The information below comes from the City of Lake Forest.
Lake Forest Mayor James J. Cowhey Jr. will resign, according to a news release sent out Wednesday. Cowhey has been hired as CEO of WCA Waste Corporation in Houston, Texas.
Cowhey became Mayor of The City of Lake Forest in May of 2009. Prior to taking office, he was Fourth Ward Alderman for six years from May 2000 to May 2006. During this time, he served as Chairman of the Public Works Committee and as a member of the Finance Committee.
As Alderman, he also served on a number of ad hoc committees, including the Water Plant Committee, Rte. 60 Planning and Acquisition Committees, Municipal Services Committee, Sewer Improvement Committee and Street Light Committee. He continued his commitment to public service when his term as Alderman ended by serving as Chairman of the Ad Hoc Environmental Policy Advisory Committee.
During his tenure as Mayor, Cowhey, the City Council and staff have focused on:
Fiscal Health: The financial health of the City remains strong, despite the unprecedented economy. Lake Forest has successfully retained its AAA bond rating status and the City Council anticipates a balanced budget for the next five years by maintaining sound financial planning and persistent cost control.
Environmental Stewardship: During Cowhey’s tenure as Chairman of the Public Works Committee in 2005, he led the efforts to develop a new, environmentally-friendly building to house adequate and efficient space for municipal services. The Municipal Services building opened in 2009 and was awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, the national benchmark for design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings.
Cowhey continued to lead efforts on environmental initiatives while in office. The City developed the Lake Forest Consortium for Environmental Leadership along with School Districts 67 and 115, Lake Forest College and Lake Forest Open Lands Association. Lake Foresters approved an electrical aggregation referendum allowing the City to purchase electricity at an approximate 40% savings.
Community Infrastructure and Character: The City continues to plan for necessary improvements and maintenance costs which impact quality of life and property values. The Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital master plan was adopted which will bring a world-class health facility to our community. Additionally, the City continues to foster development in the business community. This is evidenced by downtown Lake Forest experiencing new growth in retail establishments over the past few years.
Transportation and Safety: The City Council adopted an initiative to implement an Amtrak stop at the Telegraph Road Train Station, and by securing outside funding, is developing a pedestrian underpass at that train station as well as a Master Bicycle Plan throughout town. The City Council also recently adopted a hands-free cell phone policy. These programs will help ensure public safety, reduce traffic, and create a healthier environment.
Mr. Cowhey comments, “It has been my privilege to serve as mayor and raise my family in such an outstanding community. The dedication and expertise of my fellow council members, our volunteers who serve on boards and commissions, and City staff is unprecedented. It is with regret that I submit my resignation, but I know that Lake Forest will continue to prosper under the wise guidance of my colleagues.”
It is anticipated the Council will appoint Mr. Cowhey’s successor at its January 22 meeting.