A new village board in Cary
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Starting next month, four out of six village trustees in Cary should be new to local politics.
According to unofficial election results, Bruce Kaplan, Karen Lukasik, Robert Bragg and Jeff Kraus unseated incumbents Al Pilli, Debra McNamee, Barbara Hill and Mark Kownick.
Kaplan, Lukasik and Bragg ran for 4-year terms against fellow challenger Frank Steckelberg and incumbents Pilli, McNamee and Hill. Kraus ran for a 2-year term against Kownick.
Kownick and Pilli were appointed two years ago. Hill has served since 2005, and McNamee was first elected in 1994.
"The people have spoken and they have asked for some change," Village President Tom Kierna said. "I congratulate the trustee-elects. I looked forward to getting together with them in the near term to understand what their thoughts are, and wipe the slate clean. Hopefully, we can all work together in a positive direction."
Kierna said he has an open mind about the new trustees having a majority vote.
"Since they campaigned together, I would think that they would band together on the board as well. That's only logical thinking. But I don't know," he said.
In the weeks preceding the election, Kaplan, Lukasik, Bragg and Kraus polled their resources to place nearly 50 signs displaying all their names throughout the village.
The common themes in their individual campaigns were to criticize the village for being unfriendly to businesses, and to call for more transparency from village hall.
Kaplan, the top vote-getter with 1,176 votes, said the foursome was somewhat surprised at achieving such a clean victory. "I can't quite tell the reason for it, except that we had a well-orchestrated campaign," he said.
He rejected the notion that their victory was due to the abundance of campaign signs.
"It was more than about signs," he said. "The businesses along the business corridor that allowed us to put signs up were solidly behind us. The currently trustees would disagree with that. In a way, they are in denial about this."
Kaplan said he will focus first on pushing for easier access to village documents, such as allowing people to easily obtain copies of ordinances, and posting the budget and other financial documents on the village's website.
As for future board decisions, Kaplan acknowledged he and the other three trustees-elect agree on many issues, but said there are no foregone conclusions.
Pilli said he was very disappointed in the results. "There were some very general claims made by the challengers," he said. "There were not a lot of details behind the things they claimed about the current administration being business-unfriendly."
In the unofficial vote count, Pilli got 915 votes, just 4 votes fewer than Bragg. "There is still some counting to do. It's not over yet. We'll see what happens in the next few weeks," he said.
A representative from the McHenry County Clerk's office said that provisional ballots still need to be counted, and the process will take a least a week.
The newly elected trustees will be appointed at the May 3 village board meeting.
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