Elmwood Park trustee to resign, sell his house
Updated: September 17, 2012 11:48AM
ELMWOOD PARK— After 37 years as a trustee on Elmwood Park Village Board, Alan Bennett announced that he will be resigning from the position.
He said he will read his letter of resignation at Aug. 20 village board meeting with his resignation becoming effective Aug. 23. He plans to start moving the next day.
Elmwood Park Mayor Peter Silvestri said Bennett’s presence on the board will be missed.
“Alan’s departure will be a great loss to the community,” he said. “His institutional knowledge and dedication to the community was paramount.”
“He always strived to do what’s best for the community,” he said. “He’s been a big asset to the community.”
Bennett said he’s leaving Elmwood Park to be closer to family. He and his wife have bought a home in Lombard. A real estate “For Sale” sign with a smaller sign that reads “Contract” sits in front of their current home on the 2700 block of 76th Court.
“We want to be closer to our daughter and our grandchildren,” he said. “We have been planning to move to provide assistance to our daughter based on finding a suitable place in Lombard.”
Documents show that he closed on his home in Lombard on June 2 with fellow trustee and lawyer, Alan Kaminski, representing him at the closing. The sale of his new home was recorded by DuPage County Recorder on June 26.
“I represented him in the purchase of the house,” Kaminski said. “He has two residences and he has not yet moved. His house in Elmwood Park is under contract for sale.”
He also recognized Bennett’s contribution to the board and the village.
“He’s been a very valuable resource,” he said. “He’s very knowledgeable of the workings of government. It’s going to be hard to replace him with that kind of institutional knowledge. It will be kind of sad.”
After the purchase of Bennett’s new home the questions of his residency became an issue by political opponents on the Web. Bennett said the move was based on the sale of his current home and did not hide his plans from anyone.
“My colleagues on the board and president have known about our intentions for some time,” he said.
Kaminski said he knew that Bennett was planning to move.
“He’s made it known to me that he would be leaving,” he said. “He’s goes out there (to Lombard) pretty much everyday anyway.”
Silvestri said the allegation that he was not living in Elmwood Park was a frivolous attack and a terrible way to wish Bennett well in his retirement from the board.
“Many people have houses in other places,” he said. “It’s just unfortunate.”
“He had told me for a while that he was considering (moving),” he said. “When he found a house and found a buyer for his house it all came together. I wasn’t totally shocked.”
“I just thought that it was an unnecessary and inappropriate attack on an individual,” he said. “To follow someone and take pictures it’s unfortunate on either side of the fence.”
As far as where the Bennetts are living currently, Douglas and Sarah Myers, who have lived next door to the Bennett’s for over 40 years said they’ve seen Alan Bennett at his home almost every day.
“He’s always around,” said Douglas Myers. “We were talking to his wife this morning (Aug. 9).”
“They are still living there,” he said. “All of their belonging are still there. I saw him this morning. He’s an early riser.”
“He’s a very good neighbor,” he said. “We’re going to miss them.”
Bennett’s trustee seat on the village board was up for re-election next year and his resignation allows for the appointment of a person to take his place. Potential candidates will have to be interviewed, the mayor makes a recommendation and the board has to vote on it.
“I’m going to appoint someone who is a positive person and who is dedicated to a bright future for Elmwood Park and who will work for it,” Silvestri said.
All of the trustees on the village board are members of Village Unity Party and the new village board appointee would possibly come from their political party ranks. The new board member could possibly be a candidate to run to be elected to the position next year.
Either way Bennett, who turns 69 next month, said he had planned on not running for re-election.
“It’s time to enter into a new phase,” he said. “I’ve devoted myself to public service for 37 years. I’ve missed dinners, missed social events. It’s been a great deal of sacrifice to our family.”
“I really wasn’t planning on seeking re-election next year,” he said. “I have physical issues I have to deal with and I want to be of greater assistance to our daughter in Lombard.”