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updated: 1/21/2014 5:13 PM

Lake Zurich fills vacant village board seat

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  • Steve O'Connor

    Steve O'Connor


Longtime Lake Zurich resident Steve O'Connor has been tapped to fill a vacant village board seat.

Village board trustees Monday night ratified Mayor Thomas Poynton's appointment of O'Connor to a term that'll run until April 30, 2015. O'Connor replaces Trustee Dana Rzeznik, who cited a heavier workload for her job with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency when she resigned Dec. 2.

O'Connor, a 22-year Lake Zurich resident, has spent a majority of his professional career in the medical devices industry working closely with cardiac surgery teams across the United States. He also owned a medical distributorship that he sold in 2007.

As for volunteer and leadership roles within the community, O'Connor's resume includes 17 years as a Lake Zurich Baseball and Softball Association coach and manager and six years as a religious education teacher at St. Francis de Sales Parish.

Poynton said O'Connor, 49, stood out from other trustee applicants for several reasons.

"He has been an active member of the community and has a long history of community involvement," Poynton said Tuesday. "Additionally, he is a former business owner who knows what it takes to own and operate a successful business. My early take is that he will fit in with the positive energy that the other board members and staff have. I think that he is a great fit for the team and all the things we are trying to accomplish."

O'Connor said top issues for him include downtown redevelopment and $28 million in associated debt for the long-stalled effort, as well as the idea of bringing a Lake Michigan drinking water pipeline to the village.

"I have always felt that if you complain, you can contribute," O'Connor said.

Rzeznik joined the village board after Suzanne Branding, who was a trustee, won a three-way race and replaced John Tolomei as mayor in 2009. Rzeznik was appointed to fill the final two years of Branding's trustee term and won election to a four-year seat in 2011.

Poynton, who defeated Branding in the April 2013 election, said O'Connor came out ahead after 11 residents inquired in various ways about filling the remainder of Rzeznik's term.

"It's such a great community," said O'Connor, a married father of five children. "My main goal is just to serve it."

Twitter: @DHBobSusnjara

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