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updated: 6/26/2012 6:36 PM

Dual office question going to DuPage voters

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  • Gary Grasso

      Gary Grasso

 
 

DuPage County voters this fall are going to be asked to weigh in on whether politicians should be allowed to simultaneously hold more than one elected office.

County board members on Tuesday decided the advisory question should appear on ballots across DuPage during the November general election.

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"I think we owe it to the voters to ask them this question and invite them to share their thoughts," said county board Chairman Dan Cronin, who proposed the nonbinding ballot question.

While Cronin said the question isn't about "any particular individual," it will appear on the ballot at the same time Burr Ridge Mayor Gary Grasso is seeking election to one of three District 3 seats on the county board. Grasso says he plans to keep his job as mayor if he becomes a county board member.

"I don't even think it's necessary to have a referendum about one mayor in DuPage County," Grasso said on Tuesday. "The question to me is: Are the residents of Burr Ridge and District 3 OK with it?"

District 3 includes all or portions of Bolingbrook, Burr Ridge, Clarendon Hills, Darien, Downers Grove, Hinsdale, Lemont, Naperville, Westmont, Willowbrook and Woodridge.

On Monday, Elmhurst Mayor Pete DiCianni announced he would resign his municipal post if he's elected to the county board. That move came as some factions in Elmhurst were opposed to his holding both offices.

Grasso said he's gotten "no pressure" from residents to reconsider his goal of becoming a dual office holder. And because it's a nonbinding question, he isn't required to comply with the results of the referendum.

Still, Cronin is predicting that voters will send "a clear message" that no one should hold multiple elected positions.

"The county is now facing a number of serious issues that demand our full, undivided attention and focus," Cronin said. "It is simply not in the best interest of our residents to have a board member who is responsible for leading another government unit at the same time."

In January, DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin issued an opinion where he wrote that a county board member can't simultaneously hold an office with another unit of government that has "a contractual relationship" with the county. However, there is a chance that Illinois lawmakers might clarify state law to let mayors serve on county boards.

Meanwhile, Grasso said he has the time be a mayor and a county board member. "And I think I'll do a great job at both," he said.

Grasso and fellow Republicans John Curran and Brian Krajewski will face Democrat Sharon Bryant in the general election.

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