The chairman of the board of directors at Chicago Executive Airport, Robert McKenzie, announced Thursday he is stepping down, effective immediately.
McKenzie sent his letter of resignation to Wheeling Village President Dean Argiris and Prospect Heights Mayor Nick Helmer Thursday morning.
He cited increased obligations at his law practice as his reason for leaving the board.
"I have concluded that I can no longer simultaneously manage my practice and my appointed position as chairman. Please accept my resignation," McKenzie said in his letter.
Argiris says McKenzie has been talking about resigning for the past two or three months after moving from Wheeling to Downers Grove.
"It was just time for a change, and he recognized that as well," Argiris said.
McKenzie has served as board chairman since November 2013.
"It's disappointing to lose a good person like Bob, but life goes on," Helmer said. "He was efficient and attentive and a person who listed to the board."
The next board chairman will be appointed by Argiris and Helmer, as the airport sits on land in Wheeling and Prospect Heights and is jointly owned by the two towns. Both agree they could fill the position in the next 30 days.
"The board can function without a chairman, at least temporarily," Helmer said.
A job description will be drawn up and posted online, and Argiris said they'll likely look at a mid-March application deadline.
The leaders of both municipalities say a good candidate for the position will have aviation knowledge, a business background and the ability to work with several governing bodies including the Federal Aviation Administration, Illinois Department of Transportation and the airport board of directors.
Argiris said the mayors don't have anyone in mind to fill the position.
McKenzie's appointment to board chairman in 2013 was noted as a milestone in ending a squabbling match between the two municipalities over the airport. They had disagreed on issues including who the chairman would be and where sales tax money collected on the Wheeling side of the airport should go.
Helmer says he doesn't expect past disagreements to taint the ability to appoint a new chairman.
"We have worked very closely in the last five years," Helmer said. "I can't say the relationship between Prospect Heights and Wheeling has always been that way, but it has been since Dean and I took over."