DuPage Mayor Holding Firm on Keeping Two Elected Positions
Regardless of referendum results that show DuPage residents strongly opposed to dual elected duty, Burr Ridge Mayor Gary Grasso is pushing ahead with his intention to hold two positions.
At one time, Elmhurst Mayor Peter DiCianni and Burr Ridge Mayor Gary Grasso had more in common than just being leaders of their communities: They both planned to keep their mayoral jobs if elected to DuPage County Board.
Grasso now stands alone in that regard.
He said he does not plan on stepping down as mayor of Burr Ridge if his DuPage County Board victory Tuesday night becomes official, even after DuPage voters showed via an advisory referendum they overwhelmingly oppose the idea of politicians holding multiple elected offices at the same time.
Results of a similar but binding referendum on the city of Elmhurst ballot showed residents here also strongly oppose dual elected duty. Elmhurst Mayor Peter DiCianni appears to have won his DuPage County Board District 2 seat, coming in second place in the six-candidate field with 34,044 votes (25.17 percent). The vote tallies won't be official until later this month.
But Grasso would not be swayed.
"If the results hold, I intend to hold both offices," Grasso said Wednesday.
At the end of the night Tuesday, Grasso held an 11-vote lead over Sharon E. Bryant (33,286 votes to 33,275) for the last of three District 3 spots on the DuPage County Board. Grasso said he's been told it might be two weeks before all provisional ballots are counted and a result is official.
The DuPage advisory referendum asked voters if state law should allow for one person to hold multiple elected offices at the same time. Of 369,228 DuPage residents who voted on the measure, 90.1 percent believe elected officials should not be able to hold multiple offices simultaneously.
Results were similar in Elmhurst, with 16,273 (77.5 percent) opposing multiple office-holding and 4,728 in favor.
Grasso said he interpreted the DuPage referendum result not as a reflection of opinion on his situation, but as a reflection of voter discontent with higher-level state officials, like General Assembly members drawing multiple pensions for holding multiple offices.
"I don't believe that a part-time legislator should be getting a public pension for doing a part-time job," Grasso said. "I believe the referendum should be the start of that discussion."
Grasso makes $6,000 per year as the mayor of Burr Ridge, village administrator Steve Stricker said, but receives no pension or benefits.
As a DuPage County Board member, he would make around $50,000 per year. Grasso said that while he would be eligible for health benefits and a pension, he wouldn't take them.
"I'm not going to be looking for that," he said of the benefits.
Grasso's term as mayor is up in April. He said he plans on running for re-election.