LZ candidates copy answers on questionnaire

 
 
Updated 2/15/2011 8:06 AM
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Three candidates running as a slate for the Lake Zurich village board gave identical answers to every issue-related question on a recent Daily Herald questionnaire.

For all eight questions on the digital form, Mark Ernst, Dana Rzeznik and Jenny Talley provided the same answers as each other.

Topics ranged from "What is your No. 1 campaign issue" to "Are you in favor of spending the money needed to bring Lake Michigan water to Lake Zurich." Their answers did not vary in any way.

In a telephone interview Monday, Rzeznik confirmed the trio deliberately answered the questions identically.

"That was our understanding, that if we ran as a slate we are supposed to have a common vision," Rzeznik said.

Ernst also defended the joint answers.

"In the absence of any directions to the contrary, it seemed the logical and prudent approach," he said in an e-mail. "Otherwise, it would look like we were three individuals not running together on a common platform."

Talley could not be reached for comment.

The three hopefuls are running on the Lake Zurich Vision slate with Clerk Kathleen Johnson, who is unopposed in her race. Rzeznik is an incumbent, while Ernst and Talley are challengers.

Three trustee seats with 4-year terms are up for election April 5.

The other village board candidates are incumbent Tom Poynton and former mayor John Tolomei, who are running independently.

Poynton called the joint answers "perhaps a bit unsettling."

"The 'team think' thing is nice, I guess, but how does that benefit the residents -- and which one of the team actually does the thinking?" he said in an e-mail. "I try as I always have, to do my own thinking."

Tolomei couldn't be reached for comment.

Although candidates teaming up to run as a slate is common in local politics, slate mates typically give independent answers reflecting their individual views when filling out questionnaires for the local media.

The questions are designed to determine where candidates stand on a variety of general political issues and matters specific to the community they seek to represent.

Rzeznik said the members of her slate "collaborated fully" on the answers for the Daily Herald questionnaire. No one member wrote them.

"In general, we agree," Rzeznik said.