Outgoing River Forest village trustee Dale Rider, a frequent opponent of Village President Frank Paris in village board votes, will be Paris's opponent in the April presidential election. Rider, a 10 year veteran of the village board, was one of 10 individuals filing papers with the village clerk early Tuesday morning for village president, trustee or library board. For Rider, it's all or nothing after 10 years on the village board.
"This is it," said Rider Tuesday with a chuckle. "I'm going for the top job or nothing."
Paris, meanwhile, is asking voters to return him to the president's chair for an unprecedented fourth term. Paris's car may not have started Tuesday morning, but it doesn't look like he'll have any trouble starting another campaign. Two trustees running for reelection, Patrick O'Brien and Nancy Dillon, both took time to express their enthusiastic support for Paris Tuesday morning.
"I'm looking forward to serving with Frank Paris as president," said O'Brien, who has served six years as a trustee under Paris, and credits Paris with turning the village around. "He's done so much for our board and our community."
Dillon, like Paris, said she is eager to continue to have a say on issues that she has worked on for the last 10 years as a trustee. She praised Paris as a "brilliant man" who works "27 hours a day" for the village.
"I think he has to continue doing what he's doing," said Dillon.
For his part, Paris echoed earlier comments that he still had things to see through to completion in a fourth term. Calling the transformation of River Forest a "work in progress," he said that he looked forward to continuing to bring the concerns of the community before the village board.
Rider, however, believes Paris has already served too long. Moreover, he expressed unhappiness with Paris's management style, calling it too hands on. Rather than impose his own agenda on the village, which he said Paris routinely does, Rider said he would avoid what he characterized as "interference" with public employees doing their jobs.
"You got a guy with a Masters in Public Administration (village administrator Charles Biondo) who's highly paid," Rider said. "Let him make the decisions and give us an opportunity to decide."
Rider also criticized what he sees as a lack of independence by board members.
"The board of trustees has rubber stamped whatever Frank wants," said Rider. "The vote is often 5-1."
Besides Dillon and O'Brien, voters will see at least two new names on the ballot April 5. Three trustee seats are up for election. Former River Forest Fire Chief Russ Nummer, who retired last August after 30 years of service, is running for trustee. He was joined Tuesday morning by incumbents Dillon, and O'Brien, who are standing for reelection. Nummer said Tuesday that it's an opportunity for him to give back to a village that has provided him and his family with a good life.
Resident Jim Winikates also filed for trustee through an intermediary Tuesday.
For the past 14 years as deputy fire chief and chief, said Nummer, he has sat before the board giving his professional advice on an array of issues. Serving on that board now, he said, will be an easy transition
"I feel it's just a natural evolution from one side of the table to the other," said Nummer, who added that he has both "the ability and the inclination" to serve.
As for Village Clerk, Susan Conte will likely run unopposed for the office, replacing the outgoing Patrick Hosty. Four people filed for the Library Board, including Joan Cusack, Margaret Horstman, Lenny Soffer and Mark Coe.
River Forest Schools District 90
All four candidates slated by a 25 person District 90 candidate selection caucus filed in person at the District 90 headquarters Tuesday morning. Those four?#34;incumbent Ronald Atkins along with Juli Ann Geldner, Lori Owens and Kelly Welindt?#34;may run unopposed. One other person had previously picked up a registration packet, but had not filed as of Tuesday morning. District business manager Anthony Cozzi said that there was a possibility that the packet could come in the mail sometime Tuesday afternoon, after press time.
River Forest Park District
Over at the River Forest Park District, things were pretty quiet, with only one new candidate filing papers, and incumbent Holly Hirst, who was appointed to a vacancy on the board last March, also registering to run for a two year unexpired term. Resident Dale Jones registered for a full six year term.
"That's all we have so far," said Park District Executive Director Thomas Grundin, who is the district's local election official. Grundin added that two petition packets are still out, though he doesn't know who picked them up. Candidates have until 5 p.m. next Tuesday to file petitions.
Grundin acknowledged that the recent controversy over lights at Keystone Park might spur a run by someone opposed to those lights. However, he said that lights are but one issue among many confronting the park board.
With Park Board President Colleen Horrigan and commissioner Maureen Dwyer stepping down in April, the district needs one more candidate to ensure a full board.
"So far we have two excellent candidates," said Grundin.