While two Lake Zurich mayoral candidates have gone from allies to foes, the third hopeful in the race says a lack of local political history gives her an edge over her opponents.
Mayor Suzanne Branding will face village Trustee Tom Poynton and newcomer Mary Black in the April 9 election. Poynton, Black and Branding recently addressed campaign issues during a Daily Herald editorial board endorsement interview.
In 2007, Poynton and Branding were elected as trustees as part of the Citizens United for a Responsible and Enduring Lake Zurich political party that Richard Sustich headed in his unsuccessful attempt to become mayor. Branding and Poynton ran with a party that was critical of downtown redevelopment, the village budget and overall finances.
Branding headed another political slate with three successful trustee candidates when she become mayor in 2009, while Poynton was re-elected as trustee in 2011. Poynton said he could not pinpoint when he started breaking away from Branding after she became mayor.
"I think we have fallen apart as to the way we want to do things," Poynton said. "We had budget issues. Once we took over with the second slate in 2009, I thought we all agreed that we were going to try to make these budget issues try to go away. We seemed to have no support from the mayor when it came to forcing the village staff to address the issues the way we thought we were going to address them."
Branding agreed there was no specific instance when she and Poynton started their political split. She said they don't necessarily differ on goals for the village but rather in their personal styles of how to get it done as mayor.
"I see trying to work with the staff more," Branding said. "We are fortunate right now at this time -- very fortunate -- to have a very good staff. And the staff we have right now, they are a highly professional group and they're predictable, reasonable, professional."
Black said she believes it's good she doesn't have any political history in Lake Zurich similar to Branding and Poynton. She said she's been frustrated with "quarreling" village trustees, and that her negotiating experience as a real estate broker would allow her to bring all sides together.
"I'm definitely at an advantage because I've not been a part of this existing board," Black said.
Poynton will remain as a trustee on the Lake Zurich village board if he doesn't become mayor.