Arlene Mulder, the longest serving village president of Arlington Heights, will not seek re-election when her term is up in 2013.
Mulder, first elected to mayor in 1993, told the village board during executive session Tuesday night of her plans to retire in May.
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Mulder, 67, sat down with the Daily Herald after her announcement to discuss her time as mayor and what she'll do next.
"It's been a difficult decision because I love working with people and I love this community," she said. "My gratitude first and foremost is always to the residents who make this community so wonderful."
Mulder has spent 34 years in public service as a park district commissioner, village trustee and village president. Before entering public service, Mulder was a teacher and a coach.
She said she works 60 hours a week trying to do everything she can for the community and is a member of several regional and national leadership groups, including the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
"My family has been on hold," Mulder said of her husband, three children and five grandchildren whom she said she often doesn't get to see as much as she would like because of her busy schedule.
Mulder said telling her co-workers and fellow trustees was emotional.
"She has been an energetic advocate for the people and businesses of Arlington Heights," said Village Manager Bill Dixon in a statement. "Together with her colleagues on the Village Board, Mayor Mulder has effectively addressed challenging issues such as Downtown redevelopment, upgrading village facilities and the continued provision of village services during difficult economic times."
Her announcement comes as nominating petitions for the April 9, 2013, municipal elections are now available, though Village Clerk Becky Hume said no one has picked up a packet to run for village president yet. Bert Rosenburg, Thomas Glasgow and Norman Breyer have picked up packets to run for re-election as village trustees, she said.
Mulder said she hasn't yet heard of any possible candidates to follow in her footsteps.
"I trust the community. There's always someone. I hope it's someone with passion and heart for this town," she said.
Mulder said she's looking forward to enjoying her next seven months on the village board, but she doesn't have any big plans for retirement other than spending time with her family and enjoying the community in Arlington Heights.
"I'm not going anywhere. I love Arlington Heights too much," Mulder said. "I'll still be around in the community for a long time."