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Dual Duty Resolution Headed to Elmhurst City Council on Monday

Residents to committee: 'Either you get this on the November ballot, or we will.'

Elmhurst City Council members will likely take up a discussion Monday, July 16, about whether a referendum on dual elected duty should be brought to voters in November or April.

At issue is whether Elmhurst officials should be allowed to hold two elected offices simultaneously. The matter was by committee member Mark Mulliner after Elmhurst Mayor Pete DiCianni declared he would if elected to DuPage County Board in District 2.

It has been a contentious issue for the mayor, with a vocal contingent of Elmhurst residents and some aldermen coming out in opposition to his serving two elected posts. The committee that said Elmhurst, as a home rule community, can pass an ordinance prohibiting dual elected duty, but not without a referendum.

After the legal opinion was released last month, DiCianni held a press conference to announce that if he was elected to the County Board, . But the committee, which met again on Wednesday, has always said the matter transcends DiCianni and that it plans to proceed with an ordinance regardless of the mayor's announcement.

After Wednesday's committee meeting, it is likely that a proposed ordinance will be in front of the full City Council on Monday. However, the committee is not in agreement about the timing of the referendum. Mulliner is strongly in favor of a November referendum to take advantage of a large voter turnout, among other reasons.

"I don't want to push this back," he said. "I want to move this forward so we can do something on Monday. We can spin our wheels forever for April, but this has now gotten in the way of regular city business."

Committee Chairman Steve Hipskind and committee member Scott Levin have come out in favor of an April referendum, citing concerns about affecting DiCianni's campaign for County Board and the fact that April is traditionally the time for municipal elections. Levin did not attend Wednesday's committee meeting.

Vice Chairman Kevin York on Wednesday said that if he had to sign a recommendation tomorrow, he's not sure which way he would vote.

A Board Chairman Dan Cronin. The county referendum is advisory, however, while the Elmhurst referendum would be binding.

Committee members were concerned that Elmhurst voters would be confused by two referenda on the same ballot.

The county referendum, which hasn't been filed yet, would ask something like "should individuals be permitted to hold two or more elected offices simultaneously." A "no" vote prohibits dual offices.

On the contrary, the proposed Elmhurst referendum as currently written states, "Shall the mayor, aldermen, clerk and treasurer of the city of Elmhurst be prohibited from simultaneously holding other public elective offices in Illinois." A "yes" vote prohibits dual offices.

Committee members debated rewording the city's referendum so as not to confuse residents, but Mulliner said time is of the essence, and the public is smart enough to figure it out.

"I think the public is well aware and engaged in this," he said. "I think they are well enough informed that they will know which way to vote. I'm not concerned."

Community members are, indeed, informed. They've even taken it upon themselves to collect signatures on a petition to get the matter on the November ballot no matter what the City Council decides.

"We've got more than 1,300 signatures that are all notarized and ready to go," resident Tamara Brenner said. "And we will have well more than that by the time Aug. 6 rolls around. This will be filed Aug. 6 regardless of what you do. If you aren't going to do it, we will. We will not stop until this is on the ballot in November."

The City Council has until Aug. 20 to approve an ordinance in time to place a referendum on the November ballot.

"The public is involved and very anxious to move this forward and has begun that process on their own," Mulliner said. "As representatives of the public, we need to make the statement loud and clear that we're going to get this on the November ballot, rather than making them go to all the work to do it."

The committee will present two reports to the City Council on Monday. A majority report, which will presumably be signed by Hipskind, Levin and possibly York that is in favor of an April referendum, and a minority report signed by Mulliner (and possibly York) in favor of a November referendum.

"Two reports. We'll open it up for debate and see where it goes," Hipskind said.

Doremus Jessup July 12, 2012 at 11:55 AM
Kudos to the residents getting the signatures for the referendum. All eyes are watching the council on this one I would tell Mr. York that I know of at least two people interested in a Ward 4 seat so he might want to represent his ward properly. "Levin did not attend Wednesday's committee meeting." Anyone else not surprised by this?
Mark D July 12, 2012 at 02:08 PM
Nice work Tamara. Having just returned from Colonial Virginia, this government by the people and for the people theme has been ringing in my ears. What better way to approach this than to have it on the NOVEMBER ballot during a national election with better turnout. My office is at 136 West Vallette, Suite 3, in case you are nearby and have not had a chance to sign the petition to have the referendum on the November ballot. I will be there until noon on July 12 and from 9 AM until 3:30 PM on July 13.
Cincinnatus July 12, 2012 at 02:09 PM
All Elmhurst residents should immediately appeal to the County Board District 1 representatives (Paul Fichtner, Rita Gonzalez, Don Puchalski) and County Board District 2 representatives (Pat O'Shea, Jeff Redick, Mike Ledonne) as well as Chairman Cronin to have the non-binding DuPage County language changed immediately (which would only take a simple vote of the County Board) so it would be consistent with the Elmhurst language. I believe that only changing "permitted" to "prohibited" does the deed.
Darlene Heslop July 12, 2012 at 05:23 PM
i can't believe that this city council thinks that the voting public is that, for lack of a better term, stupid, to not have the ability to read a ballot and answer a question "yes" or "no", even if there are 2 questions that concern the same issue. my advice to the 3...get it together...last time i checked, i live in the united states of america, which is a democratic republic, and my local government, the CITY of elmhurst, is expected to follow a representative form of government, in otherwords mr. levin, mr. hipskind, and mr. york...it is your responsibility to represent the PEOPLE of elmhurst not PETE DICIANNI. i don't care what kind of "gentlemen's agreements" went on behind closed doors...i don't care what kind of personal relationship you have with him...i don't care what kind of promises were made that he has no intentions of keeping...YOU REPRESENT MS. BRENNER, MR. MANESES, MR. AND MRS. PAGASH, MR. REBOLETTI, MS. SULLIVAN, and a whole lot of other people who have already signed petions stating thay they are in fovor of a referendum question on the NOVEMBER ballot...and finally...you represent ME...i have fought harder than anyone else in this town to make certain that such things as prayer, spending tax dollars wisely, and free speech, were protected, but this time, if you are made to look like fools, i have given you fair warning...it isn't going to be because of anything i said or did.
Alan Brinkmeier July 12, 2012 at 06:41 PM
I believe that Elmhurst voters are savy enough and well informed enough to read the ballot in November to make an informed choice. To say that Elmhurst voters may get confused over this dual duty topic is not a majority opinion from what I have heard these last several months.
Alan Brinkmeier July 12, 2012 at 06:46 PM
According to a June 26 report in Elmhurst Patch, the county "advisory" question for the November ballot “Should Illinois law permit an individual to hold two or more public elected offices simultaneously?” http://lisle.patch.com/articles/county-referendum-on-dual-elected-duty-will-be-on-november-referendum
Protect Our Constitution July 16, 2012 at 03:03 AM
The possible referendum that is currently being discussed is completely limiting the voter’s rights. This is not only a gross waste of time and taxpayer dollars but an insult to the voters of Elmhurst. This referendum pretty much says to the residents that they can’t make their own decisions. If a group of residents want to put a referendum on the ballot then let them come forward with their petitions and let there be due process. Their petitions should be reviewed and the process will go from there. I as a U.S. Citizen and Resident of Elmhurst would like to have the opportunity to vote on any candidate that would like to run for an elected position even if they serve in another elected position. If there is a candidate that I feel could give me the best representation then I want the choice. Have any other municipal governments put a similar referendum on a ballot before? This possible limitation is completely unconstitutional and should not be placed on the ballot by the elected officials in place to protect our constitutional rights. Less Government = More Options For The People!!!!!
Mark D July 16, 2012 at 04:13 AM
The referenda relate to the simultaneous holding of office, not whether you have a chance to vote a current office holder into a different elected position. Many governments have long believed dual offices were bad for government. North Carolina and Indiana carry this into their constitutions, with N.C. stating: "Sec. 9. Dual office holding. (1) Prohibitions. It is salutary that the responsibilities of self-government be widely shared among the citizens of the State and that the potential abuse of authority inherent in the holding of multiple offices by an individual be avoided. Therefore, no person who holds any office or place of trust or profit under the United States or any department thereof, or under any other state or government, shall be eligible to hold any office in this State that is filled by election by the people. No person shall hold concurrently any two offices in this State that are filled by election of the people. No person shall hold concurrently any two or more appointive offices or places of trust or profit, or any combination of elective and appointive offices or places of trust or profit, except as the General Assembly shall provide by general law." Illinois and Texas rely more on a conflict in duties approach, our States Attorney and the Texas Attorney General agreeing that county and city representation conflicts. It is not unconstitutional to set the qualifications for office in nondiscriminatory terms. The referenda do not affect ballot access.
Doremus Jessup July 16, 2012 at 12:47 PM
Bob, you nailed it. Pete's got his eyes on that county seat and others have their eyes on Pete's mayoral position. They remind me of the monkey that puts his hind in a jar to grab a peanut then clenches his hand and gets caught in the jar but refuses to let go. Even after the public outrage you have people intentionally dragging their feet on this resolution, but one elected person is showing some great leadership and that is Mark Mulliner. If the electorate wasn't paying attention in this little sleepy bedroom town before this dual position fiasco, they sure are now. Mark, you make great points in response to Protect Our Constitution but how can you top five exclamation points??????
Protect Our Constitution July 16, 2012 at 02:02 PM
2 States out of 50, and a State's Attorney opinion that has not been litigated, pretty overwhelming evidence that we need to protect our citizens by taking away their rights and their children's rights. What municipalities have had simlar referendums? The voters of today will see the limitation on their rights and the rights of future voters. Less Government = More Options For The People!!!!!
Protect Our Constitution July 16, 2012 at 02:09 PM
It will be great to access a ballot without all of the potential candidates. Here is your ballot but we took out some of the candidates, hope you don't mind... Less Government = More Options For The People!!!!!
Doremus Jessup July 16, 2012 at 02:18 PM
Hey "Protect Pete", what do you think is going to happen to all those political contributions when Pete loses in November? Do you think all those people with business interests will keep donating to a losing cause? Here is an idea for More options for the people: Anyone but Pete for County Board, that leaves everyone else, is that enough options for you?????
Cincinnatus July 16, 2012 at 02:19 PM
Are you arguing that the referendum be delayed until April, or that the referendum not occur at all? You should also check out this table to see that a majority of states have at least some sort of prohibition on dual-elected officials, oftentimes a complete prohibition. http://www.ncsl.org/legislatures-elections/ethicshome/restrictions-on-holding-concurrent-office.aspx
Protect Our Constitution July 16, 2012 at 02:24 PM
Municipal Referendum = Municipal Election, 2 words are the same, can you spot them?
Protect Our Constitution July 16, 2012 at 02:40 PM
It is laughable that you all have an obsession with the current Mayor, such a deep obsession that you don't see that you are trying to pass a referendum that takes away the voters rights of a full ballot with all of the potential candidates. The referendum will happen but the residents of this great town will see the reality of it and vote NO. Less Government = More Options For The People!!!!!
Mark D July 16, 2012 at 03:32 PM
POC... Google "municipal charter referendum dual office." You have two legal opinions on this now. I have seen dual office prohibitions of some kind in dozens of areas. Do the work yourself before you imply that no city's voters have taken it upon themselves to start a similar initiative. The point you are missing is that dual office prohibitions are so commonplace that it is hard NOT to find them. Indeed, most people have a gut instinct of recoiling at the thought simply because it should be a no-brainer that one should not hold city elected office and another elected office. While you may not see voter referenda in many instances, you see ordinances, municipal charters, statewide municipal charter laws and the constitutional provisions. Most people recognize the issue immediately and have addressed it. While Illinois has laws on this that are clear enough to Mr. Berlin and many, many others, someone else suggests litigation is the only answer when it is not. When it comes to feet-dragging, maybe we will see it (or not) tonight. The Council has accepted minority reports in the past. I still have not seen a valid reason for delaying the question to the April ballot. The policy suggestion that it should be delayed to help Pete gain County office (or more passively worded as so as not to interfere with Pete's County effort) falls far short of the public interest in seeing more voters review an issue at a more heavily voted election.
Mark D July 16, 2012 at 04:05 PM
POC, Pete's "promise" to resign if elected completely recognizes the fact that holding two offices is problematic for many. Importantly, in his particular case, I think it shows respect for the County Board members he hopes to sit with. With the amount of work required at that level, owning a business and having ANOTHER elective office is too much (this sets aside the parenting and family aspects of the decision). It will also avoid people forever casting aspersions (if Pete wins) on the basis that his decisions on grants (community block grants included), zoning and stormwater were affected by duties owed as a result of his second office. Regardless of whether people have issues with Pete or not, and some of us have issues with people we supported (Norm Leader in my case who tends to believe less in open government than expected). Even friends of Pete who have come across me know that the referendum is not personalized at this point. Pete brought it to the forefront, but people like you who tie it to Pete after his commitment to resign have no basis for doing so in such a broad-based fashion, and (if you accept the majority report's viewpoint) you likely are making Pete's campaign more difficult as a result of continuing to tie him to the issue.
Protect Our Constitution July 16, 2012 at 07:52 PM
Don't interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties. Abraham Lincoln

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