Elmhurst Mayor Pete DiCianni announced Monday that he will step down as mayor if he is elected to the DuPage County Board in November.
"When I ran for mayor, I did so because I love this town and I wanted it to continue to flourish," he said at a scheduled press conference. "My heart and mind told me I'd be mayor as long as the voters would have me.
"I have been saddened to see the division and distraction my decision to run for the County Board has caused in some parts of our community, as well as on the City Council," he said to the 40 or so people gathered in back of City Hall.
The matter of dual elected positions has created controversy since DiCianni that he wanted to serve both positions.
Seventh Ward Alderman for discussion, and the city hired an outside attorney to provide a legal opinion on the matter.
The opinion, , said the city, since it is home rule, can pass an ordinance preventing a council member from serving more than one elected position, but the matter should first be brought to the community for a vote via referendum.
DiCianni in his speech on Monday cited a 1995 statute that has "allowed for this type of dual representation" and has supported other mayors in dual positions.
"Since my decision to run for County Board, a contingent has challenged the 1995 statute," he said. "Illinois Attorney Gen. Lisa Madigan and the state Legislature has moved to clarify and protect the statute, which has the full support of municipal organizations, including the DuPage Mayors and Managers Conference."
Sen. Don Harmon (D-39th, Oak Park) in the Senate in March to support dual elected duty. This was in response to an opinion by that the two positions are incompatible.
DiCianni said it has become more important to strive for unity than to pursue the dual roles.
"It is my hope that this decision will unite the council and the community, as there is still a lot of work to be done to make Elmhurst a better place," he said.
The decision was difficult and has "left my heart heavier than imaginable," he said.
"My heart is first and foremost always with Elmhurst, and I will continue to work to make Elmhurst a better place to live, whether I serve at a local or county level," he said.
DiCianni also spoke about his achievements as mayor, including "seeing the community through one of the worst recessions ever and balancing finances for the first time in many years." He mentioned the floods of 2010, and that declaring Elmhurst a federal disaster area was an event that "shook me to the core."
First Ward Alderman Diane Gutenkauf said the mayor's announcement was "clearly a campaign speech."
"I'm disappointed that the city seal and city equipment was involved," she said. "I think it's totally inappropriate to use the city seal for what was clearly a campaign speech. It was completely unethical and I'm sorry that it happened."
Mulliner said the mayor's announcement on dual elected duty that is before the Finance, Council Affairs and Administrative Services Committee Monday night.
"This won't affect the committee meeting in the least," he said. "This issue is much bigger than one person. It was brought to our attention by one person, but the reality is, it's an issue that's still there and will continue to be there until we resolve it."