Mari Terman and Karen Spillers took their seats as Wilmette village trustees for the final time May 10, making way for newcomers Julie Wolf and Bob Bielinski, who won 4-year terms in the April 5 election.
Neither Terman, who came to the board in 2005, or Spillers, who was elected in 2007, chose to run for a second term.
Before they left the dais, however, board colleagues and village officials lauded both women for their service to the village.
Village President Chris Canning praised Terman for coming to the board after 10 years on the village’s Board of Health, and for the work she did, once elected, on issues as diverse as village infrastructure improvements, marketing efforts and Sheridan Road beautification.
“She found learning fun – more fun than some of the rest of us did,” Canning joked. “Her greatest trait is that she brought to this job a lifelong love of learning that allowed her to meet new people, read about new ideas and be educated about new subjects.
“We as a community, benefited from her inquisitiveness, sensitivity and wisdom.”
Trustee Mike Basil, who won re-election April 5, told Terman she set a good example of how to treat residents.
“You treated people fairly and with respect, encouraging a civil, open discussion,” Basil said.
Trustee Cameron Krueger said Terman’s ability to teach was as important as her ability to learn and added, “more than a few times we’d be sitting on opposite sides of an issue, and I would have an ‘Aha!’ moment, sitting two chairs away from you … I appreciate your ability to present the other side of an issue that I hadn’t thought of.”
When he spoke of Spillers, Canning said her marketing acumen played a critical role in raising Wilmette’s business profile on the North Shore, and as the village looked towards its own economic future.
“I suspect that Trustee Spillers’ one regret … is that she will not be sitting here when we move forward to implement the village center master plan,” Canning said.
He also thanked her for her work in helping to successfully consolidate many of Wilmette’s appointed commissions, and for the way she worked with the village’s own staff.
“One thing I think that staff will say is that Karen challenged them to identify creative solutions to our problems.”
Basil told her, “Whatever you may think of this experience, you need to know that Wilmette is better because you took up the challenge of elected office.”
Spillers said her four years in office had pushed her to her limits in a way that was personally fulfilling. She thanked Canning for his leadership and called Village Manager Tim Frenzer “a model village manager. We are fortunate to have you.”