issues you are able to do to maintain being a household, regardless that conditions could change.”
Many years later, Savoy’s new village administrator seems again at these care packages fondly and with a way of satisfaction. To him, they’re an emblem of the sacrifices his household made within the identify of public service.
That want to serve others by no means left him, and as he went by means of school, finally receiving a grasp’s diploma in public coverage and public administration from Nationwide Louis College, he searched for methods he may serve others.
He additionally found he had a knack for managing folks and negotiating their variations.
“You’re at all times working with folks with completely different backgrounds and completely different expertise and wishes, and also you’re looking for the harmonious strategy to get folks to maneuver in the identical route, and so they could have completely different causes for doing that,” Walton stated. “I at all times discovered that attention-grabbing.”
Working for native governments, Walton discovered his path. He labored in Lake and DuPage counties earlier than coming to Champaign to work as assistant to Metropolis Supervisor Dorothy David. It was a place David knew Walton wouldn’t occupy for lengthy.
“Christopher has not been within the local-government career for a lot of, a few years, however we may inform from the second we met him that he had a promising profession in metropolis administration,” David stated. “He was vivid, he understood how the method works, he understood that our job was to serve the neighborhood by being aware of elected officers. He was at all times an individual that was destined to be in an government position.”
Walton didn’t need to reveal his age, however he admits he’s comparatively younger in comparison with the everyday metropolis supervisor. However his persona, capability to steer and understanding of his position belies his youthful years.
At a current village board assembly, he was assertive when responding to Village President Joan Dykstra’s remark that metropolis workers shouldn’t be shamed for catching COVID-19, saying his insurance policies on harassment are clear and that “I can’t stand for that” form of conduct.
Throughout his first month on the job, he put collectively an official COVID-19 coverage for the village authorities, which he stated was extra to memorialize what Savoy has already put in place slightly than to create new coverage.
Village officers stated in Walton’s first month, he solely bolstered the explanations he was employed from a nationwide search.
Dykstra stated his familiarity with the neighborhood and expertise working with the village whereas an administrator in Champaign is a plus, nevertheless it wasn’t the explanation he was employed. In interviews, he impressed these in attendance along with his poise and understanding of the position.
Dykstra, who’s retiring in Might, stated she’ll drive by the village’s administrative constructing late at evening and see his automotive nonetheless within the car parking zone.
“We interviewed folks from different states, so I used to be like, ‘Wow, what are the possibilities that the one that would be the greatest for us going ahead lived proper right here?’” she stated. “He’s placing in lengthy hours, that’s for positive. … He researches a problem extensively earlier than he makes choices. That, mixed with being a collaborator and having a workforce method, has simply made transferring ahead a lot simpler.”
Whereas he’s comfy main, Walton isn’t essentially comfy within the highlight. When requested to speak about himself, he expressed discomfort with the idea. That is smart, David stated, given the position of a village supervisor, an apolitical place.
“We serve to implement the imaginative and prescient of our elected officers,” David stated. “My job and Christopher’s job is to not set the imaginative and prescient for our neighborhood, nevertheless it’s to know the place council needs to take our neighborhood and make that occur. … Christopher goes to make an amazing metropolis supervisor as a result of he has that humility and he understands that the council leads and the staff get the job carried out.”
The selflessness wanted for the job is just one thing ingrained in him, he stated. When he thinks about these tapes he and his father despatched forwards and backwards, they’re greater than a fond household reminiscence. They’re a reminder of people that put their neighborhood above themselves.
“It’s humbling to know that I used to be in a position to have that upbringing with such superior dad and mom who had been doing superb issues and had been doing it selflessly,” Walton stated. “That’s how all this began, and it’s constructed who I’m.”