Three may vie for leadership of forest preserve board
By Cindy Wojdyla Cain email@example.com November 21, 2012 9:44AM
Updated: December 24, 2012 6:47AM
While Democrats won a long-sought majority on the Will County Board in the Nov. 6 election, the same isn’t true of the other board they automatically serve on.
County board members double as forest preserve board members, though the two boards are separate legal entities.
Both boards now have a 13-13 split between Democrats and Republicans. And while Democrats have the edge on the county board because County Executive Larry Walsh, D-Elwood, can cast tie-breaking votes, Walsh has no role whatsoever on the forest preserve board.
On that board tie votes will fail, according to Roberts Rules of Order. So members wishing to get a measure passed would need to reach across the aisle for a little bipartisan help.
At least three board members may be vying for president of the board to replace President Cory Singer, R-Frankfort, who challenged Walsh and lost.
Don Gould, R-Shorewood, served as the board’s vice president and he seemed ready to move up to president when the Republicans had the majority. But now the most senior board member, “Banana” Joe Babich, D-Joliet, has expressed an interest because of his party’s Election Day gains. Babich said he wants a leadership position after serving on the board for 30 years.
“I have never been a chairman of a committee,” Babich said. “I want the presidency of the forest preserve board.”
But there is one more candidate. Suzanne Hart, R-Naperville, said she, too, will throw her hat into the ring.
Hart was past president of the Naperville Park District board. She is a current member of the Illinois Association of Park Districts and she serves as president of the Illinois Conservation and Forest Preserve Districts.
If Hart and Gould both seek the position, that could leave it wide open for Babich. Republicans will caucus this Saturday to resolve some of their leadership decisions.
The forest preserve board will reorganize on Dec. 10.