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Elmhurst City Council Makes a Move Monday on Dual Elected Duty

Alderman Mark Mulliner breaking council's silence on whether Mayor DiCianni should be allowed to simultaneously serve as mayor and DuPage County Board member.

City Council members are taking the first step in the process to prohibit all elected Elmhurst officials from holding more than one elected office. The proposal, put forth by 7th Ward Alderman Mark Mulliner, is expected to be referred Monday, May 7, to the city's Finance, Council Affairs and Administrative Services Committee for review.

The issue has come to the forefront since Elmhurst Mayor Pete DiCianni has said he will in November. DiCianni won the March Primary for DuPage District 2, along with Elaine Zannis and Sean Noonan. (15.71 percent) in the eight-candidate pool. 

Mulliner's request reads as follows:

"To Mayor DiCianni and the Members of the City Council,

The United States was founded on the idea of a representative government. One person, one vote. The same is true of those who are elected to represent the public.

As a representative of the people, elected officials should be focused on the needs of the people who elected them. If a person is elected and holds overlapping offices, whom is that person going to be representing?

I respectfully request that the appropriate committee (Finance and Council Affairs) develop an ordinance that will restrict all elected members of the city of Elmhurst to holding [only] one office at a time."

In January, DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin that said DuPage board members cannot simultaneously hold another elected office with another government body with which the board has a “contractual obligation.”

DiCianni responded that mayors can—and do—serve in dual elected roles, and he has continuously vowed that he will serve in both positions if elected. He said he would give up all mayoral compensation, but he would accept compensation and pension benefits from the county position.

"I'm willing to do two for one. I'm considered one of the hardest working mayors in DuPage," he said at a sponsored by the League of Women Voters.

Since Berlin's opinion, Sen. Don Harmon (D-39th, Oak Park) introduced legislation—first , then in the House—that would allow dual elected duty.

The issue has been the topic of debate in town——for months.

If the council on Monday refers Mulliner's request to the Finance and Council Affairs Committee (of which Mulliner is a member), that body could begin its discussion as early as next Monday, May 14. The other committee members are 4th Ward Alderman Stephen Hipskind, chairman; 4th Ward Alderman Kevin York, vice chairman; and 5th Ward Alderman Scott Levin.

The committee eventually will make a recommendation to the full City Council, which will vote on it.

Scott May 07, 2012 at 12:30 PM
Now we can see if our city government actually represents the people, by adopting an ordinance preventing the dual roles, or the elected officials, by allowing it.
Joy May 07, 2012 at 01:45 PM
Maybe I am ignorant but I have a question. Is this Mayor Dicianni's full time job and what is annual salary ?
Jim Court May 07, 2012 at 02:02 PM
Since there are two diametrically opposite points of view, both with some merit, could the Patch create a dialogue presenting both positions and see what the general public thinks ? As a person, I tend to want to explore both sides of an issue. That does not make decision making easy sometimes. It is much easier to be dogmatic, think in black and white terms, never utilize critical thinking skills, and focus on the small picture rather than take a global view. In our polarized world it might even make you more popular as you end up with a clear cut constituency. Some very bright people offer opinions on these pages and I would welcome their input. I always learn from others and value their opinion, even if it is different than mine.
Jim Court May 07, 2012 at 02:02 PM
Patch, You seem to have fixed the problem with the deletions. Thank you very much.
D L May 07, 2012 at 02:12 PM
I agree with Scott. Let's see if Elmhurst is "business as usual", or not ! We don't need a Mayor who wants two ( future pension positions) plus his full time business to run our city. Why can't he just concentrate on Elmhurst......or will his "ego" not let him ?
Karen Chadra (Editor) May 07, 2012 at 02:22 PM
The mayor runs a private business. He is owner of DiCianni Graphics in Addison.
Jim Court May 07, 2012 at 02:28 PM
I am also glad to see some independence coming from the Alderman. At times it seems that a certain group think and consensus has undermined the voices that offer alternative opinions. I understand the go along to get along mindset that we as humans are inclined to. Sitting in these positions also allows you to see individuals as people struggling to make in this world and to humanize them. I have to watch myself as I can be prone to do this. Yet, there is a difference from the human aspects and the need to act in the best interest of the city. Everyone has personal agendas and goals. We also need those who are deeply philosophical, educators, statesman, with qualities of the best CEO's. We have some very intelligent individuals who represent us as city council and I admire the considerable time and efforts they put into the jobs they do. We should strive to become a world class community and desired place to visit and live.
D L May 07, 2012 at 02:39 PM
Giving up his $6000 a year annual Mayor salary, but accepting the $ 50K + benefits + pension while on the County Board....hmmmmm.... it just doesn't pass my smell test !
Carmine Grisolia May 07, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Seems to me that there will inevitably be governmental issues in which Elmhurst's interests and the County's interests are in opposition. In those cases, one person cannot possibly advocate for both sides with the fierceness their constituents expect and deserve. Their advocacy will automatically be unfair in one direction or the other. And if the "answer" is to recuse themselves from participation on those issues, then none of their constituents are represented. It just won't work. Then there's the basic idea that a rule to prevent holding multiple offices simultaneously prevents the accumulation of power by any individual. And even though to hold these 2 offices at once seems innocuous to some, it is a slippery slope. If you can hold 2 offices, then why not 3? Why not all of them? Is it ok to double-up on some offices, but not others? What happens when one person can make the laws AND enforce them? This kind of erosion of the fundamental principals of justice and equality undermines the value of representative government and leads to the abuse of power. It opens the door for tyranny. I am not saying that DiCianni is a closet-despot, bent on world domination. But to suggest that he can represent 2 sides of one issue better than any 2 people could is either arrogant or disingenuous. Certainly in all of DuPage, there must be multiple qualified candidates, who would be willing and able to represent the different constituencies at the level they deserve.
D L May 07, 2012 at 04:39 PM
I believe we should leave it in the hands of our City Officials, however if that cannot work, let the voters decide. My only wonder is: In our Mayor's run for his current office, I'm sure there was never any mention of his desire to hold more then one elected office while governing our city. If That is the case......do you think he would have ever been elected ??
Darlene Heslop May 07, 2012 at 11:33 PM
i think in this instance there really aren't "two sides" of the issue...the fundamental principles of a democratic republic are 1 elected official for 1 elected office...did anyone notice that when obama became president he didn't try to remain as state senator from illinois? the current law in illinois, to which robert berlin is highly qualified to render an opinion on, so i really have no doubt as to the validity of it, supports dicianni only having the ability to hold 1 office at a time, particularly in this instance, since there is overlapping juristiction and shared governance in several instances (ie/storm water management, social services, etc.). state senator harmon is looking out for his crony, the mayor of elmwood park, who happens to also be a crook, i mean, cook, county board member and has been for 20 years, but it was because of what was brought up here in du page county that he is scrambling to change the law, in order to protect this one individual and his salary, benefits, and perks, to which, on the cook county board, are in the 6 figures. as far as dicianni's ambitions were concerned, many of us knew that he had aspirations beyond elmhurst, so his quest for the county board didn't surprise us. his ego runneth over.
Jim Court May 09, 2012 at 01:49 AM
Where are the comments?
Jim Court May 10, 2012 at 01:33 PM
At times, I think we should look to the professors and students at Elmhurst College to help guide our governance of the City of Elmhurst. They are exposed to the latest thoughts on leadership, innovation, economic development, marketing, and all of those disciplines that would help create a world class city. They would also have no axe to grind and are symbolically linked to our community. I believe that by recruiting the best and the brightest we could elevate the status and quality of life of our community to the highest level possible.
emil schullo May 17, 2012 at 01:21 AM
As a resident of Dupage County District #2, and not an Elmhurst resident, I would prefer my county board rep to hold only one elected position- County Board. Pete, you won't have my vote if you want dual duty.
Joseph Richard snodgrass July 02, 2012 at 02:35 PM
more people more opinions more freedom i believe one person shouldnt have all the power and no one should be able to mess with freedoms

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