Huntley says goodbye to four village officials, leaving after April’s election

Three trustees and Huntley’s longtime village clerk are among those departing

Village of Huntley officials leaving in May 2023 include (top row from left to right) Village Clerk Rita McMahon, and trustees Harry Leopold, (bottom row from left to right) Niko Kanakaris and Curt Kittel.

After a combined 73 years of service, the village of Huntley said goodbye to three trustees and its clerk, making way for a few new elected officials to fill their seats.

At the Village Board meeting Thursday, along with welcoming in its new members, officials and staff took turns sharing memories and saying goodbye and thank you.

Village Clerk Rita McMahon, the longest serving of those leaving, was first appointed as village treasurer in 1988, according to village documents. She was appointed deputy clerk in 2003, and six months later took over as village clerk in 2004. She’s held the position for more than 19 years.

“[She’s] a consummate professional,” Trustee Ronda Goldman said of McMahon. “Kind, humble, always there to support. Those hugs meant a lot to me those last 10 years.”

She has executed about 3,000 ordinances and resolutions and administered the oath of office 158 times, according to a village presentation.

On the board, Trustees Niko Kanakaris, Harry Leopold and Curt Kittel are all leaving after each opted against running for another term.

“I am so sad that you are leaving. You have taught me so much in two years. … I appreciate you so much.”

—  Trustee Mary Holzkopf on Trustee Niko Kanakaris leaving the Huntley Village Board

The longest-serving current member of the Village Board, Leopold, first joined in 2003, and in that time he has attended 736 meetings and approved 2,835 village items, according to the presentation.

“You’ve always had the best interest of the Village Board in mind,” Village President Timothy Hoeft said of Leopold.

Kanakaris first joined the board in 2007, and in that time attended 566 meetings and approved 2,318 agenda items, according to the presentation.

In the time both of them have been on the board, the village has passed a number of development agreements, including the widening of Route 47 in 2010, a $23 million project, according to village material.

The new Huntley Board, on May 11, 2023, consists of (top row from left to right) trustees Ronda Goldman, John Piwko, Mary Holzkopf and Vito Benigno, (bottom row from left to right) JR Westberg, Village President Timothy Hoeft and Trustee Ric Zydorowicz.

“I am so sad that you are leaving,” Trustee Mary Holzkopf said of Kanakaris. “You have taught me so much in two years. … I appreciate you so much.”

Kittel served for two years on the board after being appointed to finish out Hoeft’s trustee term once he was elected as village president.

Kittel was on the board during a period that saw it move forward with many development agreements in its downtown corridor, as well as the Route 47 and Interstate 90 corridor.

“It’s fantastic to have seen you grow the past two years,” Trustee JR Westberg said of Kittel.

Kanakaris, Leopold and McMahon served during a time that saw Huntley grow significantly, more than doubling its population from 12,270 in 2003 to more than 28,000 in 2023, according to the village presentation.

Joining the board are trustees John Piwko, Ric Zydorowicz and Vito Benigno, who ran uncontested in April’s election. The group has said they like the direction the village is headed and hope to help continue both residential and business growth.