What Hoffman Residents Missed by Not Attending Board Interviews

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Byline: Kimbriell Granderson Daily Herald Staff Writer

There were more candidates who applied for the open board seat in Hoffman Estates than there were audience members who caught a glimpse of the rare open meeting interviews.

With only five residents attending the two open meetings, held Saturday and Tuesday, Mayor Bill McLeod called the showing "disappointing."

Despite the low turnout, he has no plans to scrap the public viewing. "It's good for people to see that the process is legitimate, its open and people can critique the quality of the questions we ask," said McLeod. "That's good."

"I'm a little disappointed in the turnout here," said nine-year Hoffman resident Gerald Newell, who attended Tuesday's interviews with his wife, Anna.

"You learn a lot more about them (the candidates) in person," Newell said.

Altogether, the board interviewed six candidates for the post. The vacancy was created when McLeod, a 20-year trustee, was elected mayor April 3. This weeks interviews are believed to be the first open interviews to fill a board vacancy in village history, officials have said. The board went into executive session following the last interview Tuesday to discuss the pool of candidates. They are expected to vote at a board meeting June 4.

Although eight candidates applied by last week's deadline, two withdrew before making the interview - Terry Donahue and the Rev. Jimmie Daniels. Donahue, who was known for her unsuccessful bid for the park board in 1997, dropped out last week. Similarly, Daniels ran unsuccessfully for a village board trustee seat in 1997 and later served for a period on the zoning board. He withdrew Tuesday.

"It's a personal decision of his," said McLeod.

Daniels, past president of Operation PUSH and a businessman, could not be reached for comment late Tuesday. If he had stayed in the race, he would have joined a pool of candidates that included a scientist, salesman, plant operating engineer and assistant public defender. …