SOUTH HOLLAND | Don De Graff took an oath of office Monday for a four-year term as village president that will, if he completes it, ensure he will have been the head of municipal government here for two full decades.
De Graff and all the candidates on his Community Heritage Party slate were successful in the April 9 municipal elections for village president, clerk and trustee positions.
But it wasn’t until Monday – the first Village Board meeting of South Holland’s new fiscal year – that village Attorney Timothy Lapp was able to administer the oaths of office that make each of them official for terms running through April 2017.
De Graff originally was appointed to fill a village president vacancy in 1994, and has won re-election to the post ever since – making next year the 20-year mark at which the lifelong South Holland resident, who will celebrate his 62nd birthday later this month, will have been village president.
De Graff said he and his colleagues in village government hold the political posts because they think they can make a difference for the community and its residents.
“We are very thankful for the strong vote of confidence that was shown us in the last election, and every day from the businesses of this community,” De Graff said. “Nobody on this board is out to do this for themselves.
“It is not for our glory, but for the good of the village that we serve,” he said.
Lapp also administered oaths of office to trustees Larry De Young, Andrew Johnson Jr. and Matthew James, along with village Clerk Sallie Penman, who noted that several students from area middle schools were on hand for Monday’s meeting as part of a Student Government Day program.
“I’m really grateful that so many young people are getting a chance to witness this part of village government,” Penman said.
Three other village trustees – Cynthia Doorn, John Sullivan and N. Keith Chambers – were elected in 2011 to four-year terms that expire in April 2015.
Among the Village Board’s other activities on Monday were to approve a series of appointments, including putting village trustees in charge of various committees and naming residents to volunteer commissions and committees.
Just over 200 appointments were approved, with De Graff admitting that some of the individuals were merely re-appointments of people who had held the posts for the past few years.
De Graff tried to have a little bit of humor about the large, but routine, number of appointments, quipping, “Out of all these people appointed, do we get one ‘thank you?'”