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Letter: Connections Raise Questions in Elmhurst Politics

Mayor's response to questions over dual elected duty is insulting.

Pete DiCianni has repeatedly stated that not only does he desire to be on the DuPage County Board as a representative of District 2, but he wants to remain mayor of Elmhurst. He sees no conflict, despite a legal opinion based upon current Illinois statute stating otherwise, and has gone so far as to state that Dan Cronin, the DuPage County Board chairman, should not be telling anyone what they can or can’t do since he’s only been in office less than one term. (News flash: DiCianni is still in his first term). 

He believes that the law will be changed, as he has political connections to state Sen. Don Harmon of Oak Park (via state Rep. Skip Saviano and state Sen. Jimmy Deleo, among others). State Sen. Harmon is sponsoring legislation in Springfield (using some very interesting methods and manipulation of the legislative process) to change the existing law to allow for a mayor or village official to serve on a county board. State Sen. Harmon also has another very good friend who sits on the Cook County Board and who also happens to be the Mayor of Elmwood Park. (Additionally, it should be noted that Elmwood Park uses the same municipal attorney as Elmhurst). 

To make this whole thing even more intriguing (or confusing), take a look at the campaign disclosures (www.elections.il.gov) of the aforementioned. Notice all of the connections between them. (Note: Win Marketing is owned by DiCianni, and Storino is the last name of the Elmhurst municipal attorney.) And we wonder why Illinois is number one when it comes to such shenanigans.

It has been suggested that the Elmhurst City Council put forth a referendum question this November that would allow the citizens to determine if they want to prohibit elected city officials from holding two offices at the same time. (DiCianni will also be on the same ballot in District 2 for Du Page County Board). We now have a referral working its way through the Finance and Council Affairs Committee that would create an ordinance prohibiting any elected city official from holding dual, overlapping offices concurrently. When questioned regarding this referral, Pete DiCianni merely stated that he will “let the voters decide,” whatever that means.

Democracy is messy, but it doesn’t need to be insulting.

—Darlene Heslop, Elmhurst

Vincent Russell May 18, 2012 at 09:22 AM
Ms. Heslop, you are still holding a grudge from your loss in the Elmhurst aldermanic election from years ago. Your venom is clearly the spirit of your letter. Mr. DiCianni has done a great job as mayor for his first term. Yes, there have been some hiccups as should be expected in any mayor's first term. But overall, Mr. DiCianni has performed well. As far as a referendum, Elmhurst voters already decided! They think Mr. DiCianni can hold both positions by overwhelmingly voting for him for the county board against a huge field. Case closed. Let Mr. DiCianni represent us. And Ms. Heslop, please go to anger management classes to get rid of your grudge.
ben overbey May 18, 2012 at 01:24 PM
He has done a great Job??? Where? The empty stores? The roads? What has he done? Oh wait hiring the retired fire chief as assistant city manager when we have no money for six figures? Well that is the same thing he wants for himself two jobs and two pensions. Who are you to say cased closed his PR firm. Comments like yours will vote him out. So Vincent lets vote him out of office!!
Cincinnatus May 18, 2012 at 02:01 PM
Vincent, Common law has long frowned on officials holding two elected positions, as confirmed by the opinion from DuPage States Attorney Bob Berlin. I would also bet that few people were aware of the issue when the primary occurred. Hardly a settled issue.
Bob Santini May 18, 2012 at 02:19 PM
vincent: your analysis is specious. elmhurst voters comprised only 20% of the mayor's county board race. i don't what percentage of elmhurst is County Dist 1 and County Dist. 2, but certainly none of us that are north of the prarire path had a chance to vote for or against pete.
Bill Angel May 18, 2012 at 02:41 PM
Vinny, AKA, Joey D. Case closed? In your brother's dreams. Other than raise property taxes through the roof! Holding a Discriminatory attitude toward women? If you read any local paper, the people are on to his circus act. I'm sure he's a nice guy and all, but 2 pensions, 2, government jobs. Why not 3?
ben overbey May 18, 2012 at 02:46 PM
Remember Vinnie thinks if someone writes "I hate Black people" in a public place this is not a hate crime. He is a right winger who just looks to argue anything that looks liberal.
Vincent Russell May 18, 2012 at 05:06 PM
Nice group we have here: Cincinnatus, Santini, Angel, and now Overbey. Get out of your mom's basement, please. Time to mow the grass. Mr. DiCianni is a self-made businessman who is successfully running one of the best towns in Illinois. His enthusiasm and leadership alone, are worth so much to us. He will bring that same leadership to the board and for us and the county. If you think this is about a paltry pension, again, you need to seek the daylight from your mom's basement. Mr. DiCianni lives and breathes all things good for Elmhurst and he will continue to do so whether he is an elected official or not. We should glad he is.
Cincinnatus May 18, 2012 at 06:09 PM
Way to advance the conversation, Vincent. But, let's get a few things straight, shall we? In no way do I impugn Pete, nor do I question his service and commitment to Elmhurst. I am only pointing out two simple facts, common law has, for hundreds of years, advised against an elected official holding two positions to make sure that there are no conflicts of interests, real or perceived. States Attorney Berlin's opinion concurs with that position and also cites recent case law. Secondly, the dual-elected official issue was not commonly discussed during the primary, and the voters were ignorant, for the most part, of this during March. The publicity on this issue only really began in April, after the election. If Pete were to hold both positions, and a subsequent action by either the courts or the legislature found the two offices to be incompatible, it would then question the validity of ANY decision Pete were to make in either of the positions. This would expose the taxpayers to the cost of expensive litigation to ultimately resolve the issue. Anything Pete were to do may be considered invalid, contracts may need to be renegotiated, ordinances repealed, etc.
Cincinnatus May 18, 2012 at 06:09 PM
As a thirty+ year political consultant, I question the advice Pete is receiving because his actions are sullying the reputation he has earned. For the good of the campaign, and to head off any Elmhurst taxpayer costs, all he has to do is come out with a simple statement that he will resign as mayor, and then hold to it.
Karen Chadra (Editor) May 18, 2012 at 10:06 PM
Comment removed. Comments about the mayor in his public capacity is one thing, but speculation about his mortgage, personal life or family is not OK.
Jim Court May 19, 2012 at 04:50 AM
Karen, I am not so sure I agree. Did not the press speculate about President OBama's real estate dealings with Tony Rezco ? ( I can't remember the spelling) . Doesn't scrutiny of personal life come into play like Bill Clinton and John Edwards? Didn't the Daley family receive public scrutiny?
D L May 19, 2012 at 12:38 PM
As a lifelong ( 57+ yrs) resident, I feel Elmhurst has always been governed for the most part, by non-ego," for the good of all people", politicians. After following all the comments and rhetoric over our current Mayor's attempt to hold 2 office's, It appears to me, to be about ego, pensions and power. Do WE as Elmhurst residents want this type of leadership? I look forward to the next Mayoral election where the people will be able to speak.
Jim Court May 20, 2012 at 05:10 PM
Yesterday I went to the Taste of Glen Ellyn. This community is very, very impressive. There is much we could and should emulate. We would do ourselves a favor by examining the best practices and qualities of the very best communities. Green space would be nice. More seating and sheltered areas. More pathways to walk on. More diverse architecture and aesthetic touches. Water fountains and play areas. Canopies. A book store. More social activities and street entertainment. Chess tables. Public bathrooms or nicely designed port a potty's. A community bulletin board. A teen club. A senior club. A family center. The ideas are endless. We need more input from the community, not just by staff and elected officials. Every effort to make this a continuously improving community should be thought out. I realize that money is a consideration but some of these ideas are not that costly and would greatly enhance the community. Any ideas?
G Grantham May 21, 2012 at 02:09 PM
karen, your deletion of the comment about the mayor's financial predicament raises an interesting journalistic issue. your comment about this as "speculation" appears to siggest that this type of fact is a private one; when in fact it is just the opposite. any one, repeat, any one, can go to the DuPage Recorder's website, set up an account, and view all publicly recorded documents: deeds, mortgages, tax liens, foreclosures, etc. so given that the mayor has publicly asserted his "purity" of motivation (meaning he is not motivated by financial perks of office), hasn't the mayor "opened the door" so to speak on this issue. he is the one who has proclaimed himself a public figure. if someone published already public info on someone who is not a public figure (such as, for example, on Jim Grbowski), then i would agree that it should be deleted. but if transparency means anything, doesn't it mean that public figures (within the meaning of NY Times v. Sullivan) are open to scrutiny on such issues. and if you believe that the published comment about his mortgage is not factual, then perhaps you should just caution the readers accordingly, something you have done previously when you believed facts were falsely reported. however, for you to make the political judgment (in censoring) that the mayor's financial predicament is not a fair political question is, imo, way beyond the scope of responsible journalism (assuming you consider yourself a journalist).

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