Chirico best choice to lead Naperville post-Pradel
Change is coming to Naperville and 23 residents are hoping to be a part of it by getting elected as city leaders.
Longtime Mayor George Pradel is retiring 20 years after ascending from the Naperville Police Department as Officer Friendly to become a beloved mayor whose enthusiasm for the city was a hallmark of his tenure.
On top of that, in the fallout of two referendums -- one to create districts for some council members and one to rescind that vote -- all eight city council seats are on the ballot this year. Anywhere between four and nine new council members will be seated after the April 14 election.
For Naperville mayor, four want to replace Pradel; two of the challengers are currently on the city council; two are newcomers. In the mayor's role, having someone who is able to step in and knows what to do and how to do it is important.
Also, no one is capable of or should try to mimic the unique leadership style of Pradel. Given both of those parameters, the choice comes down to the councilmen squaring off: Steve Chirico and Doug Krause.
Krause, 67 and a Realtor, has been on the council for 26 years. This is his fifth try for the mayor's office. Chirico, 54, who grew up in Naperville, is a local businessman elected to the council four years ago. What he lacks in terms of council years, he more than makes up for in smarts running his own business and a consensus-building leadership style. Where Krause appears ready to shake some things up, Chirico will be more of a steadying force at the helm. He has the endorsement of many of the movers and shakers in town and of elected officials in the county and elsewhere.
Naperville is a well-run city and, given its size, should be in the forefront in dealing with issues affecting the county, region and state. Chirico's temperament is suited for this role and he earns our endorsement. Jim Haselhorst, 55, and Marty Walker, 62, also are running.
Naperville City Council
Naperville truly is a lucky community. With 19 council candidates, there isn't one that can't claim either the experience or the interest needed to be a successful council member. But narrow the field we must.
The top four vote-getters will receive 4-year terms; the next four will receive 2-year terms. We are looking at experience first and as such we endorse current council members Judith Brodhead, Paul Hinterlong and David Wentz to return to their seats. Brodhead, 63, was first elected in 2009 after many years on various commissions. Hinterlong, 49, a lifelong Napervillian, also has been on council since 2009 and Wentz, 51, was first elected in 2013 after serving four years on the Naperville Township board. They each bring a sound sense of how Naperville should be run and, for Brodhead and Hinterlong, can rightly boast of helping to guide the city through the rough recessionary years.
Next we endorse Kevin Gallaher, 51, an attorney and former council member who served during the boom years of the mid-1990s. He remains well-versed on city issues.
For the other four slots, we choose plan commission Chair Patty Gustin, 55, a real estate broker; public utility advisory board Chairman John Krummen, 50, an engineering executive; lifelong resident and downtown merchant Becky Anderson; and Naperville parks Commissioner Bill Eagan, 41, who is chief financial officer for Hinsdale schools. The varied backgrounds and expertise of these candidates make them good fits for the council. Also running is incumbent Joseph McElroy, former councilman Richard Furstenau, Rebecca Boyd-Obarski, John Colletti, Kevin Coyne, Wayne Floegel, Robert Hajek, Nancy Marinello, Harry Thomas O'Hale, Steve Peterson and Stephen Purduski. A 20th candidate, James Bergeron, suspended his campaign but remains on the ballot.