If you have been following my blogs over the past six months, you may recognize this one. But I think it's time to pull it out again.
It’s election time! And this time I really mean it. Even though the elections for offices in Northbrook are in April of 2013, you really need to have a decision made and be ready to go by September (yes in two weeks)
In April of 2013, there will be elections held in Northbrook for the following boards:
- Northbrook Village Board,
- Library Board of Trustees,
- Park District Board of Commissioners,
- School District 27,
- School District 28,
- School District 30,
- School District 31,
- School District 225
You may be thinking that you don’t have the experience or the knowledge to actively participate in your local board, but I would like to encourage residents and give people the opportunity to put the 'crazy' idea in their heads now.
I believe that in order to be effective on a board in Northbrook, you should be able to fulfill these criteria...
1. Have a passion for Northbrook and not be satisfied with the status quo. This doesn’t mean that you should be out to change every item that comes before you. This means that you should not become stagnant and believe in the philosophy, “Things are fine. This is the way we’ve always done it.”
2. Be able to stand up for your beliefs in a productive and thoughtful way that doesn’t disparage your fellow board members. In my two years of serving on the Northbrook Village Board, fellow Trustee, Todd Heller and I, were at odds on many issues. However, we had a great working relationship that was filled with honesty, trust and respect for each other’s opinion. That is what I felt made for a successful board. Disagreement with respect.
3. Not worry about being ‘liked’ by the staff. As a board member, you may not realize that you have employees! These employees are actually the superintendents, the administrators, all the staff and the heads of the village, including the police departments and fire departments. This can be very daunting and difficult for some people. You have to be able to make accurate and fair decisions based on the fact that you work for the residents of Northbrook and not the staff.
4. Do your research on the topics you will be voting on and discussing. You will be provided with documentation explaining every issue. However, it is up to you to read the packets of information, do your own research and ask questions about the these topics. Don't be afraid to take a differing opinion than the other members of the board. This is where true leadership is seen..Being willing to take a public stance about your beliefs based upon strong supporting statements.
Notice that I did not use the word ‘experience’ on this list. While I believe that experience on village boards and attending board meetings can help, I also don’t think that is a qualification that absolutely must be fulfilled.
So, to sum it up, if you have passion, can work well with others, do your research, and not worry about being ‘liked,’ take a chance!
If you want more information on how to run for Northbrook office, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
To learn more about the Northbrook Caucus, click here.
Kati Spaniak is a 37-year resident of Northbrook, a former Northbrook Village Board Trustee and a Real Estate Broker with @properties specializing in selling real estate in Northbrook. She has created a Get Involved Northbrook Facebook page to keep the residents of Northbrook involved and active in the community.