Facing ouster, Mundelein Trustee Dakotah Norton quits

Facing removal from Mundelein's village board due to repeated absences, Trustee Dakotah Norton resigned Monday.

In a statement released on Facebook, Norton said he had “many dreams and visions” when he ran for the board in 2015 but has since discovered that “government is not the fast-paced fun machine I once thought it was.”

“There is no room on the inside for someone who wants real change in the short-term,” Norton wrote.

Norton published the statement just hours before the other trustees were to vote on a measure removing him from office due to lack of attendance at meetings.

Mayor Steve Lentz accused Norton of abandoning his post by not attending a board meeting since March 27. Norton didn't appear at Monday's meeting, either.

Norton's statement didn't address the absences. It did, however, address Norton's 2015 drunken-driving arrest in Vernon Hills and advice he received at that time.

“After my DUI, somebody told me that if I cared about the village more than myself, I would resign,” Norton wrote. “That sentiment took a long time to resonate within me and I want to do the best thing for the village as a whole.”

Norton closed his statement by quoting Douglas Adams' novel “So Long, And Thanks for all the Fish” and Ozzy Osbourne's song “Crazy Train.” He didn't identify either source.

Lentz read the entire statement at the start of Monday's board meeting. Immediately afterward, the board voted to accept the resignation.

Under state law, municipal officials have the power to decide if a seat has been abandoned and is vacant.

Mundelein's village board meets on the second and fourth Mondays of each month. Norton skipped every meeting in April and May as well as the June 12 gathering.

Lentz personally had Norton sign a printed copy of the Facebook statement Monday afternoon to make the resignation official. Lentz said Norton “did the right thing” by resigning.

“I sincerely wish him all the best in the future,” Lentz said.

Trustee Dawn Abernathy, whose relationship with Norton was so adversarial their seats on the boardroom dais had to be separated, said she hopes he finds “what will make him happy.”

“Obviously, being a trustee didn't,” Abernathy said.

It's now up to Lentz and the board to appoint a replacement to finish Norton's term, which ends in spring 2019. Lentz said he has 60 days to nominate a candidate and for the board to vote.

“I've already started receiving names,” Lentz said. “I've already started speaking to people.”

Despite being absent from village hall, Norton continued to be paid as a trustee, officials said. Trustees collect a $9,336 annual salary and are paid $778 at the beginning of each month, regardless of meeting or event attendance, according to the village's human resources department.

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Embattled Mundelein Trustee Dakotah Norton resigned Monday, just hours before the village board was to consider declaring his seat abandoned and begin the process of finding someone else to fill it. Courtesy of Milamemories Photography
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