After serving for three terms years as village president in Lake in the Hills, Ed Plaza announced that he will not seek re-election, and one trustee is already gathering signatures to run for the post in April.
It's simply time to move on, said Plaza, 59, who was elected trustee in 1999 and village president two years later. He had a first, unsuccessful run for trustee in 1997.
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"I am not one who is in favor of someone holding a position ad infinitum," he said. "It's been an enjoyable time. I've basically done everything I've set out to accomplish. I don't think someone should just sit on things and just ride the coattails of past accomplishments."
Plaza said he'll continue to work as a personal injury lawyer for Michling, Hofmann, Plaza & Wick in Woodstock, and might draw upon his experience in office to delve into municipal law.
"I don't have future plans other than continue to show up at my law practice," he said, later joking, "I might be able now to work a little better on my handicap in golf."
He also said he's not interested in running for other political office. "Why would I be part of something when I was village president of Lake in the Hills? There is no other position I'd want."
Plaza and his wife, Karen, have lived in Lake in the Hills for more than two decades and just celebrated their 33rd wedding anniversary; they have two children.
During Plaza's time in office, Lake in the Hills became a home rule community, and got a new village hall, new public works facility, and an expanded police station, Plaza said in his announcement in the village's fall/winter newsletter.
Plaza said he helped the village become more business-friendly by pushing to combine the planning and zoning boards. The acquisition of a Costco store around 2002 was a cornerstone for economic development, he said.
He touted marked improvements in roads, water quality and safety, but also added that he alone can't take the credit. "There are a lot of people who helped all this be possible," he said.
His fondest memories are of visiting classrooms to talk about civics and local government, and attending graduations for the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program, Plaza said.
As for the most difficult time in his tenure, that's still to come, he said. "The last meeting will be the difficult one. I haven't missed a meeting in 14 years. I was elected do something and, come hell or high water, I'll be there."
Trustee Paul Mulcahy said he decided to run for village president after being asked to do so by people who knew Plaza wasn't going to run again.
Mulcahy, 60, a retired postal clerk, served on the village board from 1997 to 2001, then lost a re-election bid. He served as chairman of the planning and zoning commission from 2001 to 2007, when he ran again for trustee and has served since.
He has four kids, five grandkids and one great-granddaughter born this summer. His wife passed away a little more than a year ago.
"I've got the time to make a greater commitment to the village and I'm willing to do that. I've been a part of village government since 1995 in one form or another (via serving on ad hoc committees). I think I would do a good job as village president," he said.
Mulcahy said he doesn't want to "upset the apple cart."
"Things are going well (in Lake in the Hills). My biggest intention would be to try to continue that. I don't think we need a lot of change," he said. "My focus would be to try to position us as the economy improves."