Six Lombard trustees trying Thursday night to choose an acting village president to serve until the April election rejected motions nominating four out of the six of them before postponing the matter to a later meeting.
Votes to choose trustees Zachary Wilson, Greg Gron, Laura Fitzpatrick and Bill Ware to handle the role previously filled by Village President William J. "Bill" Mueller, who died Aug. 18., were rejected. Trustees also turned down a motion to take turns serving as acting chairperson on a monthly rotating basis.
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Fitzpatrick cast the deciding vote in favor of addressing the issue at a later date on the condition that a special meeting will be called as soon as a consensus develops.
She and Trustee Peter Breen said the village needs to appoint steady leadership as soon as possible to deal with development, relations with neighboring municipalities and issues that reach the state level.
"I have no intention of playing hopscotch with this position," Fitzpatrick said. "The village needs a guardian and a leader."
Trustees Keith Giagnorio and Bill Ware supported the idea of rotating as chairperson to give each member of the village board experience in the leadership role.
"If we got on a monthly basis, we can better learn the system," Ware said. "I believe we can be better trustees long term by giving us an interim experience for that 30 days."
Breen suggested trustees return their pay until they are able to appoint either an acting village president or an acting chairman. He said trustees aren't doing their job by failing to choose a successor to Mueller. Although the idea of returning pay to the village had some support, it wasn't brought to a vote.
Before trustees could even get down to business for the first time after Mueller's death, they had to pick a temporary president to lead Thursday night's meeting.
The discussion proved a preview of a later debate and resulted in Gron's name being chosen from a hat to serve as the leader of the meeting.
As trustees worked to choose an acting president, some wanted to ensure no advantage is given to anyone who plans to run for village president in the April election. Wilson and Giagnorio said they plan on running for the seat, while Gron, Ware and Fitzpatrick said they do not. Breen did not indicate either way whether he plans on seeking the village's top elected post.