LAKE IN THE HILLS – After 12 years in the village and six on the Village Board, Trustee Denise Barreto is saying goodbye to Lake in the Hills.
Leaving midterm, Barreto has not yet submitted her formal resignation to village President Paul Mulcahy, but said she plans to in the next few days. Her departure from the Village Board, to which she was elected first in April 2009 and again in April 2013, will be effective at the end of the month.
The 43-year-old said her decision to leave and relocate to Evanston was driven mainly by two things: her family and her business.
With one of her kids headed to fifth grade and the other to high school, she said the move will allow them to start at new schools at the beginning of the year.
Having spoken in the past about diversity – and at times, a lack thereof locally – not only in regard to race and gender, but also regarding perspective, Barreto added that the new hometown will offer an environment more desirable for her and her family.
“It was timing to get my kids into great schools and to have a high school career where they have the ability to be in a more diverse area,” Barreto said.
Vacating her trustee spot also will free up more time she plans to spend nurturing her relatively new business, Relationships Matter Now, which is a strategic business consulting firm born out of her experiences in local government. She said it has thrived since its 2010 launch.
“My ability to impact local policy – while it was huge here in Lake in the Hills on the board, it will be bigger now,” Barreto said, adding her business now serves half a dozen municipalities and more than 30 park districts throughout the state. “I’m going to miss being in the mix of things, but honestly, I still am in the mix of things.”
In her time on the board, she said she is especially proud of being a “driving force behind getting the village to put a strategic plan in place” and of bringing an outsider’s perspective to the local body of government.
Although in her resignation letter she expressed sadness about leaving, Barreto added she plans to maintain a home in the village and keep her business in McHenry County given her position on the Business Enterprise Program Council, to which she was appointed by former Gov. Pat Quinn and which focuses on minorities, women and people with disabilities.
Although the resignation is not official until the letter is received, Mulcahy said in this case of a trustee leaving with so much time left in her term, he likely would choose to appoint someone rather than leave the seat vacant until the next election.
In that scenario, he likely would seek input from trustees to select the best-suited person, and there would be a board vote, Mulcahy said.
“[Barreto] has served the village very well and with dedication,” he said. “She’s been a valuable addition to the Village Board.”