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Departing Mundelein village clerk: ‘Time for new ideas’

Updated: March 30, 2013 2:16AM

As she nears the end of her second term as Mundelein village clerk, Esmie Dahlstrom said it’s time to step down.

“I believe in term limits,” Dahlstrom said. “I’ve served my time and now someone else can have the opportunity to bring new ideas to the board.”

Her private commitments have also increased in the past two years, Dahlstrom said.

With no political background, Dahlstrom first ran for clerk in 2005 as part of the Dedicated to Mundelein slate, which included then-Mayor Marilyn Sindles and incumbent trustees Bruce Campbell, Steve Cancelli and Jim Nutschnig.

Before she filed more than eight years ago, Dahlstrom wanted to become civically active. Her neighbor, who works at the village, described the clerk’s duties and mentioned a potential lack of interest among the political groups in Mundelein, Dahlstrom said.

“The job required fewer hours, so it allowed me to contribute without significantly interrupting other parts of my life,” Dahlstrom said. “I was intrigued.”

She ran unopposed in both of her campaigns and was the first part-time clerk. Previously, the clerk’s post was a $43,000 salaried position, but the Village Board reduced it to 20 hours a week with a salary of $7,000 just before Dahlstrom was elected.

Though the role was diminished, Dahlstrom said she enjoyed her time in office.

“One of my exciting experiences was seeing the downtown project take off,” Dahlstrom said. “A lot of people wonder why you can’t just get construction started, but I got to learn about all the very important little steps that make it a long process. It has been a pleasure seeing it go from concept to reality.”

One of the clerk’s duties involves managing elections. In the upcoming April election, Dahlstrom’s last, seven candidates are running for three trustee seats, while three candidates are running for mayor. She said the heavy interest is unique and provides an interesting conclusion to her political career.

“I’m very excited to see the big turnout,” Dahlstrom said. “I think it’s really important to give back to your community if and when you can.”

Dahlstrom works in a bookstore and said she has no intention to seek another elected position.

While Katy Timmerman is the only clerk candidate in the April election, she may be the last elected clerk.

Late last year, the Village Board approved a referendum that will be on the April 9 ballot, asking voters if the clerk should be a village staff member or remain an elected official. Preliminary talks involved merging the clerk title and duties with either the village administrator or assistant village administrator jobs.

“I’m actually in support of the role change,” Dahlstrom said. “It’s a lot of administrative work.”

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