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Committee Must Wait Two More Weeks for Legal Opinion on Dual Elected Duty

Alderman moves the process forward with draft ordinance.

Elmhurst aldermen will have to wait two more weeks to hear a on whether the City Council can restrict officials to one elected position at a time.

Jack Siegel, a veteran municipal attorney hired by the city to investigate the issue, will provide an opinion for the Elmhurst Finance, Council Affairs and Administrative Services Committee before its next meeting June 25, City Manager Jim Grabowski told the committee Monday.

But that's not stopping one committee member from taking the next step.

"We want to keep this process moving forward," said 7th Ward Alderman Mark Mulliner, .

Mulliner presented a draft ordinance to the committee that states the City Council will utilize its home-rule power to prohibit Elmhurst public officials from serving in more than one elected position at a time. The ordinance would pave the way for a November referendum asking citizens of Elmhurst whether they think elected officials should be limited to one office.

A portion of the draft ordinance reads: "It is hereby declared and decreed to be the policy and law of the city of Elmhurst that Elmhurst public officials may not serve or continue to serve in their capacity as an Elmhurst public official if he or she is elected to and sworn in to any other city, county, or state office in a consolidated or general election."

The issue has been the topic of debate among officials and residents ever since Elmhurst Mayor Pete DiCianni he wants to retain his position as mayor if elected to the DuPage County Board in November. DiCianni won the Primary for DuPage County District 2 in March, along with Elaine Zannis and Sean Noonan.

DiCianni has not changed his position, even though DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin in January issued a legal opinion stating the two offices are incompatible. The matter reached the state legislature earlier this year when Sen. Don Harmon (D-39th, Oak Park) introduced an amendment that would have allowed dual elected duty.

The question for the city's attorney is: Can aldermen change city code to limit elected officials to one office at a time even if legislation is passed that says otherwise?

"When other motions are being made at the state level, we need to make sure under our home rule ability (we can) say we don't accept this even if the state legislature pushes this down our throats," Mulliner said. "We want to make sure we know what our options are."

Several residents in attendance at Monday's committee meeting wondered why it is taking so long to get a legal opinion.

"I am in full agreement and support of what Alderman Mulliner has done on our behalf as citizens of Elmhurst, the state of Illinois, the county of DuPage and the United States of America," Darlene Heslop said of the draft ordinance. "This goes a long way to push this process further. I don't understand why it's going to take six weeks to get a legal opinion, but that's the wheels of government."

If the issue must be pushed to the next committee meeting, then at that time the committee should be prepared to act on it, she said.

"Anybody I talk to is very interested in this and … wants this taken care of," she said.

, who also has been very outspoken against dual elected duty, said he was pleased that the process is moving forward, but the window to get the issue on the November ballot is closing quickly.

"Some of us are sensitive to the timeline," he said. "Especially for something this important. We're not talking about a stop sign or a sidewalk. It's about a fundamental change in government."

Fourth Ward Alderman Kevin York said the process takes time, and they are within a reasonable time frame to bring the issue for a vote.

"It takes time to vet potential attorneys, so there was some time involved there," he said referring to the time between deciding to hire an outside attorney and actually hiring one.

Fifth Ward Alderman Scott Levin said Siegel is "the dean" of city attorneys.

"We didn't want the perception of impropriety," Levin said. "The person selected is independent, he doesn't represent any other towns our city attorney (Don Storino) is representing. He's been practicing law for about 60 years.

"It's going to be a very important opinion to us. (We know) it's important not to delay. We're sensitive to the timing."

Aldermen told Grabowski they would like Siegel to attend the next Finance Committee meeting, and Mulliner plans to have him take a look at the draft ordinance and recommend any changes.

"We want to at least have something in place so we can move this forward," he said.

Levin said the ordinance is a "starting point."

"I want to see the legal opinion," he said. "We can jump into it with all eight of our feet at the next meeting."

Dan June 12, 2012 at 04:54 AM
I can understand the unique perspective that a mayor could bring to the County Board but it doesn't make any sense for someone to be both a mayor and a county board member. There are only 32 or so mayors and 18 board members in DuPage County. Why should one person fill two of these positions of influence? There are nearly a million citizens in DuPage County many that are ready and willing to serve. Every few months there is a new revelation about some agency affiliated with DuPage County that is doing a less than stellar job. There is the Water Commision, the Housing Commision, the Technology Park and the latest is the Election Commision. In every case there has been a lack of oversight by those who were suppose to be providing the oversight. We don't need the most ambitious individuals but we need individuals that are willing to take the time to do the boring stuff of actually reading the material in the packets of information they are given and then taking the time to ask questions. The need to "read the bill" isn't just a national issue or democrat vs. republican issue but unfortunately something that is lacking with our elected officials right here in DuPage County. One of the reasons there are currently so many problems coming to light with agencies associated with the county is because unlike city issues citizens tend not follow what is happening on the county level. It isn't just about road salt.
Mark Heisler June 12, 2012 at 01:52 PM
Once again we have our Mayor spending our tax dollars in a way that does nothing to benefit the people whom he is supposed to represent. The position of Mayor of Elmhurst was always his stepping stone to "bigger and better" things. Have we not seen enough of this behavior to know that Pete DiCianni is all about Pete and not about the continued improvement of the City of Elmhurst? Time to start planning to elect a Mayor who will be all about Elmhurst and not about politics or personal agendas.
Cincinnatus June 12, 2012 at 01:56 PM
A large portion of his speech was about what he has done for Elmhurst...
Bill Angel June 12, 2012 at 02:57 PM
Mr. Cincinnatus, done for Elmhurst? More like done to Elmhurst! DiCianni claims to have saved the Elmhurst Hospital and its job base. A high level board member (neighbor) has told me in no uncertain terms, DiCainni had abolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the hospital replacement. All that work and planning was completed under the Marcucci administration. DiCianni has not taken the lead nor the initiative on anything meaningful to date. His M.O. is to "latch on" for opportunistic reasons or political gain at others expense. $1 million for ECAF? ECAF was started I believe from the Klosterman family. Autism bill? Was way advanced in Springfield many many times before DiCianni even knwe Autism existed. Thers so much more...
Cincinnatus June 12, 2012 at 03:10 PM
Bill, In no way should my comment construed to be anything other than a reply to Jim's question. If you want to criticize or endorse DiCianni, leave my name out of it.
Bill Angel June 12, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Cincinnatus....10-4.
Darlene Heslop June 13, 2012 at 12:13 AM
instead of a speech fitting the occassion, which is to honor those that have served, and in some cases, come home to only their final resting place, he instead turned it into a speech "all about pete, pete, pete, pete and repete, repete, repete... ." embarrassing is too tame a word for it...about the only thing he didn't mention was his candidacy for county board.... .
Darlene Heslop June 13, 2012 at 12:24 AM
if you truly believe that jim, then you will support 100% what alderman mulliner is trying to do...this is not about playing both sides of the fence, not about there being "2 sides to every issue"...this has 1 side...the side of the people of elmhurst and the protection of their right to have 1 person for every 1 elected office - period. pete did nothing relative to elmhurst hospital - the groundbreaking took place while marcucci was still in office (i have the photos to prove it), so i have no idea at all how he can take credit for any of it. he insists that he will be on the stormwater commission after he is elected to county board - ummmm, no again. he represents district 1 as mayor of elmhurst, and if elected as a board member from district 2, he won't be able to serve district 1, and if he thinks for a new york minute that cronin will appoint him as the district 2 county board member to the commission, he's dreaming. not...gonna...happen. what he wants is to be mayor of elmhurst and make $50k a year, plus pension, plus bennies...end of story.
Darlene Heslop June 13, 2012 at 12:42 AM
actually, peggy, there is some merit to having this happen. our current city attorney is politically connected to the likes of don harmon, pete silvestri (mayor of elmwood park and a cook county board member - he holds both offices concurrently), jimmy deleo, and skippy saviano, so receiving an outside opinion should be looked upon as being a very good thing, and in the whole scheme of all the millions spent in legal fees over the last 3 (+) years of dicianni's tenure, it's a small price to pay. what pete wants is to have the title of prom king (or mayor of elmhurst, take your pick, to him they are one in the same) and the salary, bennies and pension of a county board member. i, too, believe at this point that "hiz guyz" have all told him that they do not agree with what he is doing (except for wagner), however, it still remains to be seen if when it comes down to a final vote in front of him and in front of the public, will they all vote in favor of an ordinance that would essentially tell him that while we can't stop you from running for county board and even winning a spot, we can prevent you from staying on as mayor after you have been sworn in, and you may not like it, but we are going to make sure that it happens.
Tony Meneses June 13, 2012 at 02:24 PM
Mr. Court, You are absolutely correct, and that is why they don't want us to look at the man behind the curtain. Lisa Madigan, the Illinois Attorney General, was helping Senator Harmon craft the language for the HB 5078 amendments which failed. Many of our "World Class Cities" (Chicago, NY, California Cites, European Cities) have drown their regions and countries in debt and corruption. Detroit and Cleveland, once industrial powerhouses are now ghost towns. Milwaukee is teetering. I would suggest rather than emulate them, we set our own rules. The best governments are defined at the local level, taking into consideration the culture, values, and economy of the community. We should be thankful we are Home Rule.
Darlene Heslop June 13, 2012 at 09:23 PM
mr. howard, i do understand what has been interpreted relative to mayor silvestry and the lack of any overlap between his role as cook county board member and mayor of elmwood park, however, i am in support across the board, across the state, of 1 person, 1 office. i believe that some of our difficulties here in illinois can be atributed to this very thing...i call it consolidation of power. i believe that ultimately elmhurst does have the right under home rule to establish that its elected officials serve only 1 office at a time, as this, appears to be the same as establishing the qualifications for office, for example, must live in the ward to which an alderman represents, must be a resident of elmhurst for at least 1 year prior to election, etc., may only serve 1 office at a time... . you are so correct regarding the contractual agreements, and as always, i appreciate your valuable input. thank you.
Tony Meneses June 14, 2012 at 02:10 PM
Ms. Heslop and Mr. Howard, I get both. But simply, if electoral representation is not allowed to overlap, which is the premise of our National and State structures, then contractual conflicts are eliminated along with it. The proponents of this Dual Elected Duty effort have used contractual conflicts of interest to cloud the water. Contracts.....Shmontracts. Dual Office holders will be able to consolidate campaign $$$$, political appointments, and other fruits that come with owning two trees. It's about power consolidation first and foremost. Perhaps Mr. Sylvestri is well meaning, and there are no contractual conflicts between Elmwood Park and Cook Co. That's beside the point. It is overlapping, conflicting representation of two different constituencies. It should have NEVER been softly written as a vague "exception" in 1995. Plus Elk Grove Village is not Home Rule, which left its residence with no recourse. Home Rule is our resource to utilize, and to help us lead by example. The effects have now bled into DuPage County and Elmhurst. Burr Ridge too. It'll move around and spread like political Alopecia; and eventually become the norm. The next generation won't even know what they are missing. In my opinion this should be locked up on a State Level too. Cook Co. structure and exceptions to very simple rules, should not be set a precedent for the entire State of Illinois.
Darlene Heslop June 15, 2012 at 04:18 AM
jim..., i think you already know the answers to all of those questions, and i think you can pretty much figure out based upon what he has done already, the answers tony would provide. the thing that tony brings to the table is he has been able to call attention to the pink elephant in the living room and to get others to begin to notice as well.
James Cronin June 15, 2012 at 04:57 AM
Wow you people really show your hatred in your life. Darlene does not get what she wants and stomps her feet, whaaaa, whaaa, whaaa. Prom king? I think I understand, someone got dumped at prom. Darlene, the skeletons you have in your closet are more scary then a pink elephant. And then we have little Tony. You help this guy, the stud on TV, and he becomes Brutus, ( Hey little Tony, Brutus is the guy that stabbed Cesare). Nothing to attack Mr. DiCianni so they create hatred for their cronies to run in the next elections. Mulliner? Ho my God this guy can't even walk and chew gum at the same time ask District 205. What a farce you people are, you make me sick with your hateful bull.
Tony Meneses June 15, 2012 at 03:02 PM
There's a lot of good questions there Jim. My interests are in preserving a system of government that has been in existence for a long time. I do not believe that four or five interested individuals in local and state government have the right to change this with out the consent of the people, defined in Article VII of the Illinois Constitution. My agenda is to get this accomplished. I have no skin in the game other than to try and protect for my son and daughter, what was protected me.
Tony Meneses June 15, 2012 at 03:18 PM
I don't want to impugn everyone at City Hall. There are good people involved. I will however offer this as to political gain vs. practical / pragmatic leadership: The guy that owned the Ford Dealership on Grand basically asked the city for financial help to remodel and stay afloat during the economic downtown. Mr. DiCianni's administration refused assistance. I think he need like half a million dollars. Now that land will have a Mariano's and we will put up $1.25 mil for a grocery store. Significantly more, and no more Ford Dealership. Was that a good trade? Protocols were broken in this deal, and it seems the Finance Committee was forced to take a back seat to promises already made. Ford is back selling tons of cars and trucks (the F150 is still the #1 selling truck in the Nation). I would have tried to preserve the automotive row that has always been a strong tax base for Elmhurst and really brought in outside residents a customers. I'm not sure a grocery store is going to do that. My understanding is we can not collect local sales tax on groceries, but could on cars and trucks. So what I saw was Mr. DiCianni hold a press conference announcing the Mariano's before Mariano's had ever put a proposal to the Finance Committee. That's backwards. Others can draw their own conclusions.
Bill Angel June 15, 2012 at 03:18 PM
JC, with all due respect to your pal DiCianni, I'm willing to bet you lunch Tony is taller than your little guy Petee. Tony has more hair too. Tony appears to be OK with who is is and what he stands for. Me...over 6 feet tall, steel blue eyes, natural all white teeth, full head of hair, big bank account. Why is it all you Democrats can come up with is name calling filled with hatred? Why is it you can't disagree with someone's position and openly and honestly debate? You ought to look in the mirror to see who has the honey on the lips for DiCianni and strychnine in the heart for those that have an opposing opinion.
Darlene Heslop June 15, 2012 at 06:53 PM
mr. cronin, if that is even your real name, i wonder if you are related to dan cronin, the county board chairman. if you are, he must be very disappointed in your defense of someone that essentially stomped his feet (whaaa, whaaa, whaaa) and snubbed his nose at him and ran all the way to skippy, jimmy, and donny so that he could try and get his way. no one here is showing any kind of hatred for their lives, if anything, collectively, are trying to make it even better for ourselves, but more importantly, for the generations to come. we all have skeletons in our closet, and pete has just as many as anyone else, and a couple of his i'm sure that he would just as soon stay there. i don't care if pete wins or loses district 2. what i care about is if he wins, he gives up being mayor of elmhurst and lets someone else do the job so he can concentrate all of his efforts and energies to reading the 1000 page packets the county board members receive before their meetings.
James Cronin June 18, 2012 at 06:32 AM
Sorry Mrs. heslop, but do you know that the world is full of real people? This is my name, are youuuuuuuuu real, not really if you catch my drift. Madam the problems are numerous for you, and I know you are still dealing with your skeletons, you have never placed them in a closet, sorry I meant in a wharehouse. Look at you past posting they are full of hatred and I believe I am not the only one that as said this to you. Ok I have given you to much time. Tony you are wearing boots? Is it that deep where you walk, that makes sense Brutus. The voters have spoken in the primary. But nooooo the sore loosers are still crying. Bill angel is not real, I think it must be the other side of Mrs. you know who? yes you all have guessed right, its heslop. You all have a nice day now, NOT!
D L June 18, 2012 at 11:36 AM
To JC......you are a Moron !
TrishWms June 18, 2012 at 12:52 PM
Bill, Please don't lump all Democrats in the same pile as JC. Tony- you're still taller than me!
Bill Angel June 18, 2012 at 02:31 PM
my bad.
Cincinnatus June 18, 2012 at 06:37 PM
Amongst all of the name calling, we are losing focus on the issue at hand: Should Officials Simultaneously Hold Two Elected Offices.
Darlene Heslop June 19, 2012 at 12:35 AM
mr. cronin..., mr. angel is indeed a real resident of elmhurst...and he is exactly as he describes himself. i'm not married. never have been. since when is telling the truth considered hateful? and as far as skeletons are concerned, we all have them, even you mr. cronin. and i really don't care at this point in time what you think about wheather i need a closet or a warehouse...pete dicianni has more skeletons than he wants the world to know about, and that's not a very good thing. mr. cronin, you are a hateful person, especially when you have no idea who people really are, and that is just plain sad, sad, sad.
Darlene Heslop June 19, 2012 at 12:54 AM
jim, the system we have here in elmhurst could be better described in this way...the city manager is the ceo of elmhurst, he's the guy that oversees every department, from accounting to zoning... . he's the person responsible for the day in and day out operations of elmhurst, even in a crisis. that's why he makes in the six figures a year, got a low interest loan of $100k to relocate, etc. ultimately, if something goes wrong in elmhurst, and i mean, really wrong, it would be his job and whoever reported to him responsible. the mayor, on the otherhand, and the city council, act more in the capacity of a board of directors. they establish policy, approve the budget as recommended by the various departments that the city has according to their anticpated needs, etc., etc. the mayor is the chairman of the board, with the aldermen as the voting members. the county board is set up in a similar manner, except the county board chairman is also the ceo of the county, that's why his position is full time and he makes in the six figures. tom borchert ran this city for years more than adequately, and tom marcucci was mayor for 16 years and still managed to run a multi-million dollar company full-time. i feel that paying a county board member $50k per year plus bennies is sinful, but also, i don't see the need to raise the pay of the mayor either - the person running the day to day operation of elmhurst isn't pete dicianni, it's jim grabowski.
Darlene Heslop June 19, 2012 at 12:57 AM
peggy, you are right...and the candidates that had pledged to take no pension, benefits, and to cut their paychecks were zach wilson of lombard, rafael, and the guy from lisle who's name i can't remember, who came in just ahead of rafael.
Darlene Heslop June 19, 2012 at 01:10 AM
mr. angel..., i'm sorry that someone has decided that you are not a real person - i know you are not, i see you around town from time to time. i'm also sorry that someone has decided that by my teling the truth in terms that i hope people understand, that it makes me hateful - it does not.
Darlene Heslop June 19, 2012 at 01:14 AM
interesting...but if you believe that those of us that are defending a particular principle are sore losers, then that would make the county board and its chairman a bunch of sore losers, too. so why would pete want to fight tooth and nail to be on a board with a bunch of losers?
Darlene Heslop June 19, 2012 at 02:25 AM
jim..., while you have that opinion, the style of government that was voted on by the residents of elmhurst several years ago was what we now have. if you feel that the mayor deserves to become a full-time job worthy of full-time pay, then a city-wide referendum would need to be passed. you do realize that the city council aldermen, who are the policy setters, the ones that really do all the work, make $2500 per year - and i know of several that put in way more time than the mayor does. when nybo and dicianni ran for 5th ward alderman, combined they spent over $65,000.00 on 1 race, for a job that paid $2500 per year. you mention the mayor as a "symbolic leader"...that's why the position is such that it is, and why it is called "public service", as opposed to "public employment", however, if you feel as strongly as you do that this should be changed, then perhaps you should consider putting together a group like what has happened over the issue at hand here, trying to get an ordinance to change the policy regarding dual office holding (which the aldermen have the authority to create and vote on).

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