Sunday, January 25, 2009

Hawthorn Woods Mayoral Seat Open

This one was a no brainer, Mayor Keith Hunt (picture) was roundly despised by his residents, and by all accounts toast. The Eye has no idea who Joe Mancino is and can offer no opinion about him. We do offer an comment on Hunt, after cost over runs and delays, Hawthorne Woods opened their new aquatic center a few years ago, and to inaugurate it Hunt made the first dive, and hit bottom and knocked himself silly!

Hunt calls it quits in Hawthorn Woods

Daily Herald-- Like him or not, Keith Hunt has been a big presence in the small town of Hawthorn Woods. But after eight years, the sometimes controversial mayor is giving up the public spotlight.

In a lengthy letter sent to all 2,500 homes, Hunt said he was honored to have served 10 years including two as village trustee. He outlined a list of accomplishments he said have made the village stronger and more vibrant.

But with two family members facing life-threatening illnesses and growing children, Hunt said he wants shift his focus.

"It's something I've been thinking about for awhile. It's not a decision I've come to quickly or lightly," he said Thursday. "I've given 10 years. We've accomplished a lot. It's time to spend more time with my family."

The announcement also notes Hunt's board allies, trustees Greg Gehrke and Jim Silvers, also have chosen not to seek re-election.

"It's very bittersweet. There's a big part of me that continues to want to serve," Hunt said.

Among the achievements listed were a comprehensive road improvement program, construction of a water treatment system, annexations to protect the village borders, planning for the Midlothian Road corridor and bringing millions of dollars into the community through developer donations, annexation fees and other fees.

"Heritage Oaks Park and the Aquatic Center are among the accomplishments I'm most proud of," he said.

A litigator by trade, Hunt brought that tenacity and personal involvement to the office. His sometime abrasive style didn't sit well with critics, however. The village under his leadership also has spent about $1 million the past two years defending itself in lawsuits.

"While every decision may not have been popular to every resident at the time, all decisions have been made in the best interest of the village as a whole," Hunt wrote to residents.

The departure of Hunt, Gehrke and Silvers virtually ensures a change on the board. The Hawthorn Woods Open Government Party has fielded a slate of candidates for mayor and the three open trustee seats. One trustee candidate, Neil Morgan, is an incumbent. A fourth candidate also has filed for the trustee spot.

As of Thursday, Joseph Mancino, a business owner who serves on the village's police and public safety and bike path committees, is the lone mayoral candidate. He has not previously run for public office.

As part of its platform, his slate promises "open and unencumbered" information to residents, to encourage public participation and be a "good neighbor" to surrounding communities.

Mancino said the scenario isn't as rosy as portrayed in Hunt's letter. While the budget is balanced and has a slight surplus, he contends that was done by shifting funds earmarked for roads into the general budget.

"While it shows a surplus, we will be clobbered next year. Absolutely clobbered," Mancino said.

Pending lawsuits, bond payments and a settlement with the police department have created "a real financial mess," he said.

"There's been a lot of mismanagement," he charged.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

For more info on Joe Mancino and the slate for trustees on the Hawthorn Woods Open Government Party ticket go to You can subscribe to the mailing list there.