Caucus Preservation Act FAQ

What is the Caucus Preservation Act (“CPA”)?

The Caucus Preservation Act (“CPA”) is an amendment to the Caucus Bylaws to preserve the Caucus’ objective and transparent process that has made Lake Forest municipal government free from agenda-based politics for 90 years.

What is the Caucus process?

Lake Forest residents elect their Caucus Committee representatives to objectively find, vet, and recommend the most qualified, agenda-free volunteers to serve on city boards and commissions and elected positions including mayor, city council, and school board.

Can I still vote for my preferred candidates?

Yes, you can still vote for any candidate of your choice in any general election. You can still vote for Caucus members to represent your interests in the Caucus candidate selection process. You can still run as a candidate in any general election.

What is a general election?

An election in the spring governed by the Illinois State Board of Elections in which a Lake Forest registered voter can vote for any Lake Forest municipal government (city council or mayor) or school board candidate, Caucus endorsed or otherwise.

Why act now to preserve the Caucus?

Typically, less than 1% of Lake Forest registered voters attend a Caucus annual meeting. Self-serving individuals can exploit a small turnout to adversely influence our elections to serve their own agenda, thereby undermining the Caucus mission.

Does this mean the Caucus will never hold a public vote on a matter?

No. The elected representatives on the Caucus Committee can hold a public vote on any matter as and when necessary to best serve the residents of Lake Forest and support the Caucus process.

Who benefits from the CPA?

Every resident in Lake Forest.

What if we don’t act now to preserve the Caucus?

The effectiveness of Lake Forest municipal government and school boards can be compromised by groups or individuals with self-serving agendas. This is one of the main risks the Caucus process mitigates.

What are other benefits of the CPA?

The CPA also allows the appointment of qualified Officers to lead the Caucus without disruption. Officers are appointed by Caucus Committee members who themselves are elected by the residents to represent their interests. Committee members know who among Committee members are the best qualified and experienced to support the Caucus mission as Officers.

Removes a Ward Chair’s service from counting against the 3-year term limit of serving as an Officer on the Executive Committee.

Allows for the Spring Meeting to be held in March or April to provide more flexibility in scheduling.

Where can I find the proposed Bylaw amendments?

The proposed Caucus Bylaw amendments can be found HERE.

When does the CPA start protecting the residents of Lake Forest?

After a ⅔ favorable vote at the Caucus Annual Meeting on November 7th, 2023 at Gorton Center.

Caucus Preservation Act

The Lake Forest Caucus mission is to find, vet, and recommend the best candidates to serve the City and its residents in our municipal government and school boards without personal or other pre-established agendas.

The Caucus Preservation Act (“CPA”) is an amendment to the Caucus Bylaws to preserve the Caucus’ objective and transparent process that has made Lake Forest municipal government free from agenda-based politics for 90 years.

As typically less than 1% of Lake Forest registered voters attend a Caucus Annual Meeting, individuals can exploit a small turnout to adversely influence our elections to serve their own agendas, thereby undermining the Caucus mission. The CPA shields the Caucus mission and process from such manipulative behavior.

Since Lake Forest residents vote for their Caucus Committee representatives, and also for their chosen candidate in a general election, a third, easily manipulated Caucus candidate ratification vote is not needed for residents to have sufficient opportunity to influence the election of their municipal government officials. Given the consistently very low turnout of residents for Caucus candidate ratification votes at a Caucus Annual Meeting, there is no reason to believe a vote at this meeting has been or will be representative of a large portion of the Lake Forest community.

The Caucus Committee operates on a short timeline to search for, vet, and recommend qualified candidates for elected positions. This timeline is dictated by the Illinois State Board of Elections. It is impractical to codify in its processes a timeline whereby a candidate search, vetting, and recommendation process must be repeated multiple times.

The Caucus process has served our community for 90 years as a primary driver for the quality of life we all enjoy in Lake Forest. Please support the Caucus in its mission to keep agendas out of Lake Forest municipal government. Vote in favor of the Caucus Preservation Act on November 7th at the Caucus’ Annual Meeting at the Gorton Center. The proposed Caucus Bylaw amendments can be found HERE.  Frequently Asked Questions about the CPA can be found HERE.  Please feel free to reach out to a Caucus Committee member with any questions.

Nov. 7, 2023 – Annual Meeting

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Gorton Center

Vote from 4 to 8:30pm
Presentation from 6 to 7:15pm

Voting

Prior to consideration for adoption, recommended Bylaw amendment(s) shall be reported to Caucus membership.  Proposed Bylaw amendments found HERE.

Registered Lake Forest voters can approve or reject:

To vote:

  • Bring your ID to validate Lake Forest residency.
  • You must be a registered voter.

Presentation

  • President’s Report – Christopher Benes, Caucus President, will present an update on current Caucus Committee activities, including recruiting for City Boards and Commissions.
  • Treasurer’s Report – Fred Brewer, Caucus Treasurer, will provide an update on the financial condition of the Caucus.
  • City Council Candidate Introduction and Community Address

We look forward to seeing you on Tuesday!

Weber 2023 Term Summary

Chair – Civic Beautification Committee

  • Enforced the term limits of the Garden Club representatives to encourage fresh ideas and new input.
  • Assessed Deer Path Streetscape Project and provided feedback on the designs of Deer Path Road between Golf and 41.
  • Approved landscaping plan for the on and off ramps of 41 to provide a harmonious entrance and exit of our great City. Planting to begin fall of 2023.
  • Provide feedback on the Community Garden initiative from ESC and street corner landscape improvements in the Central Business District and North Croft Park Master Plan.
  • This committee has extensive community outreach through our four local Garden Clubs and the Lake Forest Historic Preservation Foundation.

Chair – Environmental Sustainability Committee

  • Prioritize the Committee’s initiatives such as community awareness through communications: partnering with summer camps (recycling campaign).
  • Reviewed solar panels on City owned buildings when infrastructure needs replacing.
  • Considered converting mowed areas of grass to natural areas where appropriate.
  • Researched and implemented a curbside composting program with WasteNot.
  • Currently accepting resident registrations, with marketing to schools and businesses.
  • Applaud staff as they include environmental components in public works projects.
  • This effort has become standard practice for our City and should be recognized.
  • With my horticulture background, I can provide leadership and directon on the development of a Community Garden in partnership with Elawa Farm Foundation.  We hope to bring this to fruition in 2024.

Public Works Committee

  • Provide real time feedback on parking upgrades at Elawa Farm and throughout the City’s Central Business District.
  • Review and assess City Storm Water upgrade projects to mitigate resident disturbances.
  • Engage in future planning of improved intersection work at Everett Rd. and Waukegan Rd.
  • Always keep the tax payer’s best interest in mind when spending dollars for infrastructure, building and fleet maintenance, and staffing numbers.

Finance Committee

  • Always prepared to discuss the Annual Operating Budget, Tax Levy Ordinance and Appropriation Ordinances. Review and approve funding for all operational priorities of the City, policies and procedures where applicable for the financial health of our City.

PPL Committee

  • Contributed to the purchase of the Joytime property by promoting fiscal responsibility and not overpaying for the site.

Community Engagement

  • I have attended many community events to show support such as the ribbon cutting at the renovated South Park, Dedication of “The Grove” at the West Lake Forest Train Station, the groundbreaking of “The Lawn” a short game practice area at Deer Path Golf Course, the Dedication of the Hughes Clubhouse and Kiely patio at DPGC, march in the Lake Forest Day parade, attend Police Foundation awards, ground breaking of Deer Path Community Park, dedication of Veteran’s Park, ribbon cutting of many local businesses, actively visit our local Library, Forest Park Beach and shop at local businesses.

Timely email and phones responses and follow-ups to residents inquiries on issues and/or requests

Prepared for and attend bi-weekly City Council meetings and all applicable committee meetings

Additional Community Involvement

  • Monthly floral design instructor at Elawa Farm, Junior Garden Club of Lake Forest: member of and Director at Large, member of the School of St. Mary Advisory Council, Kernal for BSA Pack 49, member of St. Genevieve Circle of the Guild of St. Mary, volunteer at the School of St. Mary, member of the Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Chamber of Commerce.

<< Back to Meet our 2023 Alderman Candidates

Notz 2023 Term Summary

Finance Committee

Review and recommend funding for all operational priorities of the City, including but not limited to the Annual Operating Budget, Annual Appropriation Ordinance, Annual Tax Levy Ordinance, and other policies and procedures applicable to the financial health and systems of the City.

Highlights include two significant bond refinancings that had the City’s investment grade credit rating reaffirmed, helping the City continue providing high quality services to its residents as cost effectively as possible.

Public Works Committee

Works with City staff to provide guidance, oversight and recommendations to city council that concern maintaining and enhancing infrastructure, facilities and equipment, following the City’s Capital Improvement Program, Capital Equipment Program, existing ordinances and fiscal policies while minimizing disruption to residents and communicating with them.

Significant recent public works projects include stormwater mitigation across the City (particularly North Western Avenue and Deer Path Road), creating artificial turf playing fields behind Deer Path Middle School, stabilizing Forest Park Beach’s bluff, entering into expense sharing agreement with State of Illinois that allows the City to take better care of Route 60 and Waukegan Road during the Winter and maximizing grant programs to reduce City taxpayer burden of infrastructure costs.

Property and Public Land Committee

Assess City’s inventory of land, buildings and related improvements to determine whether enhancement, disposal or acquisition of public lands, buildings and other assets of the City is warranted, in a manner that serves the public interest, protects the health and safety of the community, enhances the quality of life, and preserves the character and traditions of community.

Highlights include the acquisition of the Joytime pre-school property, allowing the City to expand West Park while protecting integral underground infrastructure.

<< Back to Meet our 2023 Alderman Candidates

Patch article by Caucus Secretary Dale Tauke

Long time ward 2 resident and current secretary of the Lake Forest Caucus, Dale Tauke, recently penned an article about the Lake Forest Caucus and the Caucus Committee for the Patch.  It highlights the structure of the Caucus and Caucus Committee, the mission of the Caucus, and how you can get involved if you are interested in joining the Caucus Committee, serving the city of Lake Forest in various positions, or simply subscribing to the newsletter to stay informed of what’s happening with the Caucus.  Check it out at the link below.  It’s a quick and extremely informative read!

https://patch.com/illinois/lakeforest/lake-forest-caucus-new-year-september-26-open-call-meeting-nodx

 

Novit 2023 Term Summary

Finance Committee August 2022 to Present

  • Reviewed and recommend funding for all operational priorities of the City, including but not limited to the Annual Operating Budget, Annual Appropriation Ordinance, Annual Tax Levy Ordinance, and other policies and procedures applicable to the financial health and systems of the City.

Public Works Committee August 2022 to May 2023

  • The committee meets as needed (usually once a month or more) to review projects being presented to the Council for consideration. Much effort is put into the presentation of these projects and committee members meet with the Public Works Department Staff members to review and approve each project.
  • Financial impact is one of the areas assessed in approving the specific projects, and the committee members regularly review its inventory of land, buildings and related improvements to determine whether enhancement or disposal of assets are appropriate as well as to determine whether acquisition of additional assets is in the public interest.
  • The City Council also has a responsibility to manage and utilize public lands, buildings and other assets of the City in a manner that serves the public interest, protects the health and safety of the community, enhances the quality of life, and preserves the character and traditions of community.

Environmental Sustainability Committee June 2023 to present

  • Since joining, I have supported committee’s initiatives specifically helping with the launch of the voluntary curbside recycling program and encouraging schools and businesses to join in.
  • Discussing the addition of recycling bins where there are public trash cans
  • Other initiatives to support Lake Forest’s position as a Sustainable Community

Legal Committee Liaison for City Council June 2023 to present

  • Attended quarterly meetings and weighed in when asked about pending legal matters before the City
  • Senior Resource Commission Liaison for City Council
  • Attended bi-monthly meetings and provided information to City Council regarding the pending matters before the Commission.

Community Engagement

  • Attended community events to show support including the Lake Forest Day parade and carnival, Coffee with the Alderman, Town Hall Meetings

Timely email and phone responses and follow-ups to residents’ inquiries on issues and or requests

Prepared for and attended bi-weekly City Council meetings

<< Back to Meet our 2023 Alderman Candidates

Meet our 2023 Alderman Candidates

Lake Forest residents will have candidates for Alderman in all four Wards in the March 19, 2024 General Primary Election.  The Caucus Committee vetted, voted for, and supported the incumbent candidates before endorsing them for their prior and current terms and again reviewed, interviewed, and voted to endorse these same three candidates for another term in Wards 1, 2 and 4.  A new candidate will be vetted and endorsed in both Wards 1 and 3.  The candidate ratification vote will be taken during the Caucus Annual Meeting on November 7. Cast your vote for the endorsed candidates in the municipal election on March 19. 2024.  Early voting begins on February 8, 2024.

First Term

Ward 1 - Pete Clemens

Ward 3 - Alice LeVert

Incumbents

Ward 1 - Nancy Novit (2nd Term Election)

Ward 2 - Ted Notz (3rd Term Election)

Ward 4 - Eileen Looby Weber (3rd Term Election)

Pete Clemens, Ward 1

Pete Clemens is a 30-year resident of Lake Forest and has lived in three of the city’s four Wards. Pete grew up in Minneapolis, MN and moved to Lake Forest following graduation from University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Business with Bachelor of Science business degree in 1971. Pete joined American Hospital Supply and moved to Lake Forest following graduation. Pete had a successful career in healthcare as a senior manager at American Hospital Supply, Baxter International, Becton-Dickinson and Company, Dade-Behring, Inc and BioGenex Laboratories. His responsibilities included Corporate Contracts and National Accounts, Channel Management/Supply Chain and Operations. Pete served on the Manufacturer’s Board of the Health Industry Distributors Association.

After a year in Lake Forest Pete relocated to the Eastern US in 1972 and then to the West Coast following Baxter Heathcare’s acquisition of American Hospital Supply. In 1993 with his wife Nancy and young son Chase, he moved back to Lake Forest. Chase graduated from the Lake Forest Country Day School, Lake Forest High School and Miami University, Farmer Business School in 2017. Nancy currently serves on multiple community boards including Lake Forest Open Lands and Infant Welfare Society.

Pete is currently in his second term on the Zoning Board of Appeals and for the past 5 years has served on the LFHS Foundation Executive Committee as Vice-Chair for the Business Incubator Program. The Business Incubator is a popular college level elective honors class for juniors and seniors. Pete coordinates the recruiting and vetting of the 35 local businesspeople who work in class with student teams throughout the school year. Pete served on the Lake Forest Caucus from ’13-’18 as Communications Chair, Vice President and President. Pete was an Asst. Scoutmaster for Lake Forest Troop 46 where he was an Eagle Scout mentor and the Fundraiser Chair. Pete also co-chaired a major capital campaign for St. James Church and served as Church Council President. He co-chaired with Nancy the Lake Forest Open Lands Bagpipes and Bonfire fundraiser in 2018.

Alice LeVert, Ward 3

Alice LeVert is a 30 year resident of Ward 3 in Lake Forest.  Alice graduated from Miami University, Oxford, OH with two Bachelor of Arts degrees and has an Executive MBA from The University of Notre Dame.

Alice has had a successful career as a Global Sales Executive, Sales Manager and National Account Manager and General Manager for Fortune 100 and a Fortune 500 global technology companies.

Alice has served on the Lake Forest School District 67 Board of Education since 2017 serving as Vice President, Secretary, Legislative Liaison, Chairman of Finance and Operations, as well as participating on the Education and Policy committees.  She has attended national, state and regional conferences on behalf of District 67.

Alice also volunteers as a Minister of Care for the Church of St. Mary and the Lake Forest Hospital Pastoral Care team.

Alice and her husband Tim have two sons and continue to enjoy all that Lake Forest has to offer.  She looks forward to representing Ward 3 and all those who call Lake Forest home.

Nancy Petrick Novit, Ward 1

Nancy Petrick Novit has been practicing law since 1986. She graduated from St. Lawrence University, and earned her Juris Doctor from University of Illinois Chicago in 1986. She worked as an Assistant Public Defender from 1986 – 1990 in the Office of the Cook County Public Defender. In 1990, she founded Novit & Novit LLC with her husband, focusing on real estate, business, and trusts and estates law. Today, Nancy is a general practice attorney.

Nancy will complete her first term as a Ward 1 Alderman, having been elected in August 2022. During her first year -- August 2022 to May 2023-- on the Council, she served on the Public Works Committee and the Finance Committee. She continues serving on the Finance Committee and has added the Environmental Sustainability Committee, Liaison to the Legal Committee and Liaison to the Senior Resource Commission during the current service year – June 2023 to May 2024.

Prior to serving on City Council, Nancy served for six years on Lake Forest's Zoning Board of Appeals, completing her term in July 2022. In this position she streamlined the approval process for homeowners to make changes to their properties. Now homeowners start with the Zoning Board so any required variances are defined prior to design input before petitioners go to the Historic Preservation Commission or Building Review (if applicable) for approvals. Prior to this, homeowners often had to go back multiple times before various boards.

Nancy and her husband Kent moved into Ward 1 with their two young daughters 31 years ago. Nancy served on the First Presbyterian Preschool Board, was on numerous District 67 and 115 committees, volunteered with Ragdale, Infant Welfare Society, I Have a Dream of North Chicago, The History Center of Lake Forest and Lake Bluff, as well as Lake Forest Open Lands and the League of Women Voters of Lake Forest/Lake Bluff. Nancy helped keep the Gorton Center open and running when financial concerns threatened to shut it down in 2010. She helped analyze and change the financial structure, program efficiencies, leases and room rental agreements to help return Gorton to financial stability.

Nancy has thoroughly enjoyed meeting Ward 1 residents and greeting familiar faces. She is happy to help those in Ward 1 address matters concerning the City. She is excited to continue collaborating with her fellow City Council members to continue building upon the City’s long history of strong fiscal management and community engagement.

Edward “Ted” U. Notz Jr, Ward 2

Edward “Ted” U. Notz Jr. has served as Ward 2 Alderman since October 2019, when he was nominated by the Caucus and appointed by City Council to complete the remaining term of a vacating seat. With the Caucus’s support to continue serving as Ward 2 Alderman, Ted was elected for two, full terms in 2020 and 2022. He deeply appreciates his long-standing relationship with the Caucus and looks forward to earning it once again for the 2024 campaign to serve the third and final two-year term he is eligible for. He is grateful for the opportunity to continue serving the community on City Council, where he is committed to helping preserve the unique characteristics that make Lake Forest the special place it is, while balancing that with an eye to making sure the City remains relevant and viable, attracting residents and business into the future.

Ted is a lifelong resident of Lake Forest, going through both District 67 and 115 before earning his BA from Denison University and MBA from DePaul University. Ted and his wife, Tiffany Edwards, also a lifelong resident, moved back to Lake Forest in 1998, where they raised their two, now-adult children. In the years since, he has remained actively involved serving the community through various boards and commissions, including Building Review Board (Chairman), Zoning Board of Appeals, Lake County Community Foundation, Lake Forest Caucus, Historic Preservation Foundation and First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest (Elder and Deacon).

Professionally, Ted has spent his career in the commercial real estate industry, both on the financing and development side. Today, he is a senior relationship manager with Associated Bank, providing project, fund and corporate financing to institutional real estate companies across the country.

Ted deeply appreciates the invaluable contributions Caucus, city staff, and resident volunteers make to ensure Lake Forest functions effectively and efficiently, preserving the cherished characteristics of the community while making sure it is positioned to be relevant into the future.

Eileen Looby Weber was born and raised in Lake Forest. She pursued a bachelor’s degree in Horticultural Production and Marketing at Purdue University. It was her love of flowers and working with people that led Eileen to join the family business, Lake Forest Flowers. She earned an MBA at Lake Forest Graduate School of Management while continuing to manage the business.

As a member of the Society of American Florists and American Academy of Floriculture, Eileen teaches hands-on floral workshops and demonstrations at Elawa Farm, Dickinson Hall, and many North Shore Park District Garden Clubs. She began her City Council Role in 2020 after serving on the Cemetery Commission, Waukegan Road/Settler’s Square & Route 60 Corridor Working Groups. Eileen chair’s the Civic Beautification Committee, Environmental Sustainability Committee and is a member of the Finance, Public Works, and PPL committees.

She is an active volunteer for the Church and School of St. Mary, a member of the Junior Garden Club of Lake Forest and Purdue Agriculture Alumni Board of Directors.  Her past volunteer service includes the LF-LB Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Past President of the Lake Forest Caucus, Past President of the Amberley Woods Condominium Association and Board Member/Committee Chair of Carmel Catholic High School Board of Directors.

Eileen and her husband, Brian, have two sons, Michael and Edward. When not at the flower shop, you can find her gardening, playing golf, or with her boys in the community she adores.

9/26 – Open Call for Interested Residents

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Open Call for Interested Residents at Gorton Center from 7-8pm.

Open Call for Interested Residents is an opportunity for residents of Lake Forest to meet their Caucus Committee ward representatives to discuss:

  • opportunities to volunteer within the City,
  • the Lake Forest Caucus Committee, and
  • the Caucus system.

We are “volunteers seeking volunteers” and encourage the public participation in the Caucus Committee and across the boards and commissions of the City. We welcome all residents to complete a Volunteer Profile Sheet (from the Volunteer menu, select Create New VPS). This allows us to quickly identify citizens who are interested in serving in elected or appointed positions.

The open call meeting will be held at Gorton Center (400 E. Illinois Rd., Lake Forest, IL 60045).

 

2023 Caucus Season

The Lake Forest Caucus, now entering its 89th season, has a busy year ahead! We will be strengthening various Caucus Committee operational processes, including interviewing and bylaws, as well as recommending new City Council members for Ward 1 and 3 and Mayor-appointed positions to City boards and commissions.

Elected positions

  • City Council Ward 1
  • City Council Ward 3

Appointed positions

  • Audit Committee
  • Legal Committee
  • Plan Commission

If interested in volunteering, please fill out a Volunteer Profile Sheet.