As Des Plaines Mayor Marty Moylan prepares to head to Springfield after being elected Tuesday to represent the 55th House District, the City Council is faced with the task of picking an alderman to serve as interim mayor until the April consolidated election.
Moylan said Thursday he will be stepping down in December. The interim mayor would preside over roughly eight City Council meetings until a new mayor is seated after the April 9 municipal election.
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At least two of the eight sitting aldermen -- Dick Sayad (4th Ward) and Mark Walsten (6th Ward) -- and former mayor Tony Arredia are expected to bid for the mayoral seat in April.
Walsten and Arredia, who retired as mayor in April 2009 due to voter-imposed term limits, are the only confirmed contenders thus far in what could become a hotly-contested race.
Sayad said Thursday he will make a formal announcement next week whether he is running, and rumors abound of at least one other aldermanic candidate, though none other has announced as yet.
The part-time mayor's job pays roughly $9,000 yearly.
Moylan said he likely won't have a hand in picking his successor, which will be decided by the city council.
"The next couple of weeks we will be working on that," Moylan said.
Moylan said any alderman interested in the interim position could get a leg up over the competition in April. "It's only three months so it's not that bad," he added. "It's something but not enough to push them over the top in the mayor's race."
Walsten and Sayad have both inquired about the procedure to seek the post of acting mayor. Both have asked the city attorney and manager for clarification on the rules.
"I want to make sure whatever happens during the election, I wouldn't be losing my spot as alderman," said Walsten, who was re-elected to a second term in April 2011. "It could possibly be beneficial. (The position) may be possibly little more in the public eye, if you so choose to run it that way."
Sayad, who served the ward from 1999 to 2007, left due to term limits, then was re-elected in April 2011, said he is under the impression he would lose his aldermanic post if he becomes interim mayor.
"Whoever becomes the (interim) mayor, then you have to relinquish your position and you appoint someone to take over the balance of your (term)," Sayad said.
Sayad said if the council appoints a replacement for himself and he ends up not getting his candidate petitions in on time for April or not winning the mayoral seat, "I go home. I got nothing."
Sayad, who ran for mayor in 2009 and lost to then-Ward 2 Alderman Moylan in a four-way contest, acknowledged it takes a lot to run a mayoral campaign.
Sayad said an alternative would be rotating aldermen as interim mayor, or appointing an alderman whose term is ending and who is not planning on running for re-election, like 7th Ward Alderman Dan Wilson.
Picking an interim mayor has been contentious in some suburban towns.
For two years, Wheeling opted to rotate three trustees as interim village president, each serving 233 days, after Greg Klatecki resigned the presidency in late 2007. And for now, Lombard remains without an acting mayor after the village board was unable agree on a successor to longtime Village President Bill Mueller, who died in August.
Moylan said he doesn't expect the kind of problems Wheeling and Lombard had in picking interim mayors.
As for who should be his permanent successor, Moylan said he's not ready to endorse any of the mayoral candidates just yet.
"There's always people that come in at the last moment to run for mayor," he said. "Let's see what candidates surface. The next mayor should keep the programs that we have in place now and keep the city moving forward."
Candidates can file petitions to run in the April 9 election Dec. 17-24.