Elmhurst Committee Wants Legal Opinion on Dual Elected Duty
Question is, what can the city do to limit elected officials to one office?
Elmhurst's Finance, Council Affairs and Administrative Services Committee on Monday asked city staff to get a legal opinion on if and how the City Council can limit the number of elected offices an official can hold at one time.
Aldermen never mentioned Mayor Pete DiCianni's name during the discussion, saying that the issue would be the same no matter who had prompted the question.
But 7th Ward Alderman Mark Mulliner asked the committee to examine the dual-duty issue following DiCianni's repeated statements that he will retain his position as mayor if he is successful in his bid for the DuPage County Board in November.
Last January, DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin issued a legal opinion that said DuPage board members cannot simultaneously hold another elected office with another government body with which the board has a “contractual obligation.” But then Sen. Don Harmon (D-39th, Oak Park) introduced legislation—first in the Senate, then in the House—that would allow dual elected duty.
DiCianni, who was not present at the meeting, won the March Primary for DuPage District 2, along with Elaine Zannis and Sean Noonan. DiCianni received 7,033 votes (15.71 percent) in the eight-candidate pool.
Mulliner's main query for the lawyers was simple: As legislators in a home-rule community, can aldermen change city code to limit elected officials to one office at a time?
But other questions also arose: If so, how would this be done? And, if state legislators approve bills that would allow dual-elected duty, what could the city do then?
Committee members agreed that the city should seek this opinion from an outside firm and not city attorney Don Storino.
While committee members never mentioned DiCianni, residents did.
During a public forum before the discussion, resident Ann Frolik asked the committee not to waste city money on an issue that was currently before state legislators.
She also said it was up to voters to decide the issue.
“How dare you usurp my vote?” she said.
Michelle Garcia-Melind praised DiCianni's work for the city and the community, and said she did not have a problem with him serving in two elected positions.
But Claude Pagacz said he wondered, if dual-elected duty was allowed, what was to stop any alderman from also running for governor?
First Ward Alderman Paula Pezza expressed concern that the meeting was turning into a “campaign commercial,” and Mulliner said he was disappointed that the discussion had to take place at all.
“I was hoping that this would—I hate to say it—go away,” he said.