Berman not seeking re-election

Jeff Berman, the longest serving trustee on the Buffalo Grove Village Board announced tonight that he is not seeking re-election.

Jeff Berman
Berman, elected to the Board in 1999, made his announcement during the December Board meeting.
Berman’s term is one of three that expires in May and will be on the Village ballot in the April 2, 2019 election. The terms of trustee David Weidenfeld and Eric Smith. The terms of Village Board President Beverly Sussman and Village Clerk Janet Sirabian will also be in the ballot.

In addition to village trustee, Berman, 55, has served in a multitude of capacities, including Chairman, Village Zoning Ordinance Review Committee (2000 - 2002), village plan commissioner, (1992 - 1999), Aptakisic Tripp School District 102 Strategic Design Committee (2003 - 2004), and Aptakisic Tripp School District 102 Superintendent Search Committee, Community Member (2003 - 2004).

Berman, who has been team captain of the village’s Relay for Life team for the past 18 years, has worked on several boards related to mass transit in Lake County. Since 1999, he has served as Chairman, Metra Citizens Advisory Board, representing Lake County (2011 - 2013), Northwest Municipal Conference Transportation Committee (2001 - present), Member, Metra Citizens Advisory Board, representing Lake County (2010 - 2013),  Member, Regional Transportation Authority Citizens Advisory Board (2011 - 2013), Metropolitan Mayors' Caucus Transportation Task Force, as Representative of the Lake County Municipal League (2002 - 2004), village representative to the Lake County Transportation Improvement Project (1999 -  2003,  and Vice Chairman, Board of Directors, Citizens to Protect Quality of Life Through Better Transportation (1999 - 2004).

With Berman’s departure, Trustee Andrew Stein will become the longest tenured trustee. He was elected in 2011.

In his statement, Berman said:

                It was a little more than 20 years ago, when one of the members of the Village Board announced he would not seek re-election and would, instead, pursue election to a different office. At that time, I was a member of the Village's Plan Commission, where I had served for nearly a decade. With the encouragement and full support of my wife and family, my predecessor, other members of the incumbent Board, and many friends, I embraced the chance to serve as an elected official for the community I have called home for nearly the entirety of my adult life.
Indeed, I first came to Buffalo Grove only a year removed from law school, at a time when I still was still searching for a higher purpose. It was here where I learned, first hand, that change only occurs when ordinary people get involved, become engaged, and come together to make things happen. I still believe in that principle.

And it is not just my belief. It is, in the eloquent words of a former President of the United States, "the beating heart of our American idea - our bold experiment in self-government." Fonner Defense Secretary Robert Gates may have said it best when he observed that Americans who fill the ranks of public service are, at their core, idealists who are driven by the romantic and optimistic ideal that they can improve the world. We actually believe we can make a difference - that we can make the lives of others better, that we can make a positive difference. I agree.

And so, when the opportunity presented itself to get involved in the Village, I seized it, believing that it would allow me to use my talents, experience and professional skills to contribute to making our community a better place. And, I have tried to embody that spirit throughout the course of my career in service to the Village.

It has been my great privilege to serve as Village Trustee for the past two decades. That undeniably is a long time, and I have concluded it is time for a change, for me. So, today, I am confirming publicly what many have heard me say privately for quite a while- I am not seeking re-election to a sixth term as Village Trustee.

I cannot thank the public enough, and not just for entrusting me with this responsibility over these many years. Your respect and gratitude have helped to transform a sometimes-very difficult endeavor into something much more meaningful and gratifying. Whether we've seen eye-to-eye, or rarely agreed at all, my conversations with you, the members of this community, are what have kept me inspired. Every day, I learned from you. You made me a better Trustee, and you made me a better person.

To my Village Board colleagues, past and present, and our incredible Village staff, thank you for your dedication, friendship and acceptance over the years, despite my occasional tirades and periodic epistles. Thank you as well for your shared passion for seeing the Village reach its vast potential. We know better than most that the job is hard. We also know that at times the weight of the responsibility that comes with holding office can be difficult to carry. Emotions occasionally can overwhelm even the most noble of intentions. Yet the enduring truth is I have relished serving with you and would do it all over again in a heartbeat. In fact, I wish more people from outside of the process could see how collaboratively we have worked together, how well we typically get along, even when we disagree vehemently on policy (perhaps with one notable exception of the past), and how deeply our Village officials care about our community. Perhaps, if that were better understood, some of the rising tide of cynicism seen in recent times would be abated.

Looking back, I have been honored and privileged to be part of a team which both overcame obstacles and achieved myriad successes. I think we can feel justifiably proud of many things we accomplished together over the years. I also believe that this great Village will continue to grow and prosper in the years to come. And, 1 suspect that after April I will miss being a part of the process more than 1 hope I ever let you see. But there is no doubt that this is my decision, and in every possible sense, my carefully considered choice.

In closing, let me just say thank you to all who helped me throughout these years of service. I hope you feel I have justified your faith in me.

While petitions have been available since September, filing does not begin until Monday, Dec. 10. The deadline for filing petitions is 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 17. The only announced candidates are Sussman in her bid for re-election as Village President and former trustee Mike Terson who is opposing her.

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