Wauconda politics hampering finance director search

Updated 2/4/2015 4:41 PM

Wauconda's search for a new finance director has once again come up empty -- and Village Administrator Doug Maxeiner is blaming the village's turbulent political climate.

The village has been without a finance chief since Zaida Torres left under mysterious and still-unexplained circumstances in July 2013. Torres, who also had served as village administrator, was a target of then-newly elected Mayor Frank Bart, and she left village hall for good after a meeting with him.


Torres subsequently was hired by the Central Lake County Joint Action Water Agency.

In July 2014, the village board hired a Northbrook firm called Vorhees Associates to recruit a new finance director. The company was to be paid $10,000 plus up to $4,000 in expenses for its work.

During Tuesday's village board meeting, Maxeiner said the company found a candidate who officials liked. But the unidentified applicant withdrew from consideration after researching Wauconda and learning about the political issues that have pitted some outspoken residents against Bart and divided the community since he took office.

"Local politics is having an impact on this," Maxeiner told the board.

It's the second time a candidate for the job has withdrawn because of local politics.

Trustee Ken Arnswald said he knows the candidate and agreed that politics was a factor. The candidate also was concerned about job security, with a mayoral election just two years away, Arnswald said.

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In light of this latest candidate's decision, Maxeiner plans to put the search on hold temporarily.

"I'd like to let that job cool for a couple months and let this sit until May," he said.

He also urged village officials to create a more professional operation.

Maxeiner said he and other village staffers will continue to handle the tasks normally assigned to a finance director, such as budget planning.

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