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Aaron Lawlor new leader for Lake County Board


Aaron Lawlor

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Foresters retain Maine

At the same time the County Board elected a new chairman, those same officials, meeting as Lake County Forest Preserve commissioners, chose to retain Ann Maine of Lincolnshire as president and Linda Pedersen of Antioch as vice president for second terms. Both will serve two-year terms that end December 2014.

Maine said she will focus on continuing her efforts to complete and extend popular multi-use trail systems like the Millennium Trail and Greenway, restore wetlands, prairies and forests, and open new preserves throughout the county.

Updated: January 5, 2013 6:16AM

A changing of the guard at the Lake County Board on Monday included the swearing in of five new members and the elevation of board member Aaron Lawlor, 30, of Vernon Hills to the chairman’s post.

“I want to thank you for your support and vote of confidence. I am so grateful to lead this body,” Lawlor said after exchanging handshakes and embraces following a unanimous voice vote. “There is a lot of change among this board today, but our priorities remain the same. Together we will continue our strong record of fiscal responsibility and maintain our AAA bond rating.”

Lawlor added that his rise to chairman came after meeting privately with members to discuss the future direction of the board.

“Over the few several weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to sit in many of your living rooms (and) at coffee shops and other places to hear about what your priorities are,” he said. “We talked a lot about new ideas and ways to improve the issues that the board’s already working on. Those were not passing thoughts. Those are now policy decisions for this board to evaluate.”

Among those policy priorities, added Lawlor, are “pursing the extension of Route 53 vigorously” and delivering services “in the most cost-effective and efficient way possible.”

Lawlor replaces board member David Stolman of Buffalo Grove, who was elected chairman in December 2010, a move that came with the recommendation of outgoing chair Suzi Schmidt. On Monday, board Member Ann Maine of Lincolnshire put Lawlor’s name in for the chair, saying, “He has consistently demonstrated a high level of personal integrity, the ability to bring people together to solve problems, and strategic thinking that is so often missing in today’s world.”

“It is (the) strategic thinking that sets Aaron apart,” Maine added, lauding his service on both the county and forest preserve finance committees and saying “this is the type of leadership we need.”

The nomination was seconded by newly sworn-in board member Nick Sauer of Lake Barrington, who said “it’s important to me that our next County Board chairman understands what drives our local economy, and will stand firm in support of pro-growth economic policies that will create the jobs of tomorrow here in Illinois.”

Sauer, who is around the same age as Lawlor and succeeds Stevenson Mountsier, added that “I believe it’s time also to empower a new generation of leaders capable of addressing today’s challenges and creative enough to envision the bright future we all desire for Lake County.”

Carol Calabresa of Libertyville was elected to succeed Maine as vice-chair, with board member Steve Carlson of Grandwood Park describing her as “one of the original ‘greens,’ if you will. ... her concern has always been the environment” as he put her name in for consideration.

Sworn in for inaugural terms along with Sauer were Sandra Hart of Lake Bluff (District 13), Steven Mandel of Highland Park (District 11), Mike Rummel of Lake Forest (District 12) and Tom Weber of Lake Villa (District 3).

Lawlor’s stint on the board began with his appointment to succeed Pam Newton representing District 18 in 2009. His previous experience included six years on the Cook Memorial Public Library District board, including four as board president, and seven years on the staff of then-U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk.

“This year marks my 10th year in public service. It’s an honor to serve as your chairman, and I couldn’t do this without you,” he said to the board. “Let me be clear: I am not the chairman, I am your chairman.”

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