At least two familiar faces are seeking election to the River Forest village board, while two other familiar faces will soon be gone.
Village Clerk Susan Conti, who was elected to that office two years ago, is circulating petitions to run for village trustee in April. Trustee Michael O’Connell, who was first elected to the board in 2003, is also circulating petitions and is expected to stand for re-election.
Should Conti be elected as a trustee, she would resign her village clerk position and Paris would appoint someone to fill out her unexpired term.
Meanwhile, veteran trustees Al Swanson and Barbara Graham will not be seeking re-election. Conti and O’Connell were not available for comment prior to press time Tuesday.
Conti has two strong supporters in Paris and Swanson.
Swanson, who called Conti thoughtful and articulate, said she would be a welcome addition to the board. Though Conti has not voted in her role as clerk, she has had several occasions to weigh in verbally and in writing on issues confronting the board.
“I think she will be fantastic,” Swanson said. “She’s shown a very thorough understanding of the village and its issues.”
Paris said he signed Conti’s petition after Monday night’s board meeting.
“I hadn’t even thought about that,” Village President Frank Paris said Tuesday of any replacement for Conti. He noted that he has had to appoint several people to fill vacancies on the board during his four terms as president, including Swanson.
Paris said he hasn’t given up on convincing Swanson to run for another term.
Paris said he first appointed Swanson to the village board in December, 1997 to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of John Rigas. Swanson was subsequently elected twice on his own by voters.
“I’ll miss him dearly if he doesn’t [run],” said Paris. “I’m going to continue to work on him to run. He’s a really good, experienced trustee.” In particular, Paris said, he values Swanson’s practice of remaining neutral on issues until he’s gathered all the facts, and asking the right questions.
Swanson, though, insists he’s had enough. While he admits there are things he’ll miss about serving on the board, he said it’s time to move on.
“By the time I [step down] it will have been a full nine and a half years,” he noted. “It’s time for somebody else to come in with some fresh perspectives.”
Paris also expressed regret at the loss of Graham, whom he credited with being a thoughtful and capable public servant “willing to put in the hours needed.”
Graham said her decision was based on a principled pledge she’d made when first elected eight years ago.
“I’m just a huge believer in term limits,” Graham said. “I said from the beginning I’d only serve two terms. If you say it, it should apply to yourself as well.”
Petitions for candidacy may be filed at the River Forest Village Hall starting at 8 a.m. Monday, January 29. The deadline for filing petitions is Monday, February 5 at 5 p.m. The election will be held Tuesday, April 17.