Citing a difficulty working with four of Winfield's six trustees, Village President Deborah Birutis says she won't seek re-election in April. And she's already endorsing someone for the race.
Birutis had hoped to unite Winfield's various factions when she was first elected in 2009. But she has been in a power struggle since spring 2011, when Tim Allen, Tony Reyes and Jim Hughes were elected to the village board.
Allen, Reyes, Hughes have sided with Trustee Jay Olson on several key issues, including a proposal to rezone parts of Roosevelt Road for redevelopment.
In an email to the Daily Herald, Birutis said she's grateful for the new businesses, new housing developments and other highlights in Winfield during the past year.
"My wish for the new year is that Winfield continues to prosper," Birutis wrote. "I hope our village officials are open and transparent. I hope that they listen to and involve everyone in our community."
But she had pointed and bitter words for Allen, Reyes, Hughes and Olson.
"It has been very difficult dealing with the four arrogant trustees who are ignoring the law, our ordinances, our residents and experts trying to provide advice," Birutis wrote.
She added there are residents "angry enough and ready to take back their village" from the four trustees. She said one of those individuals is Trustee Erik Spande.
Spande broke ranks with the board in May when he revealed a controversial plan to have the DuPage County sheriff's office take over police protection in Winfield. That idea, which officials were considering to raise money to fix the town's deteriorating streets, has since been scrapped.
Birutis said she believes Spande has the "honesty, integrity and energy to be a great village president."
On Monday, Trustee Allen reacted to Birutis' statements by saying her decision not to run is "a blessing for Winfield."
"I just don't think she has the character that would allow her to work effectively with the rest of us," Allen said.
Allen said he also doesn't support Spande, who is expected to face opposition from at least two other candidates.
Trustee Hughes said he is collecting signatures and is planning to enter the race. Rob Hanlon, a 47-year-old chief information officer with an Oak Brook-based company, already has a blog, wearewinfield.com, explaining why he's running for village president.
"There is so much positive about Winfield," Hanlon said Monday. "But it seems to be getting drowned out by the noise of disagreement."
Hanlon said he would like to help the village achieve its potential. Comments like that have Allen calling Hanlon "the guy to beat" in April.
"I think the town is sick of the Hatfields and McCoys," Allen said. "They want somebody from the outside. Spande and Hughes are really going to struggle, because the people are just sick of the polarized situation."