Lake County Board, forest district keep top leaders
The leaders of the Lake County Board and the forest preserve district received unanimous thumbs-up from colleagues Monday and will serve another two years in their respective posts.
As expected, there were no challengers as Aaron Lawlor was elected by peers to his third term as county board chairman, and Ann Maine won a fourth term as forest district president. The 21 county board members double as forest board commissioners and select their leaders every two years after the fall election.
Also, Carol Calabresa of Libertyville will remain as county board vice chairman and Linda Pedersen of Antioch again will serve as forest district board vice president after unanimous votes during special meetings of both elected bodies.
Lawlor, 34, of Vernon Hills, was the youngest board member when he was appointed to a vacancy in 2009 representing the 18th District. He assumed the chairmanship in 2012 by unseating veteran David Stolman, the current county treasurer.
He is "incredibly knowledgeable in the workings of government," works tirelessly and doesn't back down from tough decisions, board member Craig Taylor said in nominating Lawlor.
Lawlor easily won re-election to his board seat last month. Knocking on doors was an "incredibly challenging, interesting, invigorating and rewarding" experience and a reminder the board needs to be "as responsive as we possibly can" to constituents, he said after accepting the top post.
Finding solutions for mental health issues is the board's biggest moral imperative, but also the most solvable problem going forward, he said.
"Our efforts to invest in people are critical," Lawlor said.
Other key issues include; economic development and a workforce system to create multiple talent pipelines; continued consolidation of government in areas such as 911 dispatch; and, financial responsibility, particularly in light of endangered state funds that account for nearly a quarter of the county's $500 million budget.
Maine, a Lincolshire resident, has been on the board since 2002. She is a birder, biker and hiker known for getting out in the field and is nearing her goal of walking every forest preserve.
"It's such a fabulous way to see Lake County, not just the land but the people," she said.
Colleagues noted Maine's passion for the job.
"Ann listens to the community and goes out of her way to make sure their concerns are addressed," said board member Audrey Nixon. "The Lake County Forest Preserves is not a job for Ann, it's her passion."
Looking ahead, Maine said the district's continued application of its 100-year vision and maintaining what has been done without "backsliding" are goals.