Foss Park District president picked to succeed Audrey Nixon on Lake County Board

Frank Abderholden
4–5 minutes

Vance Wyatt, the Foss Park District board president and board member for the North Chicago Public Library board, has been selected to fill out the term of the late Audrey Nixon on the Lake County Board, according to the board chairman.

“In his interview, I witnessed first-hand Vance’s commitment to District 14 when he shared the story of how he was one of only two in his graduating class who came back after college,” Chairman Aaron Lawlor said in a statement announcing Wyatt’s selection on Wednesday.

“I know Vance shares my deeply held belief that North Chicago is a community worth coming back to and worth fighting for, and Vance will be that champion.”

Wyatt said Wednesday that Nixon was a staple in the community, and when she died in April, it was like losing a grandmother.

“It’s truly an honor to fill her position,” he added.

Detailing plans to resign from both the park district and library boards to take the County Board seat, Wyatt said he will continue pushing for things that Nixon backed, such as jobs for youth to keep them out of trouble and finding jobs for those with a criminal background so they can turn their life around.

“I’ll also be looking at economic development,” Wyatt added. “North Chicago does not have a grocery store.”

Wyatt’s proposed appointment is scheduled for a vote by the County Board on June 13. He is replacing Nixon, a fellow Democrat who served on the board representing North Chicago and parts of Park City and Gurnee since 1982. Nixon was also the longtime chairman of the board’s law and judicial committee.

State Senator Terry Link, who serves as a chairman of the Lake County Democratic Party, said in a statement that he supports Wyatt’s appointment.

“It’s important that we grow the next generation of leaders in Lake County, and Vance Wyatt is a dynamic, young leader who will bring a fresh perspective to the County Board, and serve the residents of District 14 well,” he said in a statement.

Wyatt will serve the remainder of the term, which will expire in 2018.

According to information released by the county on Wednesday, Illinois law requires the County Board chairman to appoint a qualified individual to a vacancy on the board within 60 days with the advice and consent of board members.

“Following Nixon’s passing, Chairman Lawlor outlined an inclusive process and appointed an advisory committee made up of Democrat elected officials and the board leadership,” the statement added. “The panel reviewed applications from eleven candidates, conducted in-person interviews with four individuals, and recommended Wyatt for the appointment.”

Wyatt had a lot to take on when he became the Foss Park District board president, because the district had been rocked with scandal before he arrived with a theft case involving Toys for Tots donations that saw charges brought against two board members. In early 2015, another board member pleaded guilty to an election code violation.

Wyatt has a master’s of business administration, banking and financial from Concordia University in Chicago and a bachelor’s of science in business management with a minor concentration in public policy from National-Louis University. He presently works for CVS Health as a financial analyst with RxClaim.

Lawlor’s statement announcing Wyatt’s appointment also encouraged residents to “honor Audrey Nixon’s legacy by stepping forward to serve in one of many appointed leadership opportunities,” adding that information on nearly 300 volunteer positions on 70 different boards, commissions, committees and units of government are posted on the t the County Board’s website.

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