Wauconda Trustee Teri Burke quits village board without explanation

Updated 9/5/2014 10:24 PM
  • Teri Burke

    Teri Burke

Wauconda Village Trustee Teri Burke resigned without explanation Friday, effective immediately.

"It is with mixed emotions that I have made the difficult decision to step down as trustee," Burke said in an email to the Daily Herald.

Burke didn't give a reason for her decision. She didn't respond to interview requests.

Burke was elected to a 4-year term in 2013. She was the only trustee hopeful on Mayor Frank Bart's slate of candidates to win a seat on the panel.

When asked about Burke's resignation, Bart issued a brief statement via email.

"Teri is a dear friend," he said. "My family and I love her and her family, and I respect her decision."

Bart said Burke told him she was quitting Friday morning in a face-to-face meeting. He said her reasons were "personal," and he wouldn't elaborate.

Other officials learned about Burke's resignation throughout the day.

"I'm sorry to see her go," Trustee Linda Starkey said. "She's sharp, energetic and just a nice person. I'm going to miss her."

The past year has been a difficult one for Wauconda's elected leaders.

Bart's dismissal of ex-Police Chief Douglas Larsson, the temporary collapse of a plan to bring Lake Michigan drinking water to town and other controversies have led to outspoken public dissatisfaction with village hall.

Most recently, officials and residents have squared off over the uncertain future of the police department's 911 center. Village Administrator Doug Maxeiner has been investigating shutting down the center and outsourcing the service. That proposal has been widely opposed in town.

In her email to the media, Burke thanked Bart, her fellow trustees and the village staff "for their dedication and hard work."

"I would also like to thank the people of Wauconda," she wrote. "It has been an honor and a privilege to serve my community."

Trustee Ken Arnswald said he was upset and disappointed by Burke's resignation. He then criticized the increasing antagonism board members have faced from some members of the public at meetings.

"It's just gotten personal, and I don't like it," Arnswald said.

As news of Burke's resignation spread Friday, some Wauconda residents shared kind words about her on social media.

"(She) always greeted people with a warm smile and took time to listen," resident Steven Schaefer said on Facebook.

"A definite loss for the people of Wauconda," resident Tim Howe said on Facebook. "Teri was doing a terrific job and will be missed."

Bart can nominate someone to replace Burke on the board. The other trustees must approve the recommendation.

If someone is appointed to the vacancy, the post will be up for election in spring 2015.

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