Caucus Updates

Last Updated 5/15/24

Officer Election – Thursday, May 30th, 2-8pm, Gorton Center

An election for 2024-25 Officers will be held at Gorton Center on 5/30, 2-8pm.  The proposed Caucus Officer slate is here.

Threatened Legal Action against Caucus

On April 23rd this letter and Exhibit 1 was received from attorney Mr. Ed Mullen representing certain Lake Forest residents including Liam Connell, David and Diana Moore, Patrick and Kara Boyd, Lori and Dean Thuente, Sue Kruesi, Scott Zuhr, and “other individuals who are members of the Lake Forest Caucus” threatening legal action if their demands were not met.


Exhibit 1

To avoid disruptive litigation and to ensure that the volunteers on the Caucus Committee can continue to serve the residents of Lake Forest by identifying, vetting, and recommending the best qualified volunteers for municipal government without distraction, the previously recommended 2024-25 Officers have not been installed and there will be another election for 2024-25 Officers in a timely manner.

The Caucus Bylaws do not clearly state what to do after a “NO” majority vote at the Spring Meeting for recommended Officers.

This resulted in the Caucus Committee’s recommendation to proceed with the previously proposed Officer recommendation and with Joe Oriti as President at the Spring Meeting.

How the Leadership Selection Process Works

Lake Forest residents elect new Caucus Committee members each Spring by returning a postcard mailed to their residence with their candidate choices. These elected volunteers do all the work of the Caucus.

The current Executive Committee of the Caucus Committee recommends the best qualified and willing Committee members to serve as the next year’s Executive Committee from those Committee members who are eligible under the Bylaws. Executive Committee members have no more votes during Caucus Committee meetings than any of the other Committee members. Recommendations for Executive Committee are merit based, just like the process the Caucus Committee uses to recommend volunteers for appointment to Lake Forest municipal government board, commission and elected positions. The Executive Committee consists of seven Officers and four Ward Chairs who are appointed by the Officers.

From their experiences working together, Caucus Committee members gain the knowledge of who among them is doing an exemplary job (or not) and who has the requisite skills (e.g. leadership, problem solving, project management, finance, technical, marketing, communication, collaboration, teamwork, etc.) to justify them being on the Executive Committee. Moreover, the Caucus Committee members alone possess insight into who on the Committee consistently attends and participates in Caucus meetings and events, completes work by requisite deadlines, and makes decisions without bias or agenda.

A strong Executive Committee is optimally constructed by considering the skills and abilities of candidate members together, not individually, and selecting members who will make the team stronger due to their collective strengths. At any given time, the then current Executive Committee has the most in-depth insight into all of this. This group therefore has the clearest perspective to determine who is eligible, qualified, and importantly willing to serve as the next Caucus Executive Committee, to ensure that the duties of the Caucus Committee are fulfilled on behalf of all Lake Forest residents.

Potential Leadership Pool

Of the 43 elected Caucus Committee members:

  • ~15 are first year members; and
  • ~11 members are terming off and no longer interested in serving.

First year members do not typically serve on the Executive Committee because they are still learning how the Caucus Committee works and developing experience to contribute effectively. The four Ward Chairs are typically selected from Caucus Committee members who have served at least one year. That leaves 12-13 Caucus Committee members each year as candidates to fill seven Officer positions. Only six Caucus Committee members are eligible to serve as President because the Bylaws stipulate that the President must have previously served as an Officer on the Executive Committee.

For the 2024-25 Caucus year, five of the six Caucus Committee members eligible for President have chosen not to serve in that role. All of this leaves one eligible member – Joe Oriti – to serve as President. Joe is also, in the judgement of the Caucus Committee as a whole, the best qualified to serve as President.

As is understandable, some of the 12-13 remaining members this year who would be eligible for non-President Officer positions have chosen not to take on this significant responsibility, for varying reasons. Others, who have not demonstrated the requisite skills to execute the responsibilities of Officers, would not be good candidates to take on the more demanding responsibilities of an Officer. With these considerations in mind, the Caucus Committee arrived at the previously presented Officers for 2024-25, selected from a short list of eligible, qualified and willing Caucus Committee members.

Unsubstantiated Claims

Numerous claims about the Caucus Committee have been made by various residents which lack empirical evidence or basis in fact, including:

  • the Caucus Committee is conservative;
  • the Caucus Committee is liberal;
  • certain Officers are not acceptable because they served on the Caucus Committee during the recent unsuccessfully contested mayoral election;
  • the Caucus Committee is pro-development, and is “stacking” Lake Forest boards and commissions with volunteers who wish to destroy Lake Forest’s unique community character;
  • the Caucus Committee is responsible for articles written in the Lake County Gazette;
  • the Lake Forest Podcast is a “voice” of the Caucus Committee;
  • yard signs from elections were stolen (implying Caucus Committee members were culpable);
  • women should be in certain roles;
  • the Caucus Committee will not honorably conduct a vote and must have outside supervision to ensure results are accurately recorded without subterfuge;
  • the Caucus Committee does not respond promptly to people who are interested in volunteering; and,
  • the Caucus Committee doesn’t treat candidates fairly during the interview process.

These unsubstantiated claims are without merit.

Posted in News and Events.