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Article updated: 4/25/2013 5:15 PM

Should forest preserve president's name be on signs?

By Robert Sanchez

Regular visitors to DuPage County's major forest preserves should know of D. Dewey Pierotti Jr.

After all, it's his name on the signs.

As president of the forest preserve commission, Pierotti's name appears on 68 different signs at key sites, including preserves, around the county.

But one commissioner is questioning whether any politicians should get that kind of free publicity.

"I am opposed to any elected official's name appearing on forest preserve title signs because doing so gives the appearance of campaigning," Commissioner Mary Lou Wehrli said.

Wehrli is calling on the district to end its decades-old policy of placing the board president's name on signs.

"I'd like to see us have a policy that does not allow elected officials' names on title signs in our forest preserves," she said.

District officials said the existing policy was established in 1970. But Pierotti's name didn't start appearing until 2003 -- about nine years into his presidency.

Pierotti insists it wasn't his idea. "I'm not the one who proposed it," he said.

Since his name started appearing, Pierotti says there have been only a handful of complaints. Most of the people complaining have been his political opponents, according to Pierotti.

"It's really never been questioned," he said. "And it never became a major issue."

The issue came up briefly this week during a discussion about the future entrance sign for St. James Farm near Warrenville. Wehrli is proposing Pierotti's name not appear on that sign.

Pierotti said he doesn't care if the rest of the board agrees to keep his name off the St. James Farm sign.

"Of course, I would be disappointed," he said. "But I don't take it personally. I don't care one way or the other. I'm not a high-profile guy."

But Pierotti said it would be "ludicrous" to have his name taken off all the district's signs because he doesn't plan to seek re-election next year.

"They should wait until next year when the election is over," he said. "Then they can do what they please."

Pierotti said all the signs bearing his name were produced in house.

While she says Pierotti's name should be removed from signs around the county, Wehrli stressed her opinion "is not an attack on the current administration."

Wehrli said her hope is to have the board talk about the proposed policy change during a meeting next month. "We'll have to see what commissioners feel is fair," she said.

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