Buffalo Grove board delivers fond farewell to Berman

Buffalo Grove Village President Beverly Sussman, trustees and leaders of the Buffalo Grove Days Committee treated the village's senior trustee to a rousing send-off Monday.

Trustee Jeffrey Berman, who has served on the board since 1999 and opted not to seek re-election this year, was feted at a reception prior to Monday's village board meeting.

Sussman presented Berman with gifts, and the Buffalo Grove Days Committee had a special surprise, announcing that he will serve as grand marshal of the annual festival's parade.

“I guess we're not going away for Labor Day,” Berman quipped to his wife, Jane.

Sussman also read a proclamation commending Berman for his years of service, “as well as serving as an inspiration for all of those who seek to make the Village of Buffalo Grove a strong and more vibrant community.”

The village will miss “his counsel, wit and candor,” the proclamation states.

Several trustees addressed Berman with individual tributes.

“It's hard to imagine a village board without you,” Trustee Lester Oppenheimer III said. “Your service has been a priceless gift to the village. You have shared with us your quick mind, your keen insight and your strong leadership.”

Ottenheimer hailed Berman's ability to get to the heart of an issue “in a mere nanosecond.”

Trustee David Weidenfeld said he and Berman were not the best of friends at first, but they bridged the gap, “because the bigger goal was the welfare of the village.”

Trustee Joanne Johnson mentioned Berman's hard work and countless hours behind the scenes.

“One of my favorite aspects of the Berman years has been your ability to analyze an issue, distill it down to its essence and then write a review so long and detailed that some of us have begun calling them screeds,” she said.

When it was Berman's turn to speak, he responded not with a screed, but with a characteristically eloquent valedictory brimming with humor, thoughtfulness, wordplay and historical and pop culture references.

He said he became involved to serve the public, using his knowledge, training and experience to make the village a better place to live, work and raise a family.

“However, to paraphrase George Washington, or maybe it is really Lin-Manuel Miranda paraphrasing George Washington, I am not sufficiently naive to think that the path has been flawless, and I know that some decisions rendered in faith have not led to the results I anticipated when they were made,” he said. “But I hope it has been apparent that I have consistently striven to make principled judgments in each circumstance, and always with that same goal guiding me in my deliberations. As you move forward, I urge you to do the same.”

He concluded by saying, “I truly believe I leave the village in your hands in better shape than it was when I first stepped into the role. But, we also know that a great many challenges lay ahead. Some definitely will not be easy to resolve. Still, if you can maintain a principled approach to each hurdle that confronts you, rather than be unduly swayed by transitory passions, you will have honored your oath and served your constituents faithfully.”

  Outgoing Buffalo Grove Village Trustee Jeffrey Berman, left, and Village President Beverly Sussman cut into a cake Monday during a reception honoring Berman's service on the village board. Steve Zalusky/
Jeffrey Berman
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