Sayad pledges to work with mayor, council
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They once were rivals.
Now both 4th Ward alderman-elect Dick Sayad and Des Plaines Mayor Marty Moylan pledge to work together with the rest of the city council to tackle major issues such as finances, flooding, and how to use casino revenues.
A former two-term Des Plaines alderman, Sayad -- who unsuccessfully ran for mayor in 2009 -- was elected Tuesday, defeating his longtime rival and incumbent Alderman Jean Higgason, and political newcomer Mark Pytlewicz.
"Marty is my mayor. He's the guy I have to work with and I'm going to be working with," Sayad said. "I have a job to do to represent the 4th Ward and I'm going out there to do that. I'm going to work with everybody. We want to keep our wards in top-notch condition and we want to keep our city going forward."
Sayad said he hasn't thought about whether he would run against Moylan for the mayor's seat in two years. He said his main focus right now is the 4th Ward where he has lived 27 years.
Moylan said he is not worried about facing a mayoral challenge from Sayad in 2013, and is looking forward to working with him.
"The main thing is that we work together," Moylan said. "We've got important issues facing our city, which include flooding, jobs and the casino revenue."
Sayad said his main goal now is to reconnect with residents who feel left out of the process. He criticized Higgason for not having enough ward meetings and pledged to have two or three meetings yearly.
Sayad also plans to create a residents' committee that would meet every few months so he can gauge what residents want.
Higgason said hardly anyone attended the ward meetings she organized.
Higgason said she was surprised by Sayad's win but admitted she couldn't be as visible in the ward as he had been throughout the campaign.
"Being that he is retired, he had all day to campaign," she said. "He was able to get to more homes than I could. I unfortunately have to work for a living."
Higgason, who is chairwoman of the city's finance and administration committee, has overseen budget cuts over the last two years and the downsizing of city government.
Sayad and Higgason have a long history of political challenges.
Higgason, 54, was originally elected to the 4th Ward in 1995, when she defeated Sayad for the seat. She served until 1999, when Sayad, 67, beat her and served as alderman until 2007. Then he was ousted by voter-imposed term limits, and Higgason was elected.
Higgason said she is not sure if she would run again in four years.
"Lord knows what's going to happen in four years," she said adding that she wants to focus on things she couldn't get to while being alderman.
"I'm looking forward to joining an exercise class and starting a garden. I enjoyed serving the residents but it's a big responsibility and a lot of work, so now it's my time."
As for Sayad, fixing backyard flooding, hazardous sidewalks, and city finances are top priorities on his agenda.
Residents currently have to pay 25 percent of the project cost to participate in the city's rear-yard drainage program. Depending on the extent of pipe installation and pre-existing infrastructure conditions in a neighborhood, the cost could run anywhere from $20,000 to $100,000.
Each rear-yard drainage project would typically benefit four or more property owners, working out to an average cost of between $5,000 and $25,000 per site split among the residents. Sayad said he'd like to see that amount cut in half or even eliminated.
Sayad said he would work hard to ensure the city's future casino revenues are used to benefit residents.
"We have to go back and try to get the city back to a stable financial state," he said.
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