Lake County Board chairman takes leave to enter addiction rehab

By Gregory Harutunian for Chronicle Media

Aaron Lawlor, Lake County Board chairman.

Lake County Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor announced in a July 30 press release that he has taken a 30-day leave of absence from his position, and begun treatment for a drug addiction at the Hazelden-Betty Ford Foundation. The release did not specify the type of drug addiction, nor the location of the recovery center.

In releasing the statement, Lawlor said that he, his family, and his office will have no further comment on his recovery or personal issues that led to the decision.

In his statement, Lawlor said, “Every community in America is touched by addiction, and Lake County is no different. Like so many, I am dealing with an addiction and am getting help. I am grateful to have the love and support of my family, friends and an amazing team of professionals and clients at Hazelden-Betty Ford, who help me in my recovery every day.

“Since starting at Hazelden-Betty Ford, I’m getting to know myself again and getting back to the Aaron people knew before addiction took hold of my life … the Aaron who works hard, who believes deeply in service to others and, especially, who smiles. My addiction has damaged my life and personal finances, and I am working to rectify them.  I am giving treatment my full commitment, and look forward to returning to work.”

According to its website, the foundation is “The nation’s largest nonprofit treatment provider, with a legacy that began in 1949, and includes the 1982 founding of the Betty Ford Center. With 17 sites in California, Minnesota, Oregon, Illinois, New York, Florida, Massachusetts, Colorado and Texas, the Foundation offers prevention and recovery solutions nationwide and across the entire continuum of care for youth and adults.”

Lawlor, a Republican who was appointed to the county board to represent District 18 in 2009, has won election to the post in each election since then. He has also been elected to the chairman post, which carries a two-year tenure as a candidate from the rank and file of the county board membership in 2012, 2014, and 2016.

Lawlor gained attention July 10 for helping shepherd a resolution through the county board. It requested that Gov. Bruce Rauner use his amendatory veto power and not sign a bill to forward a binding referendum question asking if the post of Chief County Assessment Official should be an elected position, rather than one of appointment. Should Rauner sign the bill, which specifies Lake County in the title, it will appear on the Nov. 6 general election ballot.

No further information is available, and no further statements are being made by the Lake County Communications Office, at this time.