Editor’s note: The Herald asked Northbrook Village President Kathryn Ciesla for her thoughts on 2021 in Northbrook, and perhaps a look forward to 2022. She graciously responded.
When I look back on 2021, I have such gratitude for everyone who lives, works and visits us in Northbrook. It is remarkable the dedication our residents and businesses have shown to be kind to one another, wear a mask and get vaccinated as we continued to change and adapt during the second year of the pandemic.
I also want to say thank you to the health care workers, teachers, service workers, firefighter and paramedics, snowplow drivers and police officers along with so many others who have worked day in and day out over this past year — their work has truly made all the difference.
The year 2021 is also notable for our growing population and many new faces in positions of leadership. In May, I was humbled to be sworn in as the newly elected village president and share that experience
with first-time elected official Joy Ebhomielen, who became a village trustee along with returning board members Muriel Collison and Dan Pepoon.
The board has become a strong team along with existing trustees Robert Israel, Heather Ross and Johannah Hebl and returning Village Clerk Debbie Ford.
I describe 2021 as a year of stewardship marked by the adoption of Northbrook’s first Climate Action Plan and the welcoming of new staff members and promotions.
As several key village staff retired, up-and-coming professionals were internally promoted while we also welcomed experienced new-to-Northbrook public servants Village Manager Cara Pavlicek and Police Chief Christopher Kennedy.
I also know that each of these individuals would agree with me that the best new recruit to the village is the Police Department’s first Therapy Canine — Chloe, who provides comfort and stress relief to members of the public and village staff. She also participates in public events and community outreach.
Working in and supporting those in the mental health space has been critical in 2021 and will continue to be in 2022 as we all learn the importance of individual well-being at every stage of life from childhood through adulthood and aging.
What will 2022 bring?
Foremost, I am focused on maintaining the fiscal stability of Northbrook’s village organization that has maintained its AAA underlying bond rating throughout the pandemic and is keeping property tax collections flat in 2022. This is critical as we continue to understand the influence of the pandemic on our localeconomy.
I am also focused on innovation and exploring how government can connect with residents and businesses through social media and community events.
Northbrook is a community of residents who rely upon our exceptional public services and our outstanding schools. I know firsthand how much we enjoy celebrating our wonderful community in person at traditional events like the Fourth of July and Northbrook Days.
I look forward to continuing these traditions and creating new memories with you in 2022!
Happy New Year,
Kathryn Ciesla, Northbrook Village President