LA GRANGE – Seated in the middle of nine men, retiring Village President Liz Asperger received a round of thank you’s from her male colleagues during her final Village Board meeting as president May 13.
After Trustee Mike Horvath thanked Asperger for leading a board with a “bunch of crazy guys,” Trustee Mark Kuchler told Asperger that his daughter wanted her to know how much she loved it that a woman was village president.
Asperger, village president since 2005, has served in an official village role since 1993, when she joined the Economic Development Commission. Her career as a public official mirrored the life of her son, Kyle, who will soon turn 21. During his mom’s tenure, Kyle Asperger got used to saying, “’No, my mom cannot help you if you get a ticket in La Grange,’” Liz Asperger said.
Among the residents who thanked Asperger was Alfredo Banks, who recalled a story Asperger told him about growing up in a house where she wasn’t allowed to leave without first making her bed.
“You are leaving the house, and your bed is made,” Banks said. “A job well done.”
Replacing Asperger is Tom Livingston, a former two-term trustee with a background in public administration, including a stint as a senior assistant to Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar. Asperger approached Livingston, a trustee from 2003-2011, about running for village president when she decided she would not seek reelection.
Livingston, 45, grew up in La Grange Highlands before attending Lyons Township High School and the University of Illinois, where he was selected as the student to portray Chief Illiniwek from 1988-89.
Currently a regional vice president for government affairs at CSX Transportation, a railroad company, Livingston said it will be important for La Grange to “reengineer its future and build on strengths.”
"Budgets are very limited in local government across the country,” Livingston said by phone. “I would call La Grange a stable ship in choppy waters. The state budget is still being developed. Some proposals have called for less of a share with local governments. So we're monitoring that and preparing for it either way."