The Last Volunteer Mayor

Speaking at a local community event this spring.

Speaking at a local community event this spring.

Last week the Village Board gave me a new title. I will be the last Village President to serve Long Grove in a voluntary capacity. The Trustees have decided that starting in 2017, when my current term expires, this position will become salaried. Granted, it’s not much at $14,400 a year. But for the first time since our Village was incorporated in 1956, our Mayor will be paid.

This change came about quickly. Personally, I was surprised that this was even being considered, especially as it conflicts with the policy set forth in our Comprehensive Plan. The rationale given is that making the position paid will encourage more candidates to run for the office in future elections.

I think it takes a special kind of person to want to step up to the responsibility and challenge of holding any elected office. One who is at heart a public servant, and who has the ability to put what is best for the community ahead of what is best for themselves. And one who is willing to pay a personal price in being vulnerable to public scrutiny without any recourse.  The best sort of individuals will do this without needing to be motivated by money or perceived power. The Village deserves to have that type of citizen in this role.

I agree with the need to have money set aside in a budget for expenses that are incurred while representing the Village. It has become increasingly necessary for our Village President to interact and serve with other local, county, and state officials on issues that encompass the entire metropolitan Chicago area. Long Grove is no longer an island amongst suburbia. However, the Trustees were clear in their desire for this compensation to be a salary or stipend, without any “strings attached” to turn in receipts for validation.

Putting my own thoughts and concerns aside, I remain a firm believer in majority opinion, and so I accept this change and will support going forth with the wishes of the Board. Time will tell us if a future Mayor just voted himself a salary.