Jim Larsen, alderman of Rolling Meadows' 7th Ward for more than seven years, announced Tuesday that he is moving from the city and must resign his seat.
Larsen said he and his wife, Deborah, are downsizing from their home in the Creekside neighborhood where they raised their four children and will move to Palatine.
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"Jim has been a rock up here," Mayor Tom Rooney said. "He has been one of the fellows that I can count on to make thoughtful and considerate decisions. He listens to his heart as well as his head."
Rooney said he will accept emails, letters and phone calls from 7th Ward residents interested in the position. Anyone who applies before the end of business Aug. 15 will get an interview with the mayor, who will present his choice to the city council for approval.
Larsen said he is proud that he was part of the reorganization that put the city back on track financially after difficulties that included losing Dominick's and Sam's Club, two large producers of sales tax. This was achieved to a large degree through tough decisions, and the city staff members get much of the credit, he said.
Larsen was on the losing side of two votes that he thinks were among his most important. He favored accepting a grant to help build a third fire station in 2010 and at about the same time wanted at least the city's nonunion employees to contribute more to their health care costs, as employees elsewhere were doing.
The saddest event during his service was the death of 3rd Ward Alderman Larry Buske.
The 63-year-old Larsen works in Internet technology and also works at Cabela's in Hoffman Estates.
"This has been one of the most tremendous honors of my life," Larsen said. "I have always been proud to say I am a member of the Rolling Meadows City Council. There has never been a time when any alderman took that title lightly or acted like he or she deserved better treatment than any other resident."