Trustee Connelly ends decades of service to Schaumburg
As she ends her nearly four decades of public service, colleagues are praising the many contributions Schaumburg Trustee Marge Connelly has made to her community.
Connelly retired last week after 24 years on the village board, and a total of 38 years of elected and appointed service to the village and Schaumburg Park District.
Connelly -- the only woman on the board for many years -- said she is at peace with her decision to step down.
"I'm going to miss it very much. It's been a huge part of my life," she said. "I want to do more traveling. I think the people we have on our village staff are extremely qualified and professional. I think the elected officials really want to do what's good for the community."
Fellow trustees said Connelly's insight and negotiation skills will be difficult to replace.
"It's been an honor to serve with you," senior Trustee George Dunham told Connelly. "It didn't take long to realize there was nothing that got past you. You were probably a major influence and made all of us better."
Trustee Frank Kozak said he has great respect for Connelly, especially as the number of their disagreeing votes demonstrated Schaumburg does not have a rubber-stamp village board.
"You have brought a lot to the table here and you're going to be missed," he said.
Mayor Tom Dailly said he often found Connelly the perfect person to bounce new ideas off.
And Village Manager Brian Townsend praised Connelly's ability to bring all of her experience -- personal, professional and governmental -- to the fore to ensure Schaumburg would be a better place.
"As village manager, I always appreciated your pragmatic approach to things," Townsend said. "You demonstrated a sincere appreciation for what we do."
Connelly said that for all her years of service, she found being the center of attention at the end of her last meeting unfamiliar.
"This is very weird. This is like being at a funeral and being in the casket," she joked.
Connelly intends to stay in the community where she raised her children -- remembering that she often had to duck out early from their school events and other activities when they were young to get to meetings.
A Schaumburg resident since 1972, Connelly served on the park district board from 1983 to 1995. She then spent a couple of years on the village's zoning board of appeals before joining the village board by appointment in 1997.
Connelly, who considers former mayor Al Larson a mentor, said her decades of civic involvement stretch back to when the community was still shedding its rural roots.
"Obviously, serving in this community during those years was unbelievable," she said.
Her final expression of gratitude, before receiving a standing ovation from those attending last week's meeting, was for those who'd hired her.
"Thank you to the voters for entrusting me with all this," Connelly said.
She has been succeeded on the board by former plan commission chairman and longtime zoning board of appeals member Jamie Clar, the only nonincumbent in the uncontested April 6 election.