Q&A: Trustee Terman Reflects on Years of Service, Future Issues
Mari Terman told Patch what she'll miss most about serving as a trustee for the village board.
Wilmette Village Trustees Mari Terman and Karen Spillers will be officially replaced on the board by Bob Bielinski and Julie Wolf during Tuesday evening's meeting. Terman and Spillers spoke to Wilmette-Kenilworth Patch about why they chose not to run for re-election and they've learned from their term on the board.
Before serving as village trustee for for six years, Terman chaired the health board, as well as the senior resources commission. And while Terman said she'd miss being a trustee, she vowed to take on other community issues in some capacity.
Patch: Why did you decide not to run for re-election?
Mari Terman: My reason for deciding to not run was very personal. I’m 75, and If I were to be re-elected, I would have been 80 by the time I finished my term. And I thought that’s sort of silly—one never knows what the future holds. I’ve seen examples of people lingering when they shouldn’t. I will miss it. I don’t regret not running, but I’m sad. I love my village.
Patch: What are you going to miss the most?
Mari Terman: I guess, to be totally candid, the special place one has as village trustee that could be in terms of people’s complaints, or requests for your involvement in an issue one way or another—that’s fascinating. It’s great fun.
Patch: What are some key lessons you learned?
Mari Terman: I've learned to patient with, and more sensitive to conflicting agendas. I’ve had to learn that and listen more closely.
In all the work that I’ve done, the word fairness was central. Whatever the issue is, if it can be personalized at all, people are most interested in being treated justly and fairly. A lot of the complaints come down to the perception of whether or not they were being treated fairly, and just and fair treatments might differ from each other. I think I tried over the years to be just.
One was the question of affordable housing, and I hear one or more of my colleagues wanting to reopen that. Affordable housing I think is a superb idea, and those who express a distaste for it do not understand what it means. One of the reasons I so strongly backed Julie [Wolf] and Bob Bielinski is that my perception is that these are people who operate without bias. That’s what the village needs; smart people who are without bias and people who can look at every single issue using their knowledge while increasing their knowledge.
Patch: How has Wilmette's government changed as you've been involved?
Mari Terman: The chief change was getting a new village manager; that was superb. And we were very lucky to have Tim [Frenzer] perform as an interim. Tim is a peculiarly talented person, and his experience as being counsel enables him to have context, to know the rules and the law.
Over the years the whole question of environment has also been very interesting. I’m delighted that we have an environmental commission, I think it’s feeling its way. There’s a huge amount of potential there.
Patch: What are some key issues the new board faces?
Mari Terman: I think the opportunities are going to be the development on Green Bay Road and along Linden Avenue are a big issue. The opportunities there are huge. My mantra has always been, when we were going through the development on Green Bay Road, that it is our window to the world.
The budget is also a big concern. I also hope that we will be able to get funding from the state so we won't have to do any what might be short-term layoffs. It’s very clear that there are services valued by the residents that might be compromised.
Patch: What's next for you?
Mari Terman: I’m looking forward to coninuting being active in North Shore Village. It’s a brand new group, it’s been in business about 18 months. It is a non-profit that is built for people to remain in their communities and homes as they get older. It’s a forward looking group that anticipates changes in ourselves or others. We want to overcome social isolation and maintain access to vetted services. The other thing I continue to be is a docent at the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago.
Wilmette-Kenilworth Patch also caught up with outgoing village trustee Karen Spillers.