By Devin Rose
With the current president of River Forest saying it is unlikely he will vie for a second term next spring, two village trustees have said they will run to take his place as the leader of the village.
Trustees Cathy Adduci and Michael Gibbs are both three years into their first four-year terms as trustees. Both said this week they will run for village president as long as John Rigas does not.
"Should John choose not to run, then I would pursue the presidency," Gibbs, 50, said Monday. "I would be happy to follow in his footsteps."
On Friday, Adduci, 54, said she would back Rigas if he chose to run again. But, since he's told her over the last several months that he would not run, "I would like to run for president," she said.
Rigas said via email on Monday it is unlikely he will run again because he and the board have accomplished most of what they set out to do when he was elected in 2009. That includes addressing the "tone and tenor" of what was once a contentious group of board members, stabilizing the financial position of the village and putting a new management team in place.
"The village was literally about to run out of money," said Trustee Jim Winikates, who chaired a citizens' finance committee at the time.
One area that has not had great success, according to Rigas, is economic development.
"We will need further changes in the real estate market before that will take place on the major sites," he said, mentioning Lake and Lathrop and the former Hines Lumber site on Madison Street.
Those are the projects that have motivated Gibbs to run.
The board has been studying future developments at those sites and at Lake and Park for the last several years, Gibbs said, and he wants to follow through with the unfinished business.
During his first term, Gibbs said the board commissioned corridor studies for those areas, but economic conditions have prevented plans from going forward.
"I think the next four year period is when we actually will act on that information," he said.
Adduci agreed economic development must be created, especially as the village is looking at a budget deficit over the next several years. She said the village needs to boost sales tax revenue significantly with retail establishments instead of just relying on property taxes.
"The next president really needs to create some policy around building a sustainable economic development plan," Adduci said.
With 32 years of business experience at a technology services company, Adduci said she's prepared to take that issue on. She said strengthening relationships with legislators in Springfield would also be beneficial for the village in the future.
Gibbs, who works for an elevator company, said he's talked with his potential opponent about running for the presidency.
"I don't think either one of us is going to call for a duel on the seashore," he said. As far as he knew, they were the only candidates who have decided to run so far.
Of the other officials up for election next year, Winikates said will not run for a second term. An attempt to reach village clerk Roma Colwell-Steinke was unsuccessful.
The rest of the board will finish their terms in 2015. Trustees Colleen Horrigan and Susan Conti said they have no presidential aspirations as of now, and trustee Carmela Corsini could not be reached.
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