Kenilworth, Elections

Kenilworth Village Board candidates face questions on TIF, town reputation, housing, transparency and more during forum

There is competition this election cycle for the three open seats on the Kenilworth Village Board.

Four new names are featured on the ballot with three running as the Kenilworth Citizens Party and one as an independent.

For the KCP ticket, the Kenilworth Citizens Advisory Committee selected Amy Hannus, Walter Kelly and Christopher Ottsen. Resident Marjorie MacLean is the fourth candidate.

Trustees on expiring terms — Scott Lien, Jeff Bedwell and Cecily Kaz — are not running for reelection; however, Kaz is the KCAC’s pick in the village president race, opposite Paul O’Connor.

Hannus, Kelly and Ottsen participated in a candidate forum on Saturday, March 20, that was produced by the League of Women Voters and the Winnetka-Northfield Public Library, which serves Kenilworth residents. MacLean did not participate.

MacLean is a fourth-generation Kenilworth resident who is an executive in “a family software business,” according to her profile at It is unclear who founded or manages Friends of Kenilworth, but the website’s domain name — — was registered on March 6.

MacLean and O’Connor are endorsed by the group, and information on both candidates’ platforms are available on the website.

According to the website the group’s purpose is to “elect independent leadership for a better Kenilworth,” and its principles are “fiscal responsibility,” ‘neighborhood life and home values,” and “transparency and community dialogue.”

They both signal a fear that current and slated leadership plans to usher in higher-density residential developments. The KCAC candidates answer that question and plenty more during the local League of Women Voters forum, of which you can view a full video recording.

A summarized version of the forum transcript is below. Candidate answers were at times edited for clarity.

Use the Shortcuts to jump to any desired question or candidate response.


INTRODUCTIONS: Walter Kelly | Amy Hannus | Christopher Ottsen

STORMWATER: Walter Kelly | Amy Hannus | Christopher Ottsen

TIF/BONDS: Walter Kelly | Amy Hannus | Christopher Ottsen

EXPENDITURES: Walter Kelly | Amy Hannus | Christopher Ottsen

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: Walter Kelly | Amy Hannus | Christopher Ottsen

COMMUNITY NOTICE: Walter Kelly | Amy Hannus | Christopher Ottsen

LAKEFRONT: Walter Kelly | Amy Hannus | Christopher Ottsen

TOWN REPUTATION: Walter Kelly | Amy Hannus | Christopher Ottsen

COMMUNITY INPUT: Walter Kelly | Amy Hannus | Christopher Ottsen

TIF LIMITS: Walter Kelly | Amy Hannus | Christopher Ottsen

SETS YOU APART: Walter Kelly | Amy Hannus | Christopher Ottsen

SUMMATION: Walter Kelly | Amy Hannus | Christopher Ottsen


KELLY: I graduated from Bucknell, have a JD from Loyola, and an MBA with a concentration in finance from the University of Chicago, and worked at Nuveen for several years, first in legal and then the most recent 14 years as the chief compliance officer for the fund complex, which has 155 funds and roughly $145 billion in assets under management, about half of that in municipal securities. In that role, I was responsible for protecting shareholders investments by verifying their funds were invested in accordance to the law and public disclosures. I’ve lived in Kenilworth for 13 years with my wife and two daughters who have grown here and embrace this community. I want Kenilworth to remain the place my daughters want to raise their own families. That’s why I’m running to serve as a trustee for the village board, because I want to help preserve valued aspects of this community for future generations; however, it’s also important to carefully and appropriately move the village forward by enhancing amenities and infrastructure while maintaining that cherished character to attract new families and returning generations. I’m grateful to the KCAC for slating me for village board trustee through its traditional processes with Amy Hannus and Chris Ottsen and Cecily Kaz for president. We’ve established a nice working rapport since being slated by the KCAC and are eager to get started working in earnest.

HANNUS: I’m a proud resident of Kenilworth, where I’ve lived for three years with my husband and two children who are lucky enough to attend Joseph Sears School. Kenilworth is such a very special town. In my mind, it’s the gem of the North Shore. … I’m proud to be a member of this community and I’ve had a chance to get involved in school and community organizations, and would like to serve the village for the next four years as a village trustee. Kenilworth is flush with very talented and passionate residents, and it’s important that their voices are heard. I’ve had a chance to talk to my fellow Kenilworth Citizens Party candidates Walter, Chris and Cecily (Kaz, for village president) and Michael (Gagnon, clerk). I am confident that we know it’s important that the board works together with all voices in the community, to find common ground, and to create a roadmap that we all want to follow. To that end, I will offer a unique skill set honed from my career in communications, marketing and strategic planning to complement the makeup of the village board. As we embark on many core initiatives that will shape the village, I will ensure that all voices are heard by committing to two-way communication and helping increase transparency and the decision-making process, an ongoing dialogue is essential to shaping a community-informed and -endorsed vision for the future, and an appealing and financially sound Kenilworth. I’m so very proud to be raising my children here in such a special community and will work to maintain unique characteristics as well preparing for the future.

OTTSEN: I grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, in a community very similar to these North Shore communities. My wife and I have lived in Kenilworth for 15 years. We are in the process of raising three kids at Sears and at New Trier. My professional background: I’m a licensed civil engineer. I’ve been practicing civil engineering for 27 years, mostly in water resources and large civil works infrastructure projects. I would say that my vision, my approach to the village and potentially being elected as a board member is really to preserve the character and the aesthetics of the community. As Walter and Amy have said it’s a very special place that I think we all cherish. But we also recognize there are specific needs and areas that need to be addressed in the coming years, whether or not that’s the Green Bay quarter or whether or not that’s long-term plans for the lakeshore, and the resiliency and the end use of our facilities there, as well as our other infrastructure, roads, water wastewater. There’s a lot of stress on some of these old villages and those facilities need to be maintained. And I think that my background in civil engineering as a practicing civil engineer for many years would be very valuable to the community.


Are you aware of the Kenilworth 2023 plan for mitigating stormwater on the east side of Kenilworth and bringing water pressure on the west side of Kenilworth up to the fire code. How do you think it should be implemented? 

HANNUS: We’ve been addressing some of the flooding issues on the east side of town and about three years ago, on the west side of town, we had addressed and mitigated some of the flooding. And I think that moving forward, we have to make sure that we’re doing things that are not quick fixes and Band-Aids and there are things that will be helpful for really fixing the problem and not just a quick fix.

OTTSEN: I 100 percent agree with Amy, regarding quick fixes and Band-Aids. I’m not intimately familiar with the plan. Although throughout my career, we’ve been involved in a lot of stormwater and wastewater issues with some of the surrounding communities and I do agree that you need to look at the long-term goals. The permeable pavers and the rain gardens and other features are good, but those alone aren’t going to be able to accommodate some of the larger storm events whether or not they’re the 20-year event or a 50-year. So I think these villages need to have a very broad long-term outlook and to guide how they’re going to make their investments for managing stormwater, and it’s expensive.

KELLY: Yeah, like Chris I’m not intimately familiar with the plan; however, we certainly have gone over it and thought about it. At times there are a number of infrastructure projects in this town related to water that are of critical importance in my mind, and as Chris mentioned a few moments ago, need to all be tied together. There’s certainly been good work that has started with the streets to improve the drainage. Certainly with the sewers as well, and those sorts of projects, you know, in a holistic package really needs to be evaluated and, well thought out and planned for the future. … It’s a big issue in this community, and a lot of issues with it, that need to be addressed.


The draft document currently under discussion by the village board … states: It should be noted that the village board desires to avoid TIF bonds. How comfortable are you with issuing bonds for the business strip? How will the village be exposed for repayment of the bonds?

OTTSEN: Well my background’s not in finance and I don’t know all the ins and outs of  how the TIF operates. I will say that it’s a very contentious issue in the village and 90 seconds isn’t enough time to go into that. I think it is a vehicle that is intended to improve our Green Bay corridor. And with that objective, the overall vision of improving the aesthetics and in bringing in new business and making the area more usable, for lack of a better term, by the village. I think that’s good. … I think we need to be careful though in how those two funds are applied and the village has fairly strict architectural codes. And I’m confident there will be provisions in how the TIF is implemented, so that it’s not the windfall, not misusing taxpayer funds.

KELLY: So you know I spent a life career at moving investments, which was pretty heavily involved in municipal securities. But as a resident of this town I agree with that approach, and the statement posted about the TIF. I think we should avoid issuing bonds for it, and should work for other pathways through financing these particular projects. The goal here for the TIF, as I understand it and as I’ve heard through various meetings, is a revitalization of that Green Bay corridor and the importance of doing that in a cautious and appropriate manner as Chris pointed out with the stringent zoning guidelines that we have to maintain the character of that community will be important. And one of the big issues in this community is the overreliance on property taxes and far more reliance on property taxes in Kenilworth than in the neighboring communities, and we need to try and address that as well. But I do agree with avoiding the issuance of bonds for the small town.

HANNUS: I’m very glad that I’ve had the opportunity to discuss things with my fellow candidates and get different points of view on this and expertise because my background is in business and marketing and so I value people that will be contributing more of their expertise in the financial arena. That said, what I do support regarding the TIF is that what our intended goal is to revitalize the corridor, and that whatever things that we do have public input visibility. There is a dashboard of sorts that people can see what is happening — logistically but also from a finance perspective, and that the right parties weigh in on those parts of the TIF. And then at the end of the day, the end result is we don’t have as much burden on taxpayers. We have a town that offers more amenities to residents and is more attractive to people in the future. So we can stay competitive. And so I think you know, just working together with the rest of the board and the community is critical and having transparency through the process is what needs to happen no matter what the issue is.


With constantly rising costs of public safety, village maintenance and renewal of infrastructure, and the decline of state financial assistance, where do you think the village might have to trim costs or find new revenue?

KELLY:  I think there are probably a number of areas where we can start to do that. Thinking about the services and how they’re delivered is certainly one way to do that. You know Kenilworth is a small town and as I mentioned the property taxes here are disproportionate with our neighboring communities. The residents here do have an expectation of a high level of service. So those considerations need to be balanced against the costs and there needs to be pretty heavy focus on that. I think one of the things most of the residents in this town are interested in is that there’s some discipline around spending other people’s money and that’s certainly something that I spent a lot of time in my prior life doing and will continue in this role. We have some outsourced services in this town that work well — with fire, through the Winnetka firehouse. There may be other ways to do that but they have to be carefully weighed against the level of service again that the residents in this town have come to know and expect, and I think certainly should be delivered.

HANNUS: I think the current village board has done a really good job actually. They’re being very mindful of expenditures and managing to a budget and setting priorities. That said, I think, moving forward will be making sure that we, when we’re budgeting, that we’re managing operational expenses and controlling costs where we can, there won’t be wasteful spending, and we’ll prioritize the infrastructure investments in the most critical way possible. And then I think what Walter was saying is something that’s really important as we look to the future, looking to identify sources of revenue that are not just overburdening the current residents and taxpayers, such as getting revenue from the businesses here as we develop and redevelop the Green Bay corridor that will tremendously offset some of the burden that’s currently on the residents and will also help to improve infrastructure with the private partnership with the government.

OTTSEN: I would agree that finding new revenue sources, outside of property taxes, is probably going to be a bit challenging. With the redevelopment of the Green Bay corridor — well I wouldn’t say redevelopment of it but — with the opportunities that could be made available for new businesses coming in and the revenue from those new businesses, I don’t think that’s going to be a significant increase in the village’s revenue stream. It could be, but I think the focus should be more on trimming costs and being smarter and more thoughtful on the investments that we’re making in terms of, say, the current issue right now is the installation of pavers on the east side of Kenilworth. Those are very expensive. There certainly are other options that could be looked at. But I think you know infrastructure’s problem: big cost for the village. Take a closer look and make sure we’re making the right decision when it comes to investments in terms of roads or water resources.


What steps would you like to see the village take to improve the business district and encourage new businesses to locate in Kenilworth?

HANNUS: I think the most important step is to articulate a vision for what that Green Bay corridor should be and to solicit feedback from the residents and from even the current businesses that are there, and to use a very open process to develop business and target the types of things and amenities that our residents would want. I don’t know them, but we could do a survey or something where we would find out. A coffee shop, you know, smaller unique, upscale businesses, I think that would fit in with the character but also provide a benefit. And then I think that we just need to be transparent in the process and make sure we’re not doing things that would take our village out of character from where we are today as we want to maintain the wishes of the residents.

OTTSEN: I think having the TIF available is one step. But, you know, living in the village for 15 years, the community is fairly active with a lot of pedestrian traffic, a lot of people on bikes, riding to the lake and around. But that business district area is kind of limited by, No. 1, parking. So, I think we should take a look at providing more parking in the area, and some aesthetics and landscaping, possibly widening the sidewalks if that’s possible. Some creative urban planning ideas. Like I said, people are out and about. But I know that one of the current tenants and that’s that area restaurant, they’ve had a lot of outdoor eating. So I think a lot of aesthetics and landscaping and some potentially addressing some of the parking issues would go a long way to making the area a bit more attractive for businesses.

KELLY: I really enjoyed both Amy’s and Chris’s answers to this question. Revitalizing that quarter is of critical importance, and there are a number of ways to do that, but I think Amy hit one of the main points here (and that) is really articulating a vision and that vision needs to involve the community and needs to involve some of the input from folks living nearby. Chris then hit upon the fact that this is a very active community and we want that to be accessible by foot and by bike. One of the positives of COVID is the Mayberry aspect of this town really came out when you saw people on bikes, walking dogs, taking walks with their family. And if you had the right sort of mix over there you could attract a different flow through town. My goal would be to keep as much of it on foot and on bike. It is a small town and we can all access those things pretty well. But, you know, one of the other things that I think either, Amy, I think it was and you hit on was really maintaining the character of the community. I don’t think anyone has any hope for large dense apartment buildings. There’s been a lot of mistakes on Green Bay Road in other towns and we want to avoid that, keep it within the character of this charming community in which we live.


How much in advance should notice be given or documents or plans be made available before village meetings, concerning a very important issue or topic?

OTTSEN: I would say two weeks — at least two weeks (or) as soon as possible. I mean if the issue is coming up. … Two weeks to a month should be plenty of time for concerned citizens to inform themselves and read through the information and packages.

KELLY: I think that’s a pretty good answer. My prior life with our board, we had to get materials out two weeks in advance so people could digest it, understand it. And simple topics, you can do that quickly, but with some of the big issues we have you’d like to get that community input and buy in, and it takes time to do that, and people spend a lot of money on property taxes and on their homes here, they should be given that opportunity to fully digest these things.

HANNUS: That sounds reasonable for providing materials, but I forgot to say that I don’t think anyone should ever feel that they’re just being told something that’s going to be going on decades down the line, once or at the last minute, and some of it is just perception and so it’s important to engage people in a two-way dialogue. And that could be a lengthy process and so there are touch points along the way that they’re able to give their feedback and input before anything ever comes up for a vote. So that would be my mission is to have just better two-way communication with all residents.


Kenilworth’s lakefront is one of its best assets, but also presents one of its biggest challenges. What are your thoughts about how to protect and improve the lakefront as a whole?

KELLY: Well I’d really like to be taking this question after our civil engineer Chris Ottsen. But what I’ll tell you is that the lake is, as you said, it is one of our cherished assets and last year with the lake levels so high that beach was beaten to shreds as was the physical structure there. One of the things you learn living around this lake or growing up around these lakes, is that when one community makes changes to protect its own shoreline, there are ripple effects that start to impact the other areas, and we’re starting to see some of the neighboring communities make plans for their shoreline. We need to have folks like Chris Ottsen help with these plans and thinking about the ramifications of these long-term changes that others are making, and how we can best preserve that particular asset for this community because for my teenage daughters, it’s their favorite spot in town, and I’m sure Chris’s daughter and Amy’s children as well. It’s a wonderful place to protect and it’s going to have to involve some long-term planning and some serious discussions about all these plans.

HANNUS: I think the beaches are a critical feature of our town, and one of the many reasons people move here, and like Walter said, other communities have addressed the erosion, and we’ve done that in a limited manner. The one thing we’ve kind of discussed as a group is just how you want to make sure that you’re doing things and not underreacting or overreacting so getting a sense from people that are engineers and experts that can tell us what mitigation steps need to happen to protect our beach, but we’re not overdoing it either. We are conscious of the cause and all of that. So, just making sure the right experts are weighing in and that we’re also just not pushing it off down the road because every year that goes by potentially it could get worse.

OTTSEN: Yeah, as Walter mentioned it’s a great asset and Amy echoed that. I personally spend a lot of time out on the beach sailing, and my kids and wife are out there a lot so we very much value that asset as part of the community and it was one of the reasons that we moved to Kenilworth in the first place. And I think it’s probably a similar sentiment from people that live in Kenilworth so it’s important that we think long-term, look and have a good plan for it; and it’s a very tricky situation. Getting back to parking, there isn’t a whole lot of parking there. We’ve got the water treatment plants, and we need to start coming up with plans on how do we best use the existing facilities, are there opportunities to create more beach area? How do we protect and preserve the shoreline, that resiliency, in the case we get other big storm events and some issues with erosion. So there’s definitely a lot of work to be done there. There certainly are a lot of opportunities. And again, I think the village would be well-served by coming up with a plan for how to move forward with several different options for improving the area and making it a great place for the village for the next two, three generations.


Recently, Kenilworth began a discussion about the village’s perceived reputation as unwelcoming and elitist. Do you believe this perception is accurate, and as an elected official, how would you address this issue?

HANNUS: I think it’s something that I’ve been paying a lot of attention to and that I know has been addressed in other areas of the village, and it’s something that, again, perception can sometimes turn into a reality so it’s not something you can just say that’s not us and we’ll ignore this. That said, I moved here from a much bigger town on the North Shore and I haven’t found a friendlier place and we’re a welcoming place that has kindness as a value, and in just a few short years I know in our family, we felt very welcomed and integrated into the community. So any way that we can look into making others — especially I know we had about 40 new families move into town this year — that we can make them feel more welcome and future potential families know that everyone is welcome here and that Kenilworth is a friendly place to live. I think that would be something you know with my marketing background that I’d love for us to promote, just what a beautiful place Kenilworth is and warm and friendly and a nice place to raise your family.

OTTSEN: I guess I’m not that familiar with that perception. I can see how some people might hold that. I do think, echoing what Amy said, that the village is a very open and welcoming area. … (The village has) a garden club or the bowling club or sailing club. The village supports activities out on the green throughout summertime, so I don’t necessarily think I would agree with that sentiment. And I think the village has a lot of pressing issues. And I think in my perception, that perception of others of Kenilworth being unwelcoming and elitist wouldn’t rise to the very top of the list of things that need to be addressed in the next 2, 3, 4 years.

KELLY: I grew up in a different area of Chicago where that undeserved reputation of Kenilworth I think had some traction so when I moved up here I was a little, a little nervous about all that. But what I found when I did, just echoing Chris’ and Amy’s comments, it’s a very welcoming community and has been since the day we got up here. One of the things that I see living so close to the school and two doors away here is that the diversity is increasing. There’s a lot of new people coming into town as Amy mentioned, so a lot of new vibrancy to the school community, and it’s been great to see. So I think it’s not an earned reputation; it’s something that we need to work on to make sure people aren’t confused by it. But I found it to be a perfectly welcoming community. And I’d like to continue to keep the doors of Kenilworth open.


How do you envision working with the community to make sure community interests and input are reflected in the board’s goals and agenda?

OTTSEN: From my perspective, not being involved with boards in the past several years or actually since we’ve moved to Kenilworth, I have found it’s a bit difficult to have access and feel like I’m aware of what’s going on in the village with the village board meetings, and the publication or the announcements of topics that are being discussed, at least from my perspective, could be improved. And so I would like to see a lot more transparency  in what the village board is discussing on a regular basis. I’d like to find ways to have more active public participation. We have great organizations like the KCAC that pulled together all kinds of different groups, and that’s the voice of the village right there. And I’d like to see a lot more public engagement, awareness and transparency on what’s being conducted through the village board.

KELLY: Chris made a number of good points. The information, it takes a little to figure out how to find it. Once you know how to though you can get to it pretty quickly. But, having people work for that information is maybe not the best solution. Transparency, I’ve always thought is the greatest antiseptic in the world as long as you are putting information out from people and in a meaningful way that they have access to, and providing open lines of communication that certainly helps with those particular issues that we’re discussing here. And as Chris mentioned there are a number of wonderful organizations to help get that word out and that interaction with the community and improve it. And I think there’s some ways for the board to improve its engagement with the community. The TIF is one controversial issue in town. Working on, for example, some dashboard that could regularly be updated to include all that relevant necessary information about different taxes and every other sort of project funding issue coming out of the TIF would be great and something we could post for the village to make sure again that transparency is out there so that there were these were of where these dollars are being spent.

HANNUS: This is one area I have a tremendous amount of passion for because I realized after moving here for about a minute of just how passionate people are, how valuable their opinions are, what great backgrounds they actually have. So I think to solicit more input from the community is critical and in all areas of where we’re going in the future and I think transparency is key — definitely sharing more information, and I have some specific ideas we can better use other vehicles to do even one-way communication, we could use social media, we can use our website better. We can do roundtables on some really important issues. We could have a talk-with-a-trustee days, where we have more direct access to your board members, town hall meetings, and then I think you had talked, Walter, about thought leaders in the community so people that represent various groups, they may have different opinions but I think a key job of a trustee is to be a listener and chief, and to be able to listen to other views and work collaboratively. So just a real area of focus for me and that I feel is critical and I would love to bring some value in that area.


What sort of limitations do you favor on development of the TIF district to promote consistency with the current and longtime character of the village?

KELLY: So I think maybe three, four questions ago we referenced the corridor and I think Chris mentioned a lot of the zoning process and requirements that are in place in town. Things have to go through the planning commission, the architectural committee. And I think keeping those things in place so that it is a deliberate, meaningful process that people have to engage with multiple stakeholders along the way, is a way to make sure that revitalization is consistent with the character of this community that we’ve all talked about for the past 40 minutes that we all cherish and love, and it needs to be done in a manner that’s consistent with that character. So, again, maintaining those steps in the development process I think are critical. I shouldn’t speak for Amy or Chris but I don’t think any one of us is at all interested in large, dense apartment buildings. I think there’s a pretty ill-informed misconception about this slate out in the public. There would be no interest in that.

HANNUS: I agree with Walter. We all live here, we all moved here for a reason, and we love the quaint, small-village feel, and community feel. And I don’t think any of us would want to change that. We do see opportunities to make things look nicer to residents. That said, I’m not looking for high-density projects. I don’t think that we should change the historical integrity. So, we already have processes in place for the business district for how things need to look and adhere to certain facades and design aesthetics and that wouldn’t go away. And then also, as we talk about what types of things should go there, there already is a committee and there is a process in place and it can even be enhanced but just to make sure that there’s community input on what types of things go there and how it looks. So, I don’t know one would want to change that; we love where we live.

OTTSEN: I think the other two candidates, pretty much, express my opinions on this. I live not too far from the TIF district, and I can say from my own perspective as well as the perspective of friends and neighbors on the street and Walter and Amy: No, none of us want to see developments that are going to in any way affect the character in the aesthetics of our community. So I am in favor of controls and limitations if necessary to make sure that if there is some type of residential development that is put forward for TIF funds, we take a very, very hard look at it to see if it’s right for the community. And it’s not just aesthetics; it’s the stress that higher population density puts on schools, puts on streets, puts on infrastructure. And so, yeah, we’re not 100 percent opposed to any type of residential development but we really need to take a very, very, very hard look at it.  And again stressing preserving the character and the aesthetics of our community.


What distinguishes you from the other candidates running for village board that motivated you to run for the board?

HANNUS: I’ve talked a little bit about this, but I have a very large passion for helping to improve that smoothness to which we get input from the community as well as the decision-making process on the board and helping to set a vision for where we all collectively want to go and feel good about. So that really requires a lot of good communication skills and strategies, where we do solicit feedback from the community as well as being able to. One thing from my background that I’m very used to is working on cross-functional teams and leaning on other people for their expertise in certain areas, and then helping to collaborate and drive to consensus that’s in the best interest of the village. So not always having to know everything about every topic and be the expert but really relying on your fellow board members and the community for their input and making a decision that’s informed, that drives a good future for Kenilworth.

OTTSEN: Yes, I would like to say I think we all have a civic duty, and we all have responsibilities to pitch in and roll up our sleeves and contribute to the communities that we live in, I think one of the things that I would bring to the village board is obviously my background in civil engineering and working with federal agencies and states and municipal agencies. Jeff Bedwell is coming off the board; he has a similar background. I was involved a little bit in some activities related to the beach last year, where I was present at several of the board meetings and worked closely with the village manager to find a cost-effective solution to some erosion control issues on our beach, and that experience, really a light bulb went off, and I thought, you know, it would be valuable with the issues that we have with respect to infrastructure. It’s a valuable background to have on the village board. So those are my reasons for running for the positions.

KELLY: I worked in a board setting for years and years and years in a role specifically that was designed to give a voice to public shareholders, and to make sure that their assets were protected. It’s a role that’s very similar to that of a trustee here who has to represent the interests of Kenilworth residents and homeowners. In that role I was the eyes, ears and voice of that particular constituency and I think back back to when I was promoted to the chief compliance officer in the event and our president at the time commented that you’re given two ears and one mouth for a reason and I thought it was a little silly at the time but what he was stressing was how important it is to listen to constituencies and solicit input. He was also saying however, that, when it’s time to speak, when you have listened to those constituencies, when you have learned from those constituencies, that you have one voice, and you need to make it heard. Since that time, I’ve spent more than 50 days a year in these board meetings, applying that lesson and know how to function in that environment, how to work with those constituencies, and I will say that I’m very proud to be part of the slate, with the diverse skill set that Amy and Chris also described. I think we have a nice working rapport and really look forward to the opportunity to work with these wonderful candidates.



OTTSEN: We have worked together developing this candidacy and I appreciate and respect their backgrounds, and I think we’re pretty much aligned on all topics. And I would say if there’s one thing that we are all very passionate about and strong advocates for: maintaining the special character of the village. It’s a wonderful place to raise a family. And we want to make sure that it stays that way, the character, the people, the aesthetics. I think that’s the obligation of the board or obligations of the board is to make sure we’re looking far enough down the road, that can keep Kenilworth a very special place for our children or anybody else that would like to move into this community.

HANNUS: It gets very interesting as we started talking about the different issues that face the village and some of the opportunities when we’ve talked as a slate including with Cecily Kaz and Mike Gagnon, who’s running for clerk, we’ve had some really great conversations and it’s interesting too that we’ve all come to Kenilworth at different points in time, but we all have that feeling of it’s a very special town that isn’t replicated anywhere near here and we don’t want that to change. And I’m confident that the slate presented by the caucus will move together, and we’ll move with the residents, not against the residents’ wishes and with current board members as well to positively enhance our village. And our goal is to keep the charm and beauty and have it a beautiful place to live for our children and their children.

KELLY: Today we spoke about the importance of the role of a trustee and Kenilworth’s governance. As I mentioned, I worked in a board setting for more than 15 years and our role specifically designed to protect and give voice to shareholders in very much the same way that board trustees must represent the interests of Kenilworth residents and homeowners. As a homeowner, I am invested in this community. We moved here long ago because of the character of the village and its school appeal to both me and my wife and I want to maintain that character for returning generations and new residents who are drawn to it. To accomplish that, I would work as a trustee with the board to regularly focus on and improve communications with interactions with the community to solicit input and buy in to ensure that the character of this wonderful community is preserved and everything must move forward and then Kenilworth is no exception. And we can however move it forward with smart, cautious and appropriate improvements that maintain the village’s charm and character, which I truly hope my grandchildren one day enjoy.


The Record is a nonprofit, reader-funded news siteOur public-service journalism, including all coverage of local elections, is free for all to read.

Support our efforts by becoming a subscriber to have full access to unmatched local reporting on New Trier Township.

Just want to help? Donate to The Record to support reliable, responsible local news.

joe coughlin
Joe Coughlin

Joe Coughlin is a co-founder and the editor in chief of The Record. He leads investigative reporting and reports on anything else needed. Joe has been recognized for his investigative reporting and sports reporting, feature writing and photojournalism. Follow Joe on Twitter @joec2319

Related Stories