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updated: 8/17/2012 1:58 PM

West Chicago park commissioner resigns for possible mayoral bid

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West Chicago Park District Commissioner Bill Spelman resigned this week to focus on a possible run for mayor.

Spelman said Friday he is "considering other political aspirations" and has been "having family discussions left and right" as he contemplates a challenge to Ruben Pineda, who was appointed acting mayor in May following the death of longtime Mayor Michael Kwasman.

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The election is in April 2013 and Spelman acknowledged he'll have to make a decision soon. He said he stepped down from the park board to avoid any potential conflicts in the event he runs for mayor.

"I'm leaving with no animosity and no problems," he said. "We probably have one of the finest park districts around."

He said he will continue to work in support of a proposed $15 million, 65,000-square-foot community recreation center in Reed-Keppler Park and has nothing but praise for Executive Director Gary Major. "Nobody could ever ask for a better executive director," he said.

Major, meanwhile, said Spelman stepped down on good terms with the district.

"I think he felt, if he's going to do that (run for mayor), he wants to dedicate his energies to running," Major said. "To serve on another government body could be seen as kind of a conflict and he wanted to make sure he was being looked at in an objective fashion."

Spelman was elected to a six-year park board term in 2011.

The district is now seeking applicants for the vacant position. But the appointee only will serve roughly nine months, because the seat will be up for election in April 2013 for an unexpired four-year term.

Major said the board is seeking candidates with passion, who can look at the park district's work on a big-picture scale.

"We want someone who has a global view of what a parks and recreation agency's mission is," he said. "We need someone who is empathetic and who can be a team player."

Interested candidates can pick up an application form at the West Chicago Park District office, 157 W. Washington St., or download a version from the website at we-goparks.org. The application deadline is Aug. 28. For details, call (630) 231-9474.

Spelman, meanwhile, said he wants to make absolutely sure he's ready to do the job before officially announcing his campaign for mayor.

"I'd want to do it the right way," he said. "The city has a great staff and I can't see making any changes. I have a lot of respect for Ruben, I've known him forever, but I maybe have just a few different views."

• Daily Herald Staff Writer Bob Smith contributed to this report.

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