River Forest president race gets personal

Gibbs, Adduci differ on leadership styles

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By Anna Lothson

Staff Reporter

The race for River Forest's next village president has two board members who once ran together on a slate. Four years later, they are pitted against one other for the top spot.

Mike Gibbs, an Oak Park native who moved to River Forest in 1989, said he's a hands-on kind of leader, working with the person, who listens to multiple perspectives before reaching a decision. He enjoyed running with Cathy Adduci as a trustee, but as a candidate, his view has changed.

Adduci, a 15-year-resident, is banking on her three decades of executive leadership at large corporations to be the factor that sets her apart as the best candidate. She said that from the start she reached out to the other candidates to have a meeting about running a "clean campaign," but Gibbs didn't feel a private meeting was necessary.

With both these candidates, the difference is in the details. Gibbs doesn't trust Adduci's background, suggesting her ties to her separated husband, controversial Springfield lobbyist Al Ronan, warrant closer scrutiny. Adduci has run her campaign focusing on herself as an independent leader and businesswoman who knows how to work with people.

Come April 9, River Forest voters will settle the issue. Here's a summary of the candidates' views and what they hope to bring to the position:

Gibbs: 'I don't make empty promises'

His opponent: "The biggest thing that separates me from Cathy Adduci is I've done for the last four years what I'm going to do for the next four years. Cathy's claims are false. For the last four years, I've been the one showing the leadership. Cathy has yet to bring a single topic to the board. She said she wants civic involvement, but she's brought no recommendations to the president. All six of the recommendations I've brought to the board have been implemented. I do what I say I'm going to do. I don't make empty promises."

Campaign and leadership: "My style of leadership is to get as much information as possible and make decisions after speaking to everyone. … Leadership is from the front, it's not just going along. There's a big difference from being a trustee and a president. It's what I've done versus what she says she'll do. … There are two candidates. One never has testified for a federal corruption trial. Do we want that in Rive Forest? I'm not ripping her personally. I'm testifying to her character. … She's on the fringe of truthfulness."

Goals: Complete sewer projects, Lake and Lathrop development, finalizing TIF funds, address ongoing budget concerns, sit down with Hines purchaser. "My goals are simple: Ensuring financial responsibility and seeking out potential economic development for our village while maintaining our traditional and current village quality of life."

Adduci: 'More collaborative decisions'

Vision: "I've stuck with my vision. It hasn't changed. I'm working for a better community, better principles. I want to listen more and invite more residents to conversations and invite more residents to [help] make tough decisions. I want to make more collaborative decisions and look to do more economic development. I want to begin and form an economic commission. … Residents really want a positive, collaborative board. … They want us to work together. We don't have to be divisive. We can all work together real well."

Campaign and leadership: I think my message is really resonating with the villagers. They want a better, more efficient government. … With residents, I think my message is one residents want to do. … I've kept [the campaign] very positive. I reached out to all candidates from the very start. … Some of us did and some of us didn't. I've always been looking at the positive. As far as my opposition, people in River Forest are smart, independent thinkers. They want to hear what you will do in the next four years, what are your ideas — not what's wrong with your opponent."

Goals: Implement the strategic plan; increase collaboration between governing bodies; economic development; form an economic commission; keep the community safe; run an effective, efficient and transparent government; stabilize property taxes and maintain financial stability.

Email: anna@oakpark.com Twitter: @AnnaLothson

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Posted: April 3rd, 2013 10:53 PM

Mr. Gibbs...anytime you fight for anything...it is called a lobbyist. I know you are smarter than that. So, you are a lobbyist for your family business Anderson Elevators? Why would you fight the condo user. We are on a fixed income. Now you are saying you don't know Saviano but you agreed to put your name on a flyer? Well, I can't vote for someone who does not pay attention to detail!

Michael Gibbs from River Forest  

Posted: April 3rd, 2013 9:41 PM

Contrary to the coments. I did not go to Springfield to lobby in favor of the elevator code changes. After the law was passed, I assisted the elevator owners in fighting to change the law's more resrtictive requirements. I don't find those efforts on behalf of the building owners to be shameful. Prior to the election of 2009, I had not meet Mr. Saviano. His letter was arranged by Cathy Adduci. I had met Don Harmon, He seems to be a nice fellow, but no longer represents River Forest.

Ron Steele Jr. from RF  

Posted: April 3rd, 2013 8:11 PM

Looks like the children have come out to play again. Otherwise, I have an idea, if your not willing to show who you really are, keep the shinola to yourself.

Help Gibbs is in Trouble  

Posted: April 3rd, 2013 2:46 PM

The sucking sound is starting - just look at the posts trying to prop him and/or tear down Adduci. People - the real power in River Forest rests with the Trustees. The President does NOT vote. That is why Paris, Rigas and now Gibbs have put together Slates. So they could wield power and control the votes. Wake up and understand why Rigas wants Gibbs so bad.


Posted: April 3rd, 2013 2:38 PM

Let's get this right...Gibbs now wants to be a lobbyist so he can go to Springfield and change the law so that his family...the GIBBS FAMILY can make more money on ELEVATOR maintenance and upgrades and take advantage of our seniors...shame on you!

The Wolf from River Forest, Illinois  

Posted: April 3rd, 2013 2:07 PM

The Wolf did not recieve a copy of Saviano's letter; and does not dispute other interested parties. But, to be fair, from Googling her; it seems like there is more than just a letter from Skip to read.

Facts Matter  

Posted: April 3rd, 2013 2:03 PM

Cathy is a Director and has a campaign account at Belmont Bank with co-directors Jimmy "How You Doin" DeLeo, Freddy Barbara and Jimmie Banks. She testified about a meeting she was at with George Ryan and her husband Al Ronan at the Ryan criminal trial. Al's firm Ronan-Potts was convicted in relation to bid-rigging at McCormick Place. This is just part of the family resume. Al will be RF's First Man and she herself will now be the face of RF to the world.

RFObserver from River Forest  

Posted: April 3rd, 2013 1:48 PM

Wolf, while remembering the mailer from Senator Harmon, you apparently have forgotten the mailer from Rep. Skip Saviano, in which he endorsed Mike Gibbs along with the other members of the Rigas slate. That is pretty direct link to Springfield as well.

The Wolf, Again. from River Forest, Illinois  

Posted: April 3rd, 2013 1:44 PM

Charles, you may not recall Sen. Harmon's letter four years ago to residents urging River Foresters to support Ms. Adducci as she ran for the Village Board. If you don't, a copy can be provided. That's a pretty direct Springfield link, I'd say.

The Wolf from River Forest, Illinois  

Posted: April 3rd, 2013 1:42 PM

RF Achievement, you should be ashamed of yourself. Your post is full of venom. You know, no-one is getting paid for these jobs, and they do them out of their own time. Gibbs has served RF for a number of years and agree with him or not, belittling his service is just pathetic. Next time, hit the snooze button instead of posting at 0530 am.

Charles from RF  

Posted: April 3rd, 2013 11:57 AM

Wonder why Mr Gibbs has suddenly become concerned with Ms Adduci Springfield connection as he calls it. I recall he and Mr Rigas put that aside last election as without merit when it was brought up. So very surprised he wants to bring up old attempted dirt. Shows where he is focused. Also I recall Mr Gibss going to Springfield for lobbing for changes in Elevator law to benefit his company?

RFAchievement 2  

Posted: April 3rd, 2013 11:51 AM

Let's get this straight...a guy that wants his family elevator business, Anderson Elevator, to get all the business in RF and force the condo owners to upgrade their elevators next year...calling someone on the fringe of truthfulness....give us a break...

Michael Gibbs from River Forest  

Posted: April 3rd, 2013 10:22 AM

Recommendations are offered to the Village President. The Village President makes nominations to the Village Board to fill vacancies to citizen committees. The Board votes on those nominations. As a Village Trustee I feel is is my duty to keep the committees at full strength, with talented people. The question you should be asking is why Cathy Adduci hasn't made any recommendations to the President when her campaign speeches claim that citizen involvement is so important to her. Actions speak.

RF Achieve/Observer from RF  

Posted: April 3rd, 2013 9:25 AM

Abraham Lincoln said of Henry Clay "he was my ideal of a great man." If Gibbs is our Henry Clay everyone should get out and vote for him no matter who he is running against. BTW, RF whoever you are, read the article: It doesn't say what you represent it does.

RF Observer from River Forest  

Posted: April 3rd, 2013 9:04 AM

Mike Gibbs' hallmark achievement after 4 years on the Village Board is that John Rigas appointed 6 of Gibbs' friends to village committees based on Gibbs' recommendation??? Wow, that is like the village equivalent of the Compromise of 1820 and Mike Gibbs is our Henry Clay.

RF Achievetroll  

Posted: April 3rd, 2013 8:44 AM

RF Achievement - why do you troll the comment section at 5:30 in the morning? Why do you hide behind your misnomered name? Why are you so myopically small minded? Why do you think that asking a question conveys a fact? It doesn't. You add nothing. Go troll elsewhere.

RF Achievement  

Posted: April 3rd, 2013 5:32 AM

Mike - why do you come out with goals in the final week? Mike, why are you now taking the springfield rail against Adduci? Mike, why are you becoming divisive? Mike, why are people turning away from your style? Mike, what are the six things you accomplished? Mike, why should people believe you? Mike, why did you decide to recruit people and not just run on YOUR record? Mike, why is your campaign faltering? Mike, why are you not telling the truth?

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