While two trustees wait to find out which one of them will keep his seat on the Arlington Heights village board, newly elected Mayor Tom Hayes said he will not appoint the loser to the board to finish his own term.
With all 64 precincts counted, only 22 votes separate Norm Breyer and Bert Rosenberg for the fourth and final seat on the village board. Trustees Tom Glasgow and Joe Farwell, and local architect Jim Tinaglia were elected to three of the four open seats on the village board.
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Breyer and Rosenberg will have to wait for a few dozen absentee and provisional ballots to be counted to find out if that changes.
Either way, Hayes said, he will appoint a new face to the board for the last two years of his current term.
Hayes wouldn't name any people he has in mind, but it won't be anyone who was on Tuesday's ballot, which also rules out mayoral opponents Ron Drake and Mark Hellner.
"I think that's a bad precedent to set because at that point the voters have spoken," Hayes said.
There's no indication that any of those candidates have asked to be appointed.
Instead, Hayes said, he will start by looking at the more than 150 residents on various Arlington Heights boards and commissions, compile a shortlist and meet with the candidates about their interest in the seat and the time commitment involved.
"We've got a lot of qualified people who know the issues in Arlington Heights," Hayes said. "I'm looking for someone who is an independent thinker, who shares in the vision of the board, and who has the best interests of Arlington Heights at heart."
With Village President Arlene Mulder retiring, Trustee Carol Blackwood will be the only woman on the nine-member board, something Hayes said he will take into consideration when looking at possible appointees.
"It would be nice to have another woman to help balance out the board," he said. "It's important to have diversity because we try to represent the entire community."
Hayes will be installed as mayor May 6. He said he hopes to have a new trustee named for his trustee seat sometime in May so that the board is complete by the regular goal-setting session in June.
The other undetermined seat will go to either Breyer or Rosenberg, but they may not know who won until the Cook County clerk certifies election results on April 30.
The Election Night totals -- Breyer with 6,514 votes and Rosenberg with 6,536 votes -- include all votes cast Tuesday, early votes, and any absentee ballots received by Election Day, said Courtney Greve, spokeswoman for the Cook County clerk's office.
In the three weeks between the election and when results are certified, the clerk's office will count late-arriving mail and absentee ballots, and provisional ballots, she said.
Greve said there are 39 outstanding mail ballots that have not been returned to the clerk's office and could still be counted, as well as 14 provisional ballots in the Arlington Heights race.
Village Clerk Becky Hume said she sent about 20 absentee ballots to people who requested them but acknowledged that people could also download an absentee ballot online without notifying anyone.
"Typically things don't change too much, but it's so close you just don't know," Hume said.
If the certified votes for a losing candidate are within 5 percent of the winner's total, the losing candidate can request a recount within a few days of the votes being certified, Greve said. In 2009, the clerk's office did 10 recounts.
While it's too early to ask for a recount, neither candidate is ready to say the race is over just yet.
Rosenberg, who has been on the board since 2001, said he feels better now that the margin is 22 votes, rather than four, as it was at one point Tuesday night. He says it's still too close to claim victory.
Breyer, who also has 12 years on the board, said he is not conceding until every vote is counted.
"Since I put this much effort into it, I'm going to wait. It's too close to just accept it," Breyer said.
While he said he isn't thrilled about the dragged out results, Breyer said he is trying not to worry about it too much or constantly check for updates.
"What is the phrase? A watched pot doesn't boil, or something like that," he said. "Statistically, it's a virtual tie right now."
Seat: Two candidates say it's still too close to call their race