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Local News

'It's time' - Longtime Bolingbrook mayor steps down

Claar had served as mayor since 1986

Now former Bolingbrook Mayor Roger Claar speaks Tuesday at a village board meeting in which he resigned after nearly 35 years as mayor, saying it was time to retire..
Now former Bolingbrook Mayor Roger Claar speaks Tuesday at a village board meeting in which he resigned after nearly 35 years as mayor, saying it was time to retire..

Bolingbrook Mayor Roger Claar officially resigned Tuesday night ending his nearly 35-year tenure leading the village through most of its existence as it more than doubled in size.

The Village Board accepted the resignation and took another vote reducing the mayor's job to part-time for whoever is elected in April as Claar's successor. The board meets again Thursday to determine an acting mayor.

Claar's resignation meeting was held outside at a performing arts center near the village municipal building. News of his plan to leave office came out last week.

"It's time," Claar said during the board meeting. "I'm going to be 75 in November. Most people have been retired for years at 75."

Several supporters came out to thank Claar for his service and some shouted, "No!" when he requested a motion for the board to accept his resignation.

Claar spoke for about 15 minutes toward the end of the meeting listing his many accomplishments. He pointed to the growth Bolingbrook saw from having about 35,000 residents when he entered office to now having about 75,000.

Claar said he's overseen the expansion and diversification of the village's housing stock, the growth of its retail and industrial sectors, and even the planting of about 10,000 trees.

He said between serving as mayor and in other village positions, he's been involved in Bolingbrook government for about 40 of the village's 55 years of existence.

Claar had said he wanted to retire to spend more time with his family. He thanked his wife Pat for putting up with his busy days as mayor.

He also remarked on his critics, saying at times it's been "very difficult" and referring to the "abuse of people who are ignorant" and who drive "good people" from serving in government.

Since he narrowly won reelection in 2017, Claar has hinted publicly several times he would not run for office again in 2021.

Will County Board member Jackie Traynere, who ran and lost against Claar in 2017, announced earlier this summer she would run again next year. She told The Herald-News she thought Claar wasn't running again because he "knows he'll be beaten."

But Claar had been elected mayor nine times since first appointed to the position in 1986.

He became emotional a few times while speaking and thanked several other local elected officials and friends for their help during his years in office.

"Be well," he said as he concluded his remarks. "Stay safe and thank you."

The Village Board vote to make the mayor's office part-time is effective after the April election. In the meantime, the board will choose an acting mayor on Thursday.

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