The Mokena School District 159 board appointed Aaron Janik, 36, from a field of three candidates to fill a board vacancy.

Board President Danielle Didrickson said Janik is “a good fit” for the board.

“Aaron has some interesting and creative ideas without it hurting our bottom line,” Didrickson said.

Janik and his wife, Molly, have made Mokena their home for 41/2 years. They have two children: Luke, 10, who attends Mokena Intermediate School, and Madison, 8 months.

Janik is an attorney with the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police Labor Council.

Didrickson said Janik’s experience with labor negotiations will be useful to the board.

Janik hopes to help reinstate some of the district’s programs that were eliminated several years ago during a financial crunch. He said he also would like to see fees, especially transportation fees, reduced or phased out completely while being “mindful of the fact that those things cost money.”

Janik fills a vacancy left by Mike Ford’s resignation in early June. The board asked Ford to resign by June 10 or move back into the district as Ford reached a 90-day limit imposed by the district for living outside of the district boundaries.

Ford and his family are living with his in-laws in unincorporated Will County after the unexpectedly quick sale of his Mokena home earlier this year. Ford said he plans to build a new home in Mokena.

Janik said he thinks he is a good replacement for Ford because they are both “young professionals living in Mokena” who want to do the best for the district.

“He has the same mind-set I have,” Janik said.