With his third term on the Wheaton City Council coming to an end, Tom Mouhelis says he's ready to take a long-awaited vacation.
The 66-year-old councilman, who has represented the East District since 2001, announced Thursday that he won't seek re-election in the spring. Instead, he will step down when his current term expires in May.
Mouhelis, a retired Air Force veteran who spent 30 years in the service, said his decision was influenced by two medical scares this year involving his wife.
"We haven't taken a real vacation since the 1990s," he said. "I think it's time."
While Mouhelis has been approached by residents who have asked him to seek re-election, he said 12 years is enough.
During his tenure, Mouhelis was the first councilman to put his home phone number on his city council business card. He also pushed for Wheaton to do some kind of recognition service for all returning war veterans.
Since 2003, the city has honored more than 30 veterans during council meetings. "The hard part for me is that we also had five moments of silence," Mouhelis said, referring to the five Wheaton residents who died since Sept. 11, 2001, while serving in the military.
In terms of development, Mouhelis says he's pleased with progress in revitalizing the city's downtown. For example, he said, recently approved plans for a luxury apartment complex downtown should benefit the entire community.
In addition, Mouhelis said he's proud of Wheaton's outstanding bond rating. "We've been frugal," he said. "We haven't done things that don't make any sense."
When asked what he's going to miss most about not being an elected official, Mouhelis said it's going to be the regular interaction with residents and city employees.
"I am going to miss not being able to help people as a city councilman," he said, adding that his home number is still listed in the phone book. "I tell people that if you can spell my name, you can find me."