Saying he wants to return "good government" to his hometown, former Island Lake Mayor Charles Amrich on Thursday said he will run again for the job in 2013.
The town's leader from 1985 to 2005, Amrich has been back in the public eye recently as one of the more vocal opponents of a developing plan to build a new village hall in Water Tower Park. He called for a referendum that would let voters share their opinions of the proposal and was one of the volunteers who gathered petition signatures for the potential ballot question this month.
The petition has been challenged, so it's not yet clear if an advisory referendum will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot.
Amrich, 64, said the village hall plan was among the reasons he decided to seek re-election.
"They want to shove (the building) down taxpayers' throats," Amrich said, referring to current Mayor Debbie Herrmann and the village's trustees.
Amrich said he's also upset that village officials don't answer questions from the audience during the public comment section of board meetings. The tactic isn't uncommon, but Amrich insisted that wasn't how things were done when he was mayor.
"I think elected officials should respond," he said.
Herrmann was elected in 2009 and will run for a second term. A 52-year-old insurance agency owner, she said the work she wanted to undertake in her first term was "derailed" by political fighting.
Herrmann said she wants to focus on restructuring the Route 176 business corridor and the village hall construction project, among other efforts, if elected again.
Turning over the reins to a new mayor with a different vision for the town "would be a disservice to the community," she said.
Amrich, who now works as an automobile salesman, stepped down as mayor in 2005 to run for Wauconda Township supervisor. He lost.
Last year, he was found not guilty of official misconduct after he was charged in 2007 with allowing village-owned vehicles to be repaired at the gas station he formerly owned.
It took the Lake County jury less than two hours to exonerate Amrich. On Thursday, Amrich called the criminal allegations "bogus" and said they were manufactured to keep him out of politics.
"That was a very trying time in my life," he said. "It tied me up for four years."
But Amrich insisted he doesn't want people's sympathy.
"I want to put good government (back) in Island Lake," he said.
Three seats on the village board also will be up for election in spring 2013. The village clerk could be on the ballot, too, depending on whether voters in November decide the position should continue to be elected or if it should change to a staff job.