Village pits slates against each other, Northbrook schools uncontested
Updated: January 11, 2013 2:34PM
NORTHBROOK — Many Northbrook incumbents are preparing to run for village office April 9 to continue working on projects important to them, while challengers are saying that they simply will do a better job.
However, while some boards have only incumbents seeking office, one board has only one candidate running with four open positions.
Candidates running as a slate for the village board who have the backing of the Northbrook Caucus are: Village President Sandra Frum, Village Clerk Debra Ford, and Trustees Kathryn Ciesla, Todd Heller and Michael Scolaro.
Those running against them as write-ins under the “Democrat” party label are: Eugene Marks for village president and Lynn Ritz, Julius Kole and Daniel P. Scott for trustee seats.
Frum noted that when she ran four years ago, her goals were storm water management, the completion of the comprehensive plan, and a renewed focus on the downtown plan. Those goals now have been accomplished, but critical decisions still need to be made, she noted.
“I would like to make certain that we implement the storm water master plan so we reduce the flooding in Northbrook,” she said. “And now that we have the down town plan, it challenges us to think about how we can implement the suggestions, and IF we want to use those suggestions to revitalize the downtown.”
Frum also cites a personal goal of continuing to involve younger, new people into village boards and commissions.
“I think it is one of my responsibilities to find good people to serve on the commissions, so they can make a determination to move ahead and possibly run for election,” she added.
Kathryn Ciesla, who is running for her second term on the village board, noted that she is running again because she would like to continue improving the way the village communicates with its residents. She said that during the last four years, her committee has updated the village website and implemented a “go” request portal allowing residents to report issues on-line.
The committee also has implemented a Northbrook notify system whereby residents can register with email addresses or cell phone numbers to receive text messages or emails advising them about issues in the village. And the committee has streamlined web-streamed meetings, too, she added.
Todd Heller, who served eight years on the village board and 10 on the School District 27 School Board, said he is running for the village board because: “We do good and important things from the mundane, like making sure the water works, to snow removal, police and fire services.
“I strongly believe that it is really valuable to do public service like this. I really enjoy it and it gives me a good feeling, but I’m doing it for the residents,” he added. “I really believe in stuff like that and always have.”
Of those challenging the incumbents, neither Marks, who served as village president from 2005 to 2009, nor Julius Kole, Lynn Ritz, or Daniel P. Scott, sought backing from the Northbrook Caucus.
“The village when I left office was in the best financial shape it had ever been in. The employees were happy and things were great,” Marks said, explaining why he was seeking office.
“Now the village is not in great financial shape, morale is terribly low and we have a village manager who when I left was making $180,000 and is now making more than $300,000, which is ridiculous.”
Despite Marks claim, Pioneer Press, after researching Northbrook Village salaries, found that the village manager earned close to $203,000 as a base salary, excluding benefits, during the 2012/2013 fiscal year.
Marks also stated that the transparency President Frum has been talking about is just “rhetoric.” And the village has become business unfriendly again, something he would like to change.
Kole, who served as a village trustee during Marks’ administration, said he was seeking office again because he enjoyed working with the people.
“And I think that if I did again, things would be a little bit better,” he added, noting his main concerns continue to be police and fire, senior citizens and children.
The Northbrook Library Board candidates — Carlos Frum, Vera Mayer and Daphna Nierick — have no challengers for the three positions that are open. Carlos Frum and Mayer are incumbents and Neirick was appointed to a vacant position. This will be her first time running for the board.
Carlos, a board member since 1999, said he is running, because he has been working on the remodeling of the library for quite a while and would like to see it completed.
Competing for three Northbrook Park District board seats are incumbents Penelope Randel, Michael Shyman and Paul Zima, all backed by the Caucus, and Robert Lozaro.
Penelope Randel is running for re-election to the Northbrook Park District Board because she has a passion for parks and recreation that has not diminished since she became a commissioner, she said.
“The more I have learned and been exposed to what parks and recreation mean to the quality of life in a community, the more committed I have become to insuring that the residents of Northbrook have the information they need and opportunity to choose the services they want available to them,” she added.
“As a board member, it is my goal to continue reaching out to the community to identify and meet those needs.”
Shyman, who has been a board member since 2009, said by continuing his leadership role as a commissioner on the Park District Board, he brings financial and customer experience, and his young family’s perspective to every key decision facing the park district.
Zima, a Northbrook Park District Commissioner for the past three and one-half years, said he was raised to believe that community service was a responsibility of every citizen.
“I have witnessed the value and the sense of community our programs and facilities provide. From young families to seniors, the Northbrook Park District offers opportunities for people to learn together, play together and congregate as a community,” Zima said. “The value that our parks add to the community of Northbrook compels me to play a role in the future of the Northbrook Park District.”
Randel also noted that the current board reflects all age groups in the community and the individual commissioners have different areas of experience and expertise.
For Northbrook School District 27, Ed Feld, Helen Melnick, Jamie Werhane and Laurie Garber-Amram have filed to become board members. Feld, Melnick and Werhane are current board members, while Garber-Amram is a first-time candidate. All are backed by the Northbrook Caucus and running uncontested.
For Northbrook School District 28, Joshua Prober, Anthony Forchetti, Michael Gilmore and Louis Gross are running for office. Prober and Forchetti are current board members, while Gilmore and Gross are first-time candidates. All also are backed by the Northbrook Caucus and all our uncontested.
West Northfield School District 31 needs to pump up its recruiting efforts. It has only one registered candidate for four open seats on its board of education. Robert Resis has registered to run, but needs some running mates. Anyone who is interested should contact Superintendent Alexandra Nicholson, who will present his or her name to the school board for appointment.~.