The city of Geneva is looking for applicants to represent its Third Ward after Ald. Dawn Vogelsberg announced this week that she was giving up the seat she's held for 10 years.
Vogelsberg made the surprise announcement at the end of Tuesday's City Council meeting, telling her fellow aldermen that she's been stretched too thin in recent months and was ready to turn over her seat to someone who could bring more passion to the job.
"I thought I could do it all, and I can, but I couldn't do it all well," Vogelsberg said Wednesday.
Vogelsberg started a full-time job as a support staff member in the Kane County state's attorney's office in April, while also serving as executive director of the Paul Roby Foundation for Parkinson's Research. She also has three children — two in college and one son in high school.
"They let me miss me 10 years of Monday nights," said Vogelsberg, thanking her family for their support. She said that after several years of near-perfect attendance, she was starting to miss meetings.
When she first mulled resigning, she kept convincing herself that she could make it work, she said.
"But then something else would come up," Vogelsberg said. "When I finally said it out loud, I thought, 'Somebody else is going to have the chance at this.'"
She recalled how badly she wanted to serve when she was elected, she said. She had been PTO volunteer, served on the city's plan commission and chaired a public safety referendum to build a new fire station before she was elected.
"There's someone out there with that passion I had and it's time for their turn," Vogelsberg said.
She said she's enjoyed learning more about her city, even topics she would have never guessed she would have found interesting.
"To understand electricity start to finish and the way our water treatment works — it's been fascinating. I would have never guessed that about myself," she said.
She said she considered herself a "big-picture" kind of alderman, as opposed to a council member concerned with watching every penny in the budget.
"I way more enjoy when we're talking about vision and what we can accomplish," she said, adding that since the economic downturn, it's been harder to do that kind of creative big-picture planning.
Her fellow alderman said they will miss her perspective and her sense of humor.
Ald. Craig Maladra said that Vogelsberg is the "best partner I've had on the city council."
Their dynamic "exemplifies the way the council should work. We disagree on almost everything," he said, but they do so respectfully and listen to each other.
"I learn a lot from the debate. I'll miss it," he said.
Burns, who Vogelsberg said mentored her from her time on the plan commission, said that Vogelsberg is like the character on "Bozo" who spun multiple plates in the air.
"Dawn has been spinning plates for 10 years" and she made the right decision to remove some plates before she let them fall, he said.
It's now up to Burns to appoint her replacement. He said he would like to bring a candidate to the council for approval by the end of February.
Residents in the Third Ward (the northeast part of the city) who are interested in the seat must submit a letter of interest and resume postmarked no later than Feb. 3 to City Hall. Eligibility requirements can be found on the city's website, http://www.geneva.il.us.