Mayor Paul Braun bestows honors, offers well-wishes and says farewell at April 19 meeting

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Mayor Paul Braun bestows honors, offers well-wishes and says farewell at April 19 meeting

April 23, 2021 - 15:20
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Mayor Paul Braun has left the board room for the last time, at least in his official capacity of leading Flossmoor’s village board meetings.

The Flossmoor Village Board held a small reception Monday, April 19, following its meeting, with a celebratory round of cupcakes and soda. But first, Braun shared some parting words and honored fellow residents.

A string of resolutions came first, with Braun recognizing Lt. Jeffrey C. Lemon, who grew up in Flossmoor, joined the United States Air Force in 1967 and went missing in action in 1971 in the skies near Laos. Members of Lemon’s family were in attendance.

“Whereas, the fate of those heroes missing in action have always been one of the most troubling and unsettling consequences of any war, Jeffrey Lemon will undoubtedly live on in the memories of his family and the Flossmoor community,” Braun read from the resolution.

Braun also honored Sharon Lorsch for her work on Flossmoor’s Public Art Commission, Ananda Billings for her nearly two years appointed to village clerk, and Gyata Kimmons, who was elected to serve the board as a trustee in April 2019 but left the post by October 2020 because Chicago changed its rules about elected officials who also serve as lobbyists in the city. Kimmons encouraged residents to “stay involved” and “participate” in their community.

“It was an honor to serve, even though it was a brief time,” he said.

Braun’s last resolution of the evening recognized Trustee Diane Williams, who has served Flossmoor for roughly two decades but did not seek reelection this year. She said she hopes her work energizes other people to get involved and make contributions in a positive way.

“Serving this community is an honor,” she said.

Following the resolutions, members of the village’s Community Relations Commission surprised Braun by stopping him on the floor before he returned to the dais to thank him for his service, hard work and dedication to the village. Braun noted at the end of the meeting he was most proud of improving Flossmoor’s bond rating, improvements to the viaduct, the electric aggregation program, increasing transparency in local government, securing the remodeling of the Metra train station and finding grants for street light replacements. He has served on the Flossmoor Village Board since 2002 and became the mayor in 2009.

“Being mayor is the job of a lifetime, but it’s not a job for a lifetime,” Braun said.

Braun called Bridget Wachtel “the best village manager I could ever hope to have,” noting she kept him grounded, focused and educated throughout his time on the board. He also thanked his wife and acknowledged all of the department leaders in Flossmoor.

“Thank you for your hard work and dedication to the residents,” he said.

Braun twice during the meeting recognized Flossmoor’s Mayor-Elect Michelle Nelson, who was in attendance. He first asked her to stand and be recognized between resolutions.

“You’re going to be our next mayor,” Braun said. “We are very proud of you and look forward to your service.”

He later mentioned Nelson during his parting comments at the close for the meeting, noting he is happy to help if she ever needs anything.

“I know you’re going to do great things for our village,” Braun said.

Other business

  • The village board voted unanimously to approve the reappointments of resident Carlo Gozzi and Wachtel to the Fire Pension Board. The board features five members — two active, one retiree and two mayoral appointments. Gozzi and Wachtel have already been serving in those appointed roles but had to be renewed. Gozzi was appointed to a one-year term, while Wachtel is to serve a two-year term in an effort to stagger the appointments.
  • The village board voted unanimously to add language to its municipal code that prohibits defacement of public art. The change was made at the request of Flossmoor’s Public Art Commission. It is designed to protect sculptures from damage by hanging or adding items to them, according to a report from Assistant Village Manager Allison Matson.