A Cary trustee who ran on a platform of bringing transparency to the village board has set his sights on the highest office in town.
Trustee Bruce Kaplan has announced his intention to take on incumbent Tom Kierna in next spring's village president race.
Kaplan, a real estate agent, ran with a group of three last year that pledged openness, transparency, business-friendly practices and common sense. The entire group was elected and defeated four incumbents.
Kaplan said Kierna's heart is in the right place, but that it's time for a change in leadership style.
"Let's just say I'm a more inclusive person in my style, I try to give people recognition and try to achieve consensus," Kaplan said. "I'm more of a democratic kind of a leader, and he does things differently from that."
Kierna, who intends to run for village president again, says the spirit of collaboration Kaplan says is lacking already exists among trustees.
"I'm not going to debate these issues, but I think we everyone's entitled to their opinion in terms of how the leadership styles are," Kierna said.
Kaplan takes issue with what he calls the "golden parachute" the board unanimously issued to former Village Administrator Cameron Davis, which took place before the new board was seated.
Davis, who served the village for 16 years, was terminated in 2011 and received six months pay, a 1.7-percent cost-of-living increase, a lump sum of $47,500 for accrued vacation, personal and sick time, and 36 hours of comp time.
The village also agreed to pay Davis' retirement benefits for six months and his health benefits for 12 months. Davis' annual salary was $134,139. He now is the village manager of Homer Glen.
Kaplan said that if he had been village president, he wouldn't have been as generous.
"It was an excessive amount," Kaplan said. "The severance agreement should have said that if he got another job, he couldn't double dip. He did get another job and he was, in effect, double dipping."
Kierna said Davis already had a contract in place at the time he was let go.
"It's behind us," Kierna said, adding that Kaplan approved a similar contract for the new village administrator. "We move forward."
If elected, Kaplan said, he would use his experience in the real estate industry to lure new business to Cary. He admits he doesn't have all the answers to Cary's problems, but wants to work to find solutions with residents, village trustees and staff.
Kierna is a lifelong Cary resident who works as a salesman. He has been in public service for 16 years, including two years on the planning, zoning and appeals commission, 10 years as trustee and four years as president.
He's running to build on the village's progress -- the village netted a more than a $500,000 budget surplus last fiscal year and improved water, sewer and road infrastructure.
"I'm very proud of all the things that we've accomplished," Kierna said. "I believe that Cary is better today than it was yesterday and the day before and the years before."