Ten-year veteran Tina Hill is the new chairman of the McHenry County Board, while Ken Koehler, who with eight years on the job was the longest serving chairman in the board's history, failed to get re-elected at Monday's board meeting.
The 24-member county board also picked longtime board member Jim Heisler as its new vice chairman, a post Heisler held from 2008 to 2010. John Jung Jr. had been vice chairman for the last two years.
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Hill, 52, of Woodstock, was first elected to the board in 2002. She most recently chaired the county's planning and development committee, and served on its building projects, and finance and audit committees. She declared her intention to seek the post in the summer.
"I think that I prevailed because I have worked with my colleagues and they know me and trust me. Even the new (county board members), I already knew a lot of them, and the ones I didn't, I introduced myself and offered my assistance right away," Hill said.
Koehler said he had mixed emotions about leaving the chairmanship. He touted the county's AAA bond rating and its fiscal strength, which allowed the board to forego a cost-of-living increase in its property tax levy request for 2013.
"What we did collectively is tremendous," he said. "I feel like I'm going out on a high and I wish Tina Hill the best."
In the first round of votes on Monday, Hill got 11 votes -- 2 short of the majority needed to secure the chairmanship -- while Koehler got six votes. Board member Ersel Schuster got four votes, and newly elected board member Joseph Gottemoller got three votes. In the second round, Hill secured three more votes.
Hill said she will focus on seeing through the creation of a unified development ordinance, and will also push for better transportation options, and work with state leaders to ensure local school districts aren't saddled with debt in an effort to reform the state's pension system.
Koehler said McHenry County needs strong representation in Springfield. "You need somebody strong to be there -- I was that, and I hope Tina Hill will be. That's where the rubber meets the road."