Ald. Tom McAvoy (3rd Ward) hands in his councilman’s badge during the Hickory Hills City Council meeting last Thursday. McAvoy resigned as alderman, citing health issues as the reason for his leaving.
It was not business as usual during the Hickory Hills City Council meeting last Thursday night. The stunning announcement that Ald. Tom McAvoy (3rd Ward) was going to resign at the end of the month pre-empted any further discussion on other matters.
McAvoy turned in his resignation, which is effective at midnight on Aug. 31, after serving 14 years and 115 days in office. The Aug 24 meeting was his last as a member of the council
“I think 14 years and 115 days in office is a pretty good run,” McAvoy stated in a letter he presented to the council and which he had mailed to his friends and neighbors in the 3rd Ward.
Shortly after the meeting was called to order, Mayor Mike Howley respectfully called on McAvoy for comments on his letter of resignation. Before he spoke, McAvoy stood up, and in a move that brought tears to many of those present, reached across the dais to remove his name plate. He then turned to City Clerk Dee Catizone and handed his councilman’s badge and ID card to her.
He cited recent health issues as the reason for his resignation.
“My health is such that I just no longer have the energy to do all the elements of the job I have done in the past and that I believe an alderman should do,” he said.
McAvoy was elected to his position as 3rd Ward alderman in 2003 with nearly 60 percent of the vote in a three-candidate contest. He was elected the same year Howley and 1st Ward Alderman Mike McHugh were voted into office.
He was re-elected three times; in 2007 with 95.4 percent of total votes cast; in 2011 with 94.5 percent; and in 2015 with 96.4 percent of the total votes.
He thanked his 3rd Ward friends and families for volunteering over the years to assist him in completing so many non-partisan community projects and programs.
“I could never have done any of those things alone. I had many helping hands. I was always proud to say that I had the largest all-volunteer aldermanic staff in the State of Illinois.”
His volunteer group was one of his many accomplishments as alderman. He organized and developed a band of more than 120 “Third Ward Volunteers” who worked with him, operating the Annual Street Festival Bingo Tent and distributing semi-annual ward newsletters and non-partisan election information packets to more than 2,300 voters in every election since 2003.
In a later conversation, the mayor said, “I have never worked with a person so committed to serving not only his 3rd Ward constituency, but the entire city of Hickory Hills. He worked tirelessly on behalf of residents and I cannot think of a person more dedicated to his elected position. Tom only knows one way to do things and that is at 110 percent. He is the perfect example of how a local elected official can really impact the lives of people.
“In one instance, Tom almost single-handedly forced ComEd to improve electrical service throughout the 3rd Ward,” added Howley. “I have a great deal of respect for him and will be forever grateful for having served on the city council with him. More importantly, I am most thankful for a friendship that we will continue to have even as he retires from the city council.”
At the close of the meeting last Thursday, McAvoy told Howley he will not disappear into the sunset.
“I will be available for consulting when needed,” he said.