To the Editor:
This past local election in April 2021 presented something new to our community, which was having current local elected officials running for a second local elected position to a different taxing body. We had Dan Koukol, who won for the Kendall County Board in November 2020, run for Oswego Township assessor. We also had Terry Olson, who was only two years into his term as village of Oswego Trustee, run as an independent for Oswego Township highway commissioner and he was the third candidate on the ballot for highway commissioner.
Is this good for our community to have people who are elected and serving on one taxing body run for a position on another board? These are all paid positions with benefits at the county, village and township levels. As a community, I believe we need to better understand the ramifications of having people run for multiple elected positions. We also need to understand that this can create potential conflicts of interest, since our local taxing bodies have intergovernmental agreements with each other.
It is apparently unclear of what the laws are to prevent this from happening again and what if both had won their second positions? If this creates a resignation from another taxing body, this then gives the opportunity of the board they are leaving to have someone appointed to that position as opposed to being elected. Most concerning, our local politics has become highly politically motivated and now currently dominated by one political caucus. Is this good for Oswego to no longer have local elections vote as nonpartisan, and how does this benefit a growing and diverse community moving forward?
The race for Oswego Township highway commissioner was a highly contested race where accusations were made about who would be hired for the position below the highway commissioner. It should be noted that Tom Cook, who ran for highway commissioner, was upfront about whom he would hire for this position. Since Mr. Cook lost and this was such a big story before the election, who did the new highway commissioner hire for this position below him? With all the accusations made about this position, one would assume there will be much transparency, oversight and many qualified people will be interviewed for this position.
We should look forward to finding out who they hire and about their best-in-class search, interviewing and hiring practices.
Source: The Daily Chronicle