Lake in the Hills Trustee Russ Ruzanski says his community service record and the need for a fresh perspective are why voters chose him to lead the village for the next four years.
Ruzanski defeated one-term incumbent Village President Paul Mulcahy by 318 votes Tuesday, unofficial results show.
"They know me as a man with honesty and integrity," said Ruzanski, 70, a retired sales manager for Coca-Cola Chicago who has served as village trustee since 2011. "The climate was ready for possibly some new ways of looking at things. I touched a right note there."
Ruzanski has served on several village committees, including the veteran's memorial, volunteered with the Lake in the Hills Rotary for Ribfest, at soup kitchens and the local food pantry.
Among the issues he campaigned on was the lack of diversity on the village board.
Ruzanski criticized Mulcahy for not appointing any women to board vacancies. He will have the opportunity to appoint a successor to fill the remaining two years of his trustee term.
"I want some opinions from the other side of the table, meaning the female gender," Ruzanski said. "I know we have some good resumes on file that were kind of passed over the last time."
Mulcahy, who previously served 10 years as village trustee, could not be reached Wednesday for comment about his loss.
Ruzanski said his other priority is ensuring the village is not spending down its $8 million in reserves.
"I've never been happy with the fact that we have found it necessary to move funds from other areas to the general fund to make everything balanced," Ruzanski said. "You can't do that without risking something in the future. Our capital fund expenses are going to be higher starting next year. We will have to replace police cars and public works vehicles. Those are rather large expenditures. The bottom line is we either have to increase our income or cut our expenditures."
Once he takes office, Ruzanski said he will ask department heads to reduce their budgets by 5 percent for next year.
He also wants more transparency with the village board and public on economic development efforts. He and Mulcahy differed on how successful those efforts have been since the village hired a new coordinator.
"I want to see more reporting from community development, more accountability," Ruzanski said. "You are not judged on the effort. You are judged on the results."