Will County Board says farewell to departing members
By Cindy Wojdyla Cain firstname.lastname@example.org November 15, 2012 3:50PM
Will County Board Chairman Jim Moustis speaks with the SouthtownStar Editorial Board Thursday, July 5, 2012. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media
Will County Board Members who
are leaving the board:
Departing Democrats: Katrina Deutsche of Crete, Sharon May of Minooka and Henry Travis of Lockport. Deutsche withdrew from the primary after her nominating petitions were challenged May lost in the primary and Travis, who was appointed to fill the seat of deceased board member Frank Stewart, did not seek re-election.
Departing Republicans: Cory Singer of Frankfort, Ann Dralle of Lemont, Laurie McPhillips of Plainfield, Edward Kusta Jr. of Bolingbrook, Brian Smith of Plainfield, Debbie Rozak of Wilmington, Jim Bilotta of Lockport and Kathleen Konicki of Homer Glen. Singer, McPhillips and Smith all ran for other offices and lost: Dralle, Kusta, Rozak and Bilotta chose not to seek re-election, and Konicki lost in the primary.
With 16 years on the board, Konicki is the most senior member to be leaving. Dralle was second with 14 years.
Updated: December 19, 2012 12:41PM
JOLIET — Thursday’s Will County Board meeting was filled with teasing and tears as the board said goodbye to 11 of its 27 members.
Board member Ann Dralle, R-Lemont, who chose not to seek re-election, drew big laughs when she presented surplus campaign T-shirts to fellow board members as a parting gift, including a small sleeveless version for muscular State’s Attorney Jim Glasgow.
Ed Kusta Jr., R-Bolingbrook, whose dad once served on the board, was surprised at how emotional he was during the meeting.
“I didn’t think I would cry because I chose not to run,” he said.
Others talked about how serving in public office caused them to miss family celebrations and took time away from their personal lives. But it was all worth it, they said.
“I truly enjoyed it, and I hope someday that I could be part of it again,” said Cory Singer, R-Frankfort, who lost a race last week for county executive to incumbent Larry Walsh.
Sharon May, D-Minooka, said she enjoyed the “spirited debate,” she had with Chairman Jim Moustis, R-Frankfort, who won his re-election race. Moustis said he felt the same way.
“Pushback makes leaders better,” he said. “I never wanted to lead a flock of sheep.”
The board did not said goodbye to a 12th incumbent, John Argoudelis, R-Plainfield, who lost his District 5 race to Democrat Reed Bible by only 227 votes. His exit from the board is not assured because there are more votes to be counted.
On Tuesday, the final batch of provisional, grace period and absentee votes will be added to Election Day vote totals, and the outcome could affect the Argoudelis-Bible race.
If Bible hangs on, Democrats will have the edge on the county board for the first time since 1980. While the parties will be tied with 13 members each, Democrat Walsh, as the county executive, can cast tie-breaking votes.
Prior to the election, Republicans held a 16-11 majority on a 27-member board. The board upheaval, which is the result of post-Census redistricting, comes at a time when board members are working well together and political squabbles are rare.
No one knows if the new 26-member, evenly split board will work as well together or whether Thursday’s meeting was the calm before the storm. Already, a legal opinion is being sought on whether Walsh’s vote can be the tie-breaker for votes on internal board rules and leadership decisions.
Glasgow hasn’t issued an opinion yet.
“The election isn’t over until the 20th,” he said. “There are still votes to be counted.”
But if final comments made by Moustis and Majority Leader Walter Adamic, D-Joliet, are any indication, both sides would like to see the harmony continue. Moustis said during the past decade or so, board members focused on issues, not politics.
“You should be proud of that,” he said.
Adamic, who some think will run for chairman once the new board is sworn in on Dec. 3, urged incoming members to work together for the community.
“Because at the end of the day, it’s what we do for our community that matters, not how well the Democrats do and not how well the Republicans do,” Adamic said. “It’s how well we do for the citizens of this county.”