The village clerk of Buffalo Grove is chosen by the voters, and for 32 years they've been quite happy choosing Janet Sirabian to occupy that office.
But Sirabian, who is accustomed to running unopposed, has staunch competition this year from a candidate who's best known both locally and nationally as an atheist activist.
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Challenger Rob Sherman has run for office before, having tried to unseat State Rep. Sidney Mathias on more than one occasion, but now turns his attention to municipal government.
The April 5 election offers voters a clear choice, at least in terms of style.
In Sirabian, voters can expect an experienced government official well practiced in the clerk's traditional duties, from taking minutes at village board meetings to serving notice of local elections.
Sherman, however, says he wants to expand the duties of the office to include such things as American flag disposal and passport processing. He has even suggested that the clerk could hold a Good Government Fair at village hall to give candidates a chance to present themselves, thus streamlining the process of gathering signatures on candidate petitions.
Sirabian had been performing steadily and virtually invisibly until the two-year board tenure of former Trustee Lisa Stone. Stone would routinely vote against the board minutes produced by the clerk and call into question Sirabian's accuracy.
Sherman has taken to Stone's concerns and called into question Sirabian's ability to perform the job. He has noted her losing the keys to village hall, as well as her inability to find the tape to a 2005 executive session in which the Land and Lakes landfill was discussed.
He's also criticized Sirabian's minutes for not being descriptive enough about what was said in the meetings. He cited one Finance Committee meeting in which possible tax increases were discussed but not described in minutes.
Sirabian said the Finance Committee meeting was merely a brainstorming session.
"Nobody raised anybody's taxes," she said. "There were no decisions made.
"If you review my minutes, as opposed to the minutes of any clerk virtually in the state, my minutes are more comprehensive and more inclusive than most," she added.
Sherman, however, said, he believes Sirabian should detail meeting comments more thoroughly.
"That's the difference between Jan and me," he said. "If ideas are thrown out, the minutes should say what those ideas were."
Sherman also is critical about the lack of minutes from a student civics forum in which they discussed laws regarding texting.
"The kids offered all these great ideas and they are lost forever," he said. "They have been flushed down the toilet."
Sirabian points out, however, that the civics forum was televised and is available on DVD.
Addressing the lost tape from the executive session, Sirabian noted the tape could legally have been in destroyed in 2007.
But Sherman labeled her as disorganized.
"I'm extremely well organized," he said. "Jan is a good person. But I'm offering an alternative. Something better."