Our government is founded on the concept of transparency. It works best with power that flows from the voters up; not when politicians decide what they want, and then attempt to push it through a committee. Last summer, our City Council faced an ethical crisis, a failure of leadership. We had a situation where the whole concept of integrity, of transparency, of open discourse was lacking from our city government. The leadership at the top had compromised itself to the point where a DuPage County State’s attorney issued an opinion that placed our former Mayor in legal jeopardy.
During that tumultuous time, I was the lone voice on the City Council to speak up and publicly say “dual duty is wrong,” “this is not what we in Elmhurst want.” And not only did I say it was wrong; more importantly, I pressed the issue. I not only pressed the issue on the Finance Committee, but I stood with thousands of Elmhurst voters who signed petitions for a right to vote; to outlaw this unethical practice. And this unethical practice was subsequently outlawed by an overwhelming 77% of Elmhurst citizens.
During that time, most of my colleagues held their opinions to themselves; or they made statements like “I am waiting to hear from the attorneys.” In my opinion, this was far more than a legal matter on which the lawyers might posture. Dual elected office duty was not just an ethical issue; it was a fundamental democratic issue. It was an issue that went to the core of the civics lessons we all learned in high school. If transparency means anything for an elected representative, it means an elected official should speak publicly on the basic question of the propriety of a politician holding two different elected offices with two different constituencies. My question for Elmhurst voters is this: Do you want an Independent Mayor who speaks his mind on relevant issues?
Some say this is old news; I disagree. I believe that open and honest government is never old news. Elmhurst needs leaders that are transparent; leaders that air their views publicly; leaders that are willing to take a stand. Local government is supposed to be non-partisan. It is supposed to be based on the concept of citizen volunteers, not smooth politicians. We simply cannot afford to operate like the State of Illinois does; its leaders in the majority are dysfunctional and the state is broke! That is why I have been forthright in bringing my views on issues to the voters. Elmhurst needs a leader that is independent, a leader that does not just pay lip service to the concept of transparency. Elmhurst citizens deserve a leader that respects and embraces open and honest government. I am such a leader.