Tri-board group keeps information rolling
Lake Bluff Village President Christine Letchinger makes a point during a Tri-Board Meeting Jan. 10 in Lake Bluff. | Joe Shuman~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 18, 2013 9:54AM
LAKE BLUFF — They gathered around a long table finishing up boxed sandwiches, swapping stories and, most importantly, sharing information about what’s happening with their boards of trustees.
Representatives from the Lake Bluff’s Village Board, Park Board and School District 65 — including the director of each agency and two elected officials — convened in a conference room at Lake Bluff Elementary School Thursday, Jan. 10, in the most recent of the village’s quarterly tri-board meetings. The group meets every four months with the location rotating among schools, parks and village.
The Jan. 10 was chock-full of discussion, from safety and security at the schools to vacant property updates in the village and the 20-year capital plan developed by the park board.
Begun formally in the fall of 2008, the Lake Bluff tri-board group is not a decision-making body.
“The original intent was to keep each other informed,” said Village President Christine Letchinger. “We don’t make any decisions there, we don’t pass ordinances. It’s just information.”
Letchinger, who started the group, attended her final meeting as village president last week.
Besides keeping each other apprised of individual initiatives, the group was set up to expand the notion of shared services — “how we can cooperate better to use taxpayers money more effectively and communicate with each to achieve our various goals,” she said.
District 65 Superintendent Jean Sophie said other communities she has worked in had similar multi-board meetings. She found it helpful there and has the same feelings about the Lake Bluff group.
“I’ve only been here six months, but I feel I can call on any of them (in the group) and say, ‘I need this,’ and they’d be here in two seconds,” Sophie said.
Lake Bluff Park Board Commissioner Susan Ehrard finds the meetings to be “very beneficial,” she said. “It’s good for all three groups.”
Fellow park board commissioner Rob Douglass described the group think-tank as a “collaboration.”
“It creates opportunities,” Douglass added. “Any way we can be more efficient, we all win.”
Village Trustee Brian Rener has served on the group for several years.
“We really started it because we didn’t want to duplicate services and duplicate efforts,” Rener said. “It’s all about sharing.”
Though she is leaving office in April, Letchinger expects the tri-board meetings to continue.
“I don’t see it going away,” she said.