River Forest residents will have to share the leadership of their village president with the rest of the state after Cathy Adduci was elected president of the Illinois Municipal League (IML).

“The Illinois Municipal League has been at the forefront of educating and empowering municipal officials for more than 100 years,” Adduci said. “I am honored to have been selected by my peers to serve as president as we look forward to the year ahead and continue our strong record of advocacy on behalf of communities across Illinois.”

The Illinois Municipal League is a statewide association representing local communities throughout Illinois. Founded in 1913, IML has worked on behalf of 1,295 municipalities in Illinois to provide a formal voice on matters involving common interests.

Adduci was elected president at the organization’s annual business meeting, a part of the 109th annual conference, in Chicago. Fairview Heights Mayor Mark T. Kupsky was elected first vice president and Hazel Crest Village President Vernard L. Alsberry Jr. was re-elected as second vice president.

Previously elected second vice president and first vice president, Adduci will serve a one-year term as president. She has served on the organization’s board of directors since 2015.

She said her top priorities are to restore the local government distribution fund (LGDF) levels that have declined under the past two governors and to prevent the Illinois Legislature from passing any further unfunded mandates.

She said the state is required to share state income tax revenue with municipalities but the percentage they are receiving is 6 percent, down from 10 percent as recently as 2011.

Adduci said restoring the LGDF funding level to 10 percent is “first and foremost” her top priority.

“We’re fighting like heck,” she added.

According to the organization’s website, the IML offers services to its members that range from traditional to cutting edge in order to educate and motivate local leaders. In addition, the IML has worked “continuously” for the benefit of municipalities since its founding in 1913, promoting competence and integrity in administration of municipal government.

Adduci said the education component was among the reasons she was drawn to the IML, along with networking potential and dealing with state and federal officials.

“That’s what attracted us to IML. They educate us,” she said. “They really are highly regarded for education.”

Another reason for belonging to IML is the organization’s contacts in Springfield and Washington D.C.

“We don’t have a lobbyist,” Adduci said. “In that regard IML makes complete sense.”

She cited the conference as an example of collaboration that benefits individual municipalities, describing it as “a yearly event where mayors and village presidents from across our state can network” as well as share best practices and learn more about the opportunities and challenges facing local government.

“This is a place where local government leaders learn how they can join forces with neighboring cities to meet our common goals.”

Noting that membership in the IML included larger municipalities in Illinois such as Chicago and Rockford, she said her being elected president shows that River Forest is important despite its size.

“River Forest has a voice at the table,” she said.

Adduci said she is confident the IML staff, from Executive Director Brad Cole on down,  will support her in her term as president.

“Successful leaders surround themselves with good people,” she said. “Brad is well liked and well informed.

“We all have local issues but he will make sure we fight for our goals.”

Adduci became River Forest village president, the first woman elected to the position, in 2013. She was elected to a four-year term as village trustee in 2009 and was previously appointed clerk in 2007.

She said her motivation to serve the IML is the same for serving River Forest.

“I’m not in this for the money,” she said. “It’s really about the public service. What motivates me is working for the taxpayers.”

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