Meet the village board candidates
Updated: March 11, 2013 2:20AM
VERNON HILLS – The April municipal elections again feature a small pool of candidates for the village of Vernon Hills.
It will be the third time in four municipal elections that four or fewer candidates have run for three trustee seats. The exception was in 2009, when this same group of incumbents beat two challengers.
This time, trustees James Schultz, Thom Koch Jr. and Barbara Williams are opposed by political newcomer Ted Sindermann.
No property tax, Koch says
Koch has been a trustee for as long as Roger Byrne has been village president. Koch’s candidacy has never been in jeopardy, as he won top spots in each of his past five elections.
His ties to the community are strong after teaching in Hawthorn School District 73 for 26 years.
“Being a village trustee is a good job that I enjoy doing,” Koch said. “Giving back to the community was something my father ingrained in me. He said if you live in a community, you should truly be part of it.”
The lack of property taxes is why Koch wants to retain his seat.
“For as long as I can remember, we’ve never paid a real estate tax in Vernon Hills,” Koch said. “I want to keep it that way. We’ve hopefully, knock on wood, made a turn economically. Our staff did a wonderful job filling spaces and properly informing us on each of our decisions.”
Williams not done
Williams’ first political life went from 1981 until 1993. A trustee for most of the time, she was village president from 1989 until stepping down for Byrne in 1993.
Her second go around started in 2001, when Williams narrowly defeated incumbent Richard Cashman by six votes (1,297-1,291) for the third and final trustee seat.
Williams won each of her next two elections, and she wants a fourth consecutive term to finish the Hawthorn Mall redevelopment.
“I think I still have four more years of good advice to give,” Williams said. “I want to have a voice in the upcoming development of the mall. It’s been our little goose egg. We’ve cherished it all these years, and we’d like to protect that asset.”
Excited by the revitalized Town Center (located along Route 45 west of Milwaukee Avenue), Williams also is anxious to see the surrounding land finally be completed.
Williams moved to Vernon Hills in 1977 and has worked for a school bus company (now known as First Student Busing) since 1978. She’s currently a location manager.
Schultz to support leadership
Valuing his colleagues’ personal, professional and political experiences, Schultz hopes to return and continue being a key roll player.
“I am still the junior member of the board, as I finish my second four-year term,” Schultz said. “I enjoy the work and being part of a great team that provides so many great opportunities for our residents, and I want to continue to make a contribution.”
Schultz’s political life began in 2005, when he narrowly defeated Maureen Wener (1,417-1,391) for the third and final trustee seat.
Two years later, he retired from Grainger after 37 years as an engineer, product control specialist and then designer of distribution centers and warehouse operations. A resident since 1989, he’s spending retirement as a part-time distribution consultant.
Schultz also hopes to see the Hawthorn project completed, while emphasizing a desire to see the Route 45 TIF land developed “judiciously.”
Newcomer to ‘refresh stale board’
Sindermann considered running for trustee in 2011 but wanted time to study government.
“I don’t want to reform the board, I want to refresh the board and get new ideas on it,” Sindermann said. “I think they are doing an OK job, but I’d like to bring it up a level. A lot of those trustees have been here so long they’ve become complacent.”
As owner, and sole employee, of Sintrol Systems Inc., Sindermann is a mechanic who builds and repairs control panels for various appliances. He has more than 600 commercial and residential customers in Vernon Hills.
“They’re the people who indirectly convinced me to run,” Sindermann said. “I know Roger Byrne; he’s a friend of mine. And many of my customers who know that would often ask me why the board decided to do something.”
Now 51, Sindermann moved to Vernon Hills in 1977 at age 16. He married at age 18 and has three kids, two of which had Koch for a teacher during middle school. He and his wife decided to stay in Vernon Hills because of the quality schools.