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Article updated: 3/8/2013 10:09 PM

Island Lake trustee candidates can't find common ground with rivals

By Russell Lissau

During recent interviews, three of the candidates running for seats on Island Lake's village board were unable to cite a single proposal endorsed by their rivals that they support.

Trustee candidates Mark Beeson, Keith Johns and Tony Sciarrone -- all members of the For the People slate -- were stymied by the question.

The members of the opposing United for Progress slate -- Ed McGinty, Ken Nitz and Josh Rohde -- had no trouble answering when their turns came in separate sessions.

All of the candidates except Rohde participated in face-to-face endorsement interviews this week at the Daily Herald's Libertyville office. Rohde was unavailable but was interviewed by telephone later in the week.

Three board seats will be on the ballot in the April 9 election. None of the six candidates are incumbents.

The question regularly arises during Daily Herald endorsement interviews.

Beeson said he has no idea what the United For Progress slate members endorse.

"They have yet to speak up in public," he said. "I wish I could answer that question."

The leader of the United for Progress slate, Mayor Debbie Herrmann, has taken stances on a variety of issues during her four years in office.

The United for Progress slate also has a public website, united4progress.com, that details its goals for the town and lists accomplishments.

Johns didn't have an answer, either.

"They haven't come forth publicly with one single statement," he said. "We don't know what they support."

Sciarrone also said he was unaware of the opponents' stances on issues.

The For the People candidates also have a website, ftpil.com.

In his session, Nitz answered the question. Like the members of the For the People slate, he expressed concern about the legal fees the village has paid the Ancel Glink law firm in recent years.

Those fees have towered over the legal expenses of most other Lake County communities and were at the heart of a battle between Herrmann and some trustees that spilled over into court. Reducing the bills has been a cornerstone of the For the People platform.

"I think they have been a little excessive," Nitz said. "We can all agree on that."

If elected, he said he'd encourage the board to reassess how it uses Ancel Glink or hire a new firm "if need be."

McGinty also agreed the legal fees need to be addressed.

"Over the course of the last couple years, they have been astronomical," he said.

McGinty said trustees should resist the urge to call lawyers "every time we need something." He also said village officials should end the adversarial attitudes that led to some of those expenses.

"We have to work together in order to make it a better village," he said.

Rohde cited the legal fees as a problem, too. Although he didn't object to the work Ancel Glink has done in Island Lake, he advocated investigating other firms if it will save money.

"I'm always for competition," he said.

The For the People team also includes clerk candidate Teresa Ponio. Mayoral candidate Charles Amrich has twice been removed from the ballot but is appealing.

The United for Progress slate includes Herrmann and Clerk Connie Mascillino.

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