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updated: 7/31/2012 2:49 PM

Rabattini won't run for a second term on Island Lake board

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  • Island Lake Trustee Laurie Rabattini

      Island Lake Trustee Laurie Rabattini

 
 

Controversial Island Lake Trustee Laurie Rabattini said she will not seek re-election in 2013.

Rabattini cited the unspecified illness that has dogged her since she joined the board in 2009 as the primary factor.

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"I have a few months on my term, and given my condition and my own personal goals, I will not be engaging in any future elections," Rabattini told the Daily Herald in an email exchange about her political future.

Rabattini's health issues have caused her to miss more board meetings than any other trustee. This year, she's only attended six of 15 meetings, and missed all of the meetings held in June and July.

The condition has resulted in multiple surgeries and hospital stays, Rabattini said.

"I had no idea when I ran that I was sick, or once sworn in that this was going to be a long-term issue," she said.

Rabattini ran for office after gaining a following in the community as a blogger writing about local issues. She continued blogging after she was elected but stopped earlier this year because of her health concerns.

It recently was resurrected by a different author, with Rabattini's blessing.

At the start of her term, Rabattini was part of a vocal opposition bloc that was critical of Mayor Debbie Herrmann and the town's administrators on subjects including the village's finances, staffing decisions and police operations.

But since they only were three members, they rarely had enough votes to successfully push their agenda.

That changed in early 2011 when a onetime Herrmann ally, Donna O'Malley, split with the mayor and started voting with Rabattini and the other critics, John Ponio and Don Saville. They eventually adopted a number of policies designed to reduce Herrmann's mayoral powers.

Herrmann sued the four trustees, saying the moves were illegal. The case eventually was settled and the efforts were reversed, but not before the fight cost the village tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees and worsened a political divide that already had marred the community.

Ponio and Saville didn't seek re-election in 2011 and were replaced on the board. O'Malley quit this year, leaving Rabattini the last remaining member of the briefly powerful group.

Rabattini believes she could have accomplished more as a trustee if her health had been better.

"I haven't soured on village politics," she said. "Politics is in my DNA, but unfortunately so is illness, and right now it is winning."

When asked about Rabattini's decision not to seek re-election, Herrmann said she believes Rabattini's political intentions were good. Although they disagreed about many issues, Herrmann said, they agreed on others.

"I wish her well," Herrmann said. "I hope she regains her health."

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