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Mueller elected Forest Preserve Board president

Meta Mueller (left) and Annette Parker (right)

Meta Mueller of Aurora was elected president of the Forest Preserve District Board of Commissioners during a reorganization meeting on Monday, Dec. 12.

Mueller, who has served on the Board since 2018, succeeds former President Joe VanDuyne of Wilmington. VanDuyne said serving as Forest Preserve Board president was "one of the greatest experiences I've had in the political world" and he thanked staff for their assistance during his term. 

Mueller will serve the first year of a two-year term.

"I am excited to get started," Mueller said after the Board vote. "I love the forest preserves and can't believe I get to have this honor."

She said the Forest Preserve District is important to Will County because it allows residents to experience the community from a different perspective.

"With our forest preserves, there's always a spot to unwind, exercise, unplug, etc. nearby," she said. "Will County is incredibly diverse in so many ways, and the intentional preservation of our green spaces helps create balance. I love that our community created this for us to enjoy for generations."

Annette Parker of Crest Hill was chosen by the Board to serve as president for the second year of the two-year term. The term was split because there is a tie between Republicans and Democrats on the 22-member Board. Mueller is a Democrat and Parker is a Republican. 

Parker, who has been on the Board since 2014, will serve as vice president while Mueller is president and Mueller will be vice president when Parker is president. The Board elected Raquel Mitchell of Bolingbrook secretary and Sherry Newquist of Steger treasurer.

VanDuyne will chair the operations committee, Jim Richmond of Mokena will chair the finance committee and Katie Deane-Schlottman of Joliet will chair the ad hoc committee. Newquist will chair the retiree health insurance trust fund committee.

Commissioners also agreed on some meeting changes starting with January 2023 meetings. The changes are:

  • Monthly Board meetings will begin at 9 a.m. instead of 9:30 a.m. They will continue to be held on the second Thursday of each month at the Will County Office Building, 302 N. Chicago St., Joliet.
  • Committee meetings will be held on the first Thursday of the month instead of the first Wednesday of the month, and they will begin at 9 a.m. instead of 8:30 a.m. The meetings will take place at the Will County Office Building instead of the Forest Preserve’s Sugar Creek Administration Center. The meetings begin with operations at 9 a.m. followed by finance and then ad hoc. 

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