Mayors dole out advice, warnings for newcomers
Life's about to change for the sea of new faces elected Tuesday to mayor posts in the suburbs.
Just trust the advice of their predecessors, as well as longtime suburban incumbents.
Des Plaines Mayor Marty Moylan, now a state representative, reminds new mayors -- including his 26-year-old successor, Matt Bogusz, that "you're on duty, 24/7."
A quiet dinner out with your spouse? "Sometimes you leave Des Plaines and they still know you," Moylan said.
"But you have to be cordial. Sometimes, that's the only time people see you."
He described politics as "a different type of game. You've got to be married to an individual who realizes you have to be accessible and on duty."
Hanover Park Mayor Rodney Craig, first elected in 2007, said he expected many of the demands of the job after watching his wife, Sherry, work as village clerk for more than two decades.
His advice to newcomers is to start early establishing a reputation as a leader who is patient and builds trust with his or her staff.
Mayor Karen Darch, of Barrington, who, like Craig, was elected to a third term Tuesday, said she was initially surprised by the demands of representing the community to those outside of Barrington, as well as the time involved in dealing with major issues, like Barrington's efforts in 2007 to oppose CN Railway's purchase of EJ&E railway.
Longtime Roselle Village President Gayle Smolinski, who was elected to her sixth term Tuesday, said new mayors should expect to have regular interaction with residents in public -- especially as people begin to recognize them around town. She says her children have gotten upset in the past that a short trip to the grocery store often turns into at least a half-hour, but that's part of the job.
"You always have to be prepared to be stopped with a question or concern, but it's something I've always welcomed," Smolinski said. "It's the pleasure of being in a small community where people instantly recognize you and there's a camaraderie with the residents."
New Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes, a longtime village trustee, said while he feels well versed in village issues, he still expects "a shock in terms of the time commitment."
And Bogusz, who has an August wedding planned with his longtime girlfriend, laughed that he was relieved that he got through the Des Plaines three-way mayoral race with his engagement still on track.