Eleven years ago, the residents of Hawthorn Woods gave me the honor to serve them as Mayor. Today I wish to thank all of you who have allowed me this extended privilege to serve, and I wish to thank you for your citizenship which has allowed this village to become a better, more beautiful and more livable place to call home. Through the years I have had the chance to get to know you - your emails, letters, phone calls, and the impromptu grocery store meetings. Doing so has shown me the goodness of our residents, and it inspired me to work hard, always shoot straight, and never give up.
It is with gratitude that I write and inform you that I will be relocating out of town in March, and as such I will be stepping aside as Mayor. What has been both a humbling and rewarding experience is one that I will cherish for the rest of my life.
As an immigrant, I can say firsthand how much I have appreciated our country and the opportunities it afforded my family, including the opportunity to become a resident of Hawthorn Woods. I have always believed in volunteerism and service to others, and serving as mayor has been the pinnacle of that belief.
I am proud to report that for the past 11 years, the Village has seen a financial turnaround, undertaken several public works improvement projects around town, and enhanced our service departments. We have been awarded national recognitions in several departments, and are known as the most environmental community in the United States in 2019 by America in Bloom. We have modernized our Public Works fleet for snow and ice removal, upgraded our Police Department fleet, and increased our free special events and concert series for families. We have paid down inherited debt, and acquired no new debt. We now have a 5-year capital plan in place, and have created sustainable line item funding for future financial security. Even our Budget has had a complete renovation, and we now include a reader friendly Priority Based Budget summary document published annually and available on our website. As a result, we have been awarded the GFOA Excellence in Financial Reporting Award every year for the past 10 years.
I have served with an amazing group of elected Board of Trustees that serve without compensation to set policies and procedural direction for the Village. These residents are your neighbors who sacrifice family time and dedicate their own resources to oversee Village operations. We also have a dedicated and professional staff that is second to none in the municipal arena – this I know as a fact. I have stood on the shoulders of all these people, as they humbly serve this village. Not one of the achievements we enjoyed could be possible without this team that served with me all these years. As your Mayor I have had the privilege of serving on regional councils as well, representing Hawthorn Woods on the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus as their Chairman of the Board, and serving as President of the Lake County Municipal League. Our Village is well respected in the region, in the state, and in the nation.
We have earned the prestigious Safest City in Illinois award because of our outstanding Police Department. Our employees have won national competitions in their professional organizations for achieving excellence among their national peers. We have been selected the most desirable hometown community in the United States in our population category as National Community Champion by the America in Bloom Foundation.
Collectively, we have made the Village of Hawthorn Woods one of the most desirable hometowns to live, work, be educated, and spend leisure time. We have a commonality of preserving our rural lifestyle with modern amenities nearby. We enjoy living in harmony with our natural world, and have worked tirelessly to preserve our beautiful ecosystems. And with the Board’s succession management plan, our next Mayor promises to uphold these values that drew us all to choose Hawthorn Woods as our hometown.
This volunteer experience has forever engaged my heart in service toward others. While I am moving away from town a piece of my heart will always remain here, at home. I hope to see you again as a returning friend attending one of our many special events in Hawthorn Woods in the near future so that I can thank you personally. On behalf of my entire family, we thank you for the honor you bestowed on me to serve this community as your Mayor.
With Kindest Regards and Heartfelt Appreciation,
Mayor Joseph Mancino
Village of Hawthorn Woods