Cowhey resigns as Lake Forest mayor
Updated: January 22, 2013 8:49PM
LAKE FOREST — Lake Forest Mayor James Cowhey resigned his post effective Jan. 22.
Third Ward Alderman Don Schoenheider agreed to fill out the term as mayor and will serve as acting mayor until a swearing-in ceremony that likely will take place on Feb. 4.
The Lake Forest Caucus selected Schoenheider as the mayoral candidate last fall as Cowhey’s term would have ended in May 2013.
Jack Reisenberg, Lake Forest Caucus candidate for Third Ward Alderman, likely will be sworn in Feb. 4 to fill the remainder of Schoenheider’s alderman term, and again in May to a complete four-year term following the April 9 election.
An 11-year resident of Lake Forest, Schoenheider said he was “flattered to be considered and humbled to have the opportunity” to serve as mayor. He praised Cowhey for his years on the Lake Forest City Council and as mayor.
“Jim has been a tremendous leader. He’s been a great representative for the city of Lake Forest. We’ll definitely miss him, but we’re excited about his personal opportunity,” Schoenheider said.
Cowhey resigned in a letter addressed to the Lake Forest City Council and dated Jan. 11. “It is with mixed feelings that I submit this letter of resignation,” he wrote. Cowhey is relocating to Texas where he was hired as CEO of WCA Waste Corporation in Houston, according to a press release issued by the city Jan. 16.
In his resignation letter, Cowhey said he began serving in his new post in Texas on Jan. 7.
Cowhey was appointed mayor in May 2009. Prior to that, he served as Fourth Ward Alderman for six years, from May 2000 to May 2006.
As mayor, Cowhey worked with the Lake Forest City Council and staff on the city’s fiscal health; environmental stewardship; the city’s infrastructure and character; and transportation and safety.
Going forward, Schoenheider, who has served as alderman for two and a half years, said he sees the economy, the Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital revitalization and local business strength as important issues to the city’s future.
“Without question, the number one thing we need to continue to do going forward is to continue to keep our fiscal house in order,” he said. “It’s been a very difficult time economically, not just for our community but for every community around the country.”
He said Lake Forest has done “a great job” of managing its fiscal health.
Schoenheider also praised the influx of new businesses to the city’s downtown, adding that a “viable retail core” helps maintain the city’s quality of life.
He also noted the city’s long history of environmental stewardship with open lands and a continued growth in recycling.
“Those are the kinds of things that are part of the community’s character and make Lake Forest unique,” he said.