Barrington Area Council of Governments chooses new director
The Barrington Area Council of Governments will have a new executive director, only the third in the agency's 51-year history.
Janet Agnoletti retires Friday after 20 years of service, and the council's board appointed Kimberly Beattie Saunders as her successor.
The council is an association of elected officials representing Barrington, Barrington Hills, Barrington Township, Deer Park, Lake Barrington, South Barrington and Tower Lakes.
Agnoletti has been "an exceptional leader," Karen Darch, board chairwoman and Barrington village president, said in a news release.
Under Agnoletti's leadership, for example, the council provided comprehensive GIS resources used by members to more efficiently respond to land use proposals and environmental issues.
"Her leadership has helped ensure effective regional cooperation on the important issues that impact Barrington area quality of life," Darch said.
Saunders brings a combination of government and legal experience, which is "a great match" for the council's mission, said Paula McCombie, board vice chairwoman and South Barrington village president.
Saunders most recently worked as an attorney on federal financial regulatory issues, and has served as policy advisor to the governor's office and senior government relations officer for the Chicago Transit Authority.
Saunders and her family moved from Washington, D.C., to the Barrington area in 2017, and she serves on the Tower Lakes plan commission and the North Barrington Elementary School PTO.
She said she's most looking forward to working with local leaders "who are truly dedicated to collaboration."
"This organization is focused on working together to strengthen and develop the region, while protecting the environment and the unique character of the Barrington area," she said. "It helps make this area a wonderful place for its residents and visitors. I'm proud to be a part of it."
Agnoletti said she plans to stay engaged in the environmental community by volunteering with the nonprofit Citizens for Conservation and continuing to serve on the advisory board to the Illinois State Water Survey.
She credited the council's board for being "highly collaborative and united" during the last 20 years. As for her accomplishments, she pointed to starting a water resources initiative in the early 2000s.
"Over the ensuing years, we expanded groundwater work from studies and mapping of the shallow aquifer system -- the source of water for 99% of the wells in the (council's) area -- to public and youth education, private well water testing for residents, and monitoring water levels and water quality in the area's aquifers," she said. "Bottom line is that this initiative is helping keep our drinking water supply clean, safe and sustainable."
The council's first meeting was in April 1970. In the last two decades, it also tackled issues like studying environmental pollutants, enhancing local emergency preparedness, and having an increased impact on legislators, Agnoletti said.