Tinley Park mayoral incumbent Ed Zabrocki and his granddaughter Emily Zabrocki, 13, look on as the positive early numbers are posted at his campaign headquarters at Bailey's in Tinley Park, Illinois, Tuesday, April 9, 2013. | Joseph P. Meier~Sun-Times Media
Edward Zabrocki Jr.: 5,066 (70%)
Stephen Eberhardt: 2,190 (30%)
42 of 42 precincts reporting
David G. Seaman: 4,435 (23%)
Brian S. Maher: 4,533 (23%)
Terrence “T.J.” Grady: 4,000 (20.4%)
Andrew S. DeLuca: 2,070 (10.4%)
Nancy M. Petro: 2,354 (11.8%)
Karen Elizabeth Weigand: 2,362 (11.7%)
42 of 42 precincts reporting
Updated: May 11, 2013 6:14AM
Longtime Tinley Park Mayor Ed Zabrocki said his election Tuesday to a ninth term was a “validation” of the work done by the current village board and a repudiation of “fiction” spread by his opponent.
With nearly all precincts reporting, Zabrocki claimed 70 percent of the vote compared with 30 percent for challenger Steve Eberhardt.
“Fact won out over fiction,” Zabrocki told a room full of supporters. “That made a difference for all of us.”
Winning re-election with Zabrocki on the Team Tinley slate were incumbent trustees T.J. Grady, Brian Maher and Dave Seaman along with village Clerk Patrick Rea, who was unopposed.
Eberhardt said he was disappointed by a relatively low voter turnout. Running with him were trustee candidates Andy DeLuca, Nancy Petro and Karen Weigand.
“So many people complained, and so few do anything,” Eberhardt, an attorney, said.
He said he didn’t know whether the race would’ve been closer if more residents had gone to the polls, saying his slate knew “what we were facing when facing an entrenched political machine.”
Seaman called it a campaign that was marred by opponents espousing a “lot of misrepresentations, a lot of manipulation of truth. We had to show him (Eberhardt) for what he was or what he wasn’t.”
Seaman described the margin of victory for Team Tinley candidates as a “vote of confidence from our constituency. Now, there’s a lot of work to do.”
Appointed a village trustee in 1978 and mayor since 1981, Zabrocki also called the margin of victory “significant.”
In a letter dated Monday from Zabrocki and posted at the home page at Team Tinley’s website, the mayor contrasted the accomplishments of the incumbents with the inexperience of their challengers. He said Eberhardt and his slate were “ill-equipped to move this village forward.”
Eberhardt and his running mates had entreated voters to “take back Tinley” and promised to cut what they viewed as wasteful and “improper” spending.
While Team Tinley preached a record of stability, fiscal responsibility and strong economic growth, Eberhardt had tried to persuade residents to consider a fresh approach. He contended that the “vast majority of residents are (mad) and they want some kind of change.”
Eberhardt last year spearheaded a petition drive that resulted in an advisory referendum in November, asking whether residents supported term limits for elected officials. His slate had said it would vote to enact term limits if elected.
Voters overwhelmingly approved the concept of term limits, although Zabrocki maintained that the question was confusing and led some voters to think they were also being asked to support term limits for state and federal officials. Zabrocki said the referendum vote wasn’t necessarily a reflection of residents being dissatisfied with his administration.
The village in February named a commission that will study the issue of mandatory term limits for elected village officials. It could be several months before the panel makes a recommendation to the full board.
Zabrocki and other village officials have questioned the need to establish term limits, saying that voters already can remove officials at election time.
On Tuesday, the mayor was noncommittal about what action the village board would take once the commission submits its recommendation.
“We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” he said.