Longtime Lyons Township Assessor Barbara Weyrick is leaving her office at the end of the month after 32 years on the job.
Late last year, Weyrick decided not to seek another four-year term and in April voters elected Western Springs resident Patrick J. Hynes to the post. A quirk in state law meant Weyrick’s term does not officially expire until January 2022, but Weyrick decided that now is the time for her to step down.
“After being the assessor for so many years, I don’t want to work the holidays,” Weyrick told the Landmark in a telephone interview.
Weyrick said she didn’t think she should run for a new term at age 75, adding that last year’s death of her close friend, former Lyons Township Clerk Mary Jo Noonan, influenced her decision.
“She was my traveling buddy,” Weyrick said. “It’s time for me to take a different road.”
Weyrick, a lifelong resident of south Brookfield, said she will continue her volunteer work assisting in funerals at St. Cletus Catholic Church in LaGrange.
The first woman to be elected Lyons Township assessor, Weyrick is well known for helping her constituents understand the convoluted Cook County property tax system. As assessor she helped homeowners file property tax appeals, made sure senior citizens and others got any of all exemptions that they qualified for and generally helped people in any way she could.
“It’s a very complex process and she’s always tried to do the best that she can for the residents,” said state Sen. Steve Landek, who is also the mayor of Bridgeview and a former Lyons Township supervisor. “We’re going to miss her. She was just very helpful to everyone.”
In Cook County, township assessors do not actually assess property. That is the job of the Cook County assessor. Technically township assessors are deputy assessors to the county assessor.
“We’re more of a service department, so to speak,” Weyrick said.
Weyrick was known as an advocate for the property owners in Lyons Township.
“She was a strong advocate for her taxpayers and I think probably the characteristic that comes to mind most often was her tenacity,” said Elk Grove Township Assessor Connie Carosielli, who like Weyrick was first elected township assessor in 1989. “If there was something wrong, she wanted it fixed.”
Weyrick and Carosielli do not hold the record for the longest serving township assessor in Cook County. That record is believed to belong to Schofield “Scuff” Gross, who served as the Riverside Township Assessor for 40 years.
Weyrick, who went to Lincoln School in Brookfield and Lyons Township High School, was hired as the office manager in the Lyons Township Assessor’s Office in 1984 when Vince McInerny was the assessor.
A year later, McInerny stepped down and Weyrick ran to replace him. But she ran as a Republican and was defeated by Edward Schumann.
“The reason I lost in 1985 is that I was a very naïve individual, didn’t know politics,” Weyrick said. “You grow up really fast when you lose, because you see all the volunteers that are crying [on election night]. That was the hardest thing that I had to witness was people who gave up months of their time to get me elected. And I swore I would never lose again.”
Schumann fired Weyrick as office manager after defeating her and Weyrick sued him. Then she got the best revenge by running again in 1989 as part of a unity slate and defeating Schuman. She has run as a Democrat ever since.
Riverside Township Assessor Fran Sitkiewicz said Weyrick was active in the assessor’s association and helpful to her when she first began working in the Riverside Township Assessor’s Office.
“She was very active in providing the services of township government to the people of her township and really believed in providing those services,” Sitkiewicz said.
In addition to working as the assessor, Weyrick had worked as banquet manager at the William Tell Holiday Inn in Countryside and at the old Candlelight Dinner Playhouse in Summit.
Hynes, 49, who will replace Weyrick at the beginning of November, two months earlier than expected, was unopposed in the April election. He has worked as residential field inspector for the Cook County Assessor’s Office for the past 23 years. Hynes is a nephew of former Cook County Assessor Tom Hynes.