The 2013 village president's race in Streamwood, between two longtime members of the village board, asks voters to choose between a potential source of new ideas and an established leader who believes attention to details is essential to keeping services running smoothly.
Village President Billie Roth is facing a challenge from Trustee James Cecille, whom she defeated in 1989 when first elected to the office.
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Cecille, first elected trustee in 1987, said he's running not because he believes the village is making critical mistakes, but from a conviction that it could be doing its job much better.
"My leadership style would probably make Billie shudder," Cecille said Tuesday during a joint endorsement interview with the Daily Herald's editorial board. "I'm more of a people person. I feel just providing services in a village ... it doesn't stop there."
Cecille said the village not only needs more transparency in its budget -- being clear about the fact it spends between $40,000 and $50,000 each year on Summer Celebration -- but also greater promotion of itself as a place to live, patronize a business or locate a business.
"People don't really know what we do, and they ought to know more," Cecille said.
Roth said her leadership style was essential to creating order in a chaotic village government in 1989. And 24 years later, she believes it's just as essential to maintain it.
"I would consider myself a visionary, but the details are important," Roth said. "I believe in building consensus. We learned how to prioritize in 1989. Our main goal is basic services."
Roth explained that under her method most trustees accomplish what they want to in time, but they may have to wait until something of higher priority has been accomplished first.
Both candidates agree that the village's budget is well balanced. But Cecille said he'd like to use some of the village's financial strength to help keep homeowners in their homes during trying economic times.
The village's number of rented single-family homes is skyrocketing -- currently about 1,600 -- and that threatens to change the character of its neighborhoods, Cecille said. A financial program that could help people afford their homes and related taxes would be of value to the entire village, he argued.
Roth said the problems Streamwood is facing are universal from the economic downturn, but doesn't believe the type of program Cecille described would be sustainable.
"I think everyone is concerned about people being displaced out of their homes," she said. "Yes, it can change the neighborhood."
But that's why the village instead pursued a program requiring the licensing of any home rental, allowing for regular inspection of such properties, she said. Licensed and inspected rental properties are not as objectionable as derelict vacant homes, Roth added.
Though Cecille has had a voice on the board for 26 years, he believes the office of village president would provide a better arena for his ideas to be heard and tested.
"I would bring the board together," he said. "There's not enough ideas coming forward. My ideas would get a better hearing as president."
Though Roth doesn't call it a slate, she said she and the three incumbent trustees running for re-election -- Michael Baumer, William Carlson and William Harper -- are supporting each other's candidacies.
Cecille said he's supporting Zoning Board of Appeals member Khaja Moinuddin's run for trustee to bring a new voice and some diversity to the village board.