Archive for the ‘2019 Elections’ Category

Brian Battle

Two veteran Barrington Area Unit District 220 board members who didn’t seek re-election last month said farewell Tuesday night.

District 220 board President Brian Battle wrapped up a 16-year career as an elected official there, while Joseph Ruffolo ended an eight-year tenure.

At 12 years, Battle was the longest-serving board president in District 220 history, Superintendent Brian Harris said. In recognition of Battle’s record, a new board room will be named in his honor and a plaque hung in the soon-to-open district headquarters in a renovated office building across the street from Barrington High School.

“It’s been an honor to serve the Barrington community as a board member,” said Battle, a Barrington resident who is managing partner at Great Lakes Capital. “It’s often been said, right, the community gives the school board responsibility for two things that are pretty important to them, right: their money and their kids.”

Read more from the Daily Herald here.

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Dear Barrington 220 Community,

On Tuesday, April 2 registered voters in the Barrington 220 community narrowly opposed a $185 million bond referendum, which would have provided significant improvements to our schools, identified in our master facility plan. According to preliminary results, the question was voted down with 4,077 (51.05%) NO votes and 3,909 (48.95%) YES votes.

Thank you to the parents, students, teachers, district administrators, Board members and community members who participated in the two year community engagement process leading up to this vote.

Congratulations to Angela Wilcox on her re-election to the Board of Education. I also want to welcome newly-elected Board members Leah Collister-Lazzari and Barry Altshuler. They will replace longtime Board members Brian Battle and Joe Ruffolo. The new Board will take their seats at a special meeting planned for Tuesday, April 30 at 7PM.

It will now be up to the new Board of Education to decide how to proceed, in order to address our facility needs. 

Dr. Brian Harris

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Barrington Hills resident Angela Wilcox

An incumbent and two newcomers landed four-year terms on the Barrington Area Unit District 220 school board in Tuesday’s election.

Five candidates competed for three open seats on the board. The only incumbent, Angela Wilcox, was joined on the ballot by Leah Collister-Lazzari, Mathew Gray, Eva Cole and Barry Altshuler.

Unofficial results with two precincts remaining to be counted in Cook County show Wilcox with 4,473 votes, followed by Altshuler at 3,300 and Collister-Lazzari with 3,092. Gray had 2,657 votes and Cole had 2,065 tallies.

Wilcox said she appreciated the strong support of the District 220 voters Tuesday.

“I definitely haven’t been biased in any of my decisions,” Wilcox said. “I’ve been very taxpayer accountable.”

Read more here.

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Four years ago we asked readers of The Observer to trust our judgment when voting for 3 new trustees to be on our Village Board of Trustees (see Croll, Maison and Cecola for Barrington Hills Trustees).

In what turned out to be a hard fought, oft times contentious campaign, some may have thought we were asking for a leap of faith from our readers, and we continue to appreciate the confidence bestowed upon us by our readers. Though this year’s campaign is the quietest we’ve witnessed in 10 years, the stakes are no less high than they were four years ago.

Five residents are running for three seats on our Board of Trustees. Two residents are incumbent Trustees, one is a current member of the Zoning Board of Appeals, the other two ran unsuccessfully for village positions in 2017.   Here are our thoughts on these five candidates:

Louis Iacovelli: Louis seems like an affable guy in the computer software business. His campaign website is well done, though it would be more suitable to have photo of a location in the Village on the home page and not unincorporated McHenry County.

We cannot support Louis candidacy for the simple reason his wife, Gigi Iacovelli, is the treasurer of the Barrington Hills Park District. Currently a candidate for election on the park board herself, she derives at least part of her income by providing lessons at the district. While this is not a direct conflict of interest, the potential for lack of objectivity may cause concern in a trustee position.

Linda H. Cools: Linda ran as a write-in candidate for trustee 2 years ago, and after two recent Board of Election hearings, she is running for trustee on the April 2nd ballot.

The best thing one can say about Linda is she will do anything to get elected. This was evidenced by the fact that she (‘misspoke’) under oath multiple times to the Village President, President Pro-Tem and the Deputy Village clerk (see Truth or consequences). We have no place in such a small village for unrepentant (misspeakers)!


Debra Buettner: Debra had served on the Zoning Board of Appeals for nearly 4 years when President McLaughlin asked her to consider running for Trustee. When she asked if he needed her help, he replied “Yes.” And that’s why she’s running today.

Debra founded her law firm about the same time she moved to the village nearly thirty years ago.   She is a graduate of Barrington High School, and she has her CPA as well as a law degree. Her confident attitude and her experience on the Zoning Board warrant our endorsement for Board of Trustees.


Brian D. Cecola: Brian became a Trustee in 2015 and was given responsibility for Roads and Bridges as well as Public Safety.   No one adequately prepared him for the conditions he would be inheriting, but as most residents now recognize, he was up for the challenge and then some.

Brian also graduated from Barrington High School and he also owns his own business. He and his wife, Stephanie, and their three children are active in the community, participating in the neighborhood clean up days and riding trail maintenance.

Brian is also very active in philanthropy, is President of the Lions Club, and helped found and run the Fourth of July tent and fireworks. Despite all this, when President McLaughlin asked him to serve another term, he agreed, and he has our wholehearted endorsement.

Bryan C. Croll: Bryan was also elected to the Board of Trustees in 2015. He has been in charge of monitoring the finances of the village with the day-to-day oversight Peggy Hirsch, Village Treasurer.   He and Peggy also keep track of police pension fund performance.

Bryan and his wife Josie have three children and he manages his family business remotely in Arizona.   He donates his spare time to causes such as Barrington Area Conservation Trust and the local riding club.

We had some concerns with Bryan’s willingness to work with others early on in his first term. We now are equally concerned with his motivations in seeking a second term, and this publication cannot in good conscience unreservedly endorse him.   

Overall endorsements: The Daily Herald, Village President Martin McLaughlin and President Pro-Tem Colleen Konicek Hannigan have endorsed Bryan Croll, Brian Cecola and Debra Buettner for Trustees of Barrington Hills.

Cecola and Buettner have the unconditional support of The Barrington Hills Observer. Both have demonstrated a passion for our Village and willingness to serve our community. Both display the honesty, dedication and sound judgement that will represent the residents of Barrington Hills admirably for the next four years.

Early voting ends today, April 1.  Election Day polls open tomorrow morning at 6:00 AM.

Please Vote!


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Barrington Hills Neighbors and Library Supporters –

I have been a Library Trustee for the Barrington Public Library District was nearly 20 years. During that timeframe, I have been proud of the quality library services that we have delivered to the Barrington community in our 72-square mile library district.

Last April, I had to make a difficult decision regarding a request from the Village of Barrington to purchase a substantial portion of our library property to re-direct Lake Zurich Road through the library parking lot to our traffic light. While I have the utmost respect for our Village and understand the dilemma the train traffic on Northwest Highway has created, I could not in good conscience make a decision at that time to irreversibly sell the property and sacrifice the future financial integrity of the library.

A full explanation of my decision can be reviewed in the attached PowerPoint presentation (seen here) I made at the Board meeting in April, where three of my fellow Library Trustees agreed to cease negotiations to sell the land. Now, two challengers are running for three of the open Library Trustee seats, seeking to unseat the three incumbents – including me – with an effort to swing the vote to sell the library property.

I am asking you to vote on April 2nd for Carrie Carr, Barbara Pintozzi and me – the three incumbents, all of whom voted to not sell the library property – to Protect Our Library. The attached flyer gives more background on our candidacy. Note that Daily Herald – after a group interview of all five candidates – endorsed all three incumbents for re-election. You can read the Daily Herald’s endorsement here.

You can read more about our campaign at our website seen here.

Thank you for your consideration of our re-election, and please feel free to contact me with any thoughts you have on the library or the decision on last year’s property issue.

Carolyn Welch Clifford



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C.U.S.D.  220 placed on the April 2nd ballot a $185 million referendum proposal

Representatives of the district have recently conducted information sessions in person or via social media, and we at The Observer have concerns as follows:

  • 220 wants to borrow $185 Million: That’s just shy of $13 million per school, not for any new construction, but just upgrades and maintenance to existing facilities.
  • $60 Million for maintenance alone: 220 proposes to spend a third of the money to be borrowed on heating, air conditioning, plumbing and window repairs or replacement, as well as new roofing. 220 admittedly deferred maintenance over the last 10 to 20 years to the extent that one must ask, “how are some of the buildings are still operating?”
  • The 220 Advisory Committee recommended a lower amount:   220 solicited advisory input from, “…more than 50 community organizations.” Apparently the Board felt such a large and diverse group (a list of the participants can be seen here) would presumably approve the desired referendum amount the Board of Education members wanted ($185 million), but went on to overrule the $158 million amount recommended by the Committee.
  • Pepper Construction provided 220 with budgetary guidance: Rather than insulting the intelligence of our readers by expounding on our obvious concerns on this point, we’ll move on….
  • Turnover on the Board of Education: Three spots are open in this election and a new Board President will be installed. With the many line items on the $185M wish list, we wonder if new members will be completely on board with the expenditures.

Speaking of 220’s wish list, a line item listing of all plans with budget amounts can be viewed here. We wonder, given that kitchen remodeling is included in their expansive list, does that include new kitchen sinks for $185 million?

The big question is, “will the tax weary voters in Barrington Hills approve 220’s proposed referendum?” Some have their doubts, but ultimately it is up to our readers to decide though their votes.

Please take the few minutes it takes to exercise your right to vote. Whichever side the referendum finally lands, at least you will have the peace of mind that comes with having voiced your opinion at the Ballot Box! 

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Four candidates are running for three 4-year terms on the Barrington Hills Park Board: Board President Dennis Kelly, Board Treasurer Gigi Iacovelli, Board Vice President Steve Allen and Deputy Village Clerk Robin Van Castle.

Kelly and Iacovelli have returned candidate bios and questionnaires for the public to review. The other two have not. We endorse Kelly and Iacovelli.

To read the Daily Herald endorsement, click here. .

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The race for Barrington Community School District 220 Board of Education includes five contenders running for three available seats in the April 2 election, in addition to the referendum on the ballot that asks voters about a multi-million spending plan.

Angela Wilcox, who has been a board member since 2015, is the lone incumbent.

Board President Brian Battle decided not to run again, ending a stint on the board that began in 2003. He’s stepping down, he said, because he has met many of the goals that he set for himself throughout his tenure.

“We established solid financial footing for School District 220 and, when I got to the district, it was annually on the financial watch list of the Illinois State Board of Education,” Battle said in December when he announced he would not seek re-election

Read more here.

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Early voting begins Monday, March 18th, and continues through Monday, April 1st. Click on the name of the county below for polling locations and times:

Please be aware that some of the early voting locations have charged, so it’s wise to check first.

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Four of five candidates vying for three seats on our Board of Trustees along with at least two-dozen residents attended the recent League of Women Voters (LWV) candidate forum held at the Barrington Area Library. The LWV has released a video of the hour-long forum that can be viewed here.

The LWV has also released a video of Barrington District 220 pitch for the $185 million referendum to be voted on by residents on the April 2 ballot. A recording of that video can be viewed here.

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