Consolidate debate draws 18 Republicans for Naperville Township seats
High interest in Naperville Township government has resulted in 18 candidates filing for eight available seats -- all in the Feb. 28 Republican primary.
Two people have filed for the party's nod for supervisor, two for clerk, two for assessor, two for highway commissioner and 10 for four trustee seats representing the township, Clerk Barry Greenberg said.
That doesn't include any Democratic candidates who may come forward for the April 4 election when their party hosts a caucus Dec. 6.
Naperville Township has been the target of a government collaboration pitch from the city of Naperville under which the city could take over services for about 16 miles of unincorporated roads.
Nearly 89 percent of voters in a nonbinding referendum question on the Nov. 8 ballot said the city and township should enter into the agreement if it would create tax savings; but whether the agreement as proposed would save money continues to be debated.
Even before what some have called an "overwhelming mandate" in favor of government collaboration, Naperville Township Republicans announced in October their plans to host a primary instead of the typical caucus.
"The whole point of us having a primary is that it's open and letting the residents have a voice," said Carl Schultz, Naperville Township Republican chairman, who has filed to run against longtime Highway Commissioner Stan Wojtasiak.
While Wojtasiak is seeking re-election to defend township residents against what he has called a "hostile takeover" of the road district, Schultz said he would be open to discussing the agreement with the city -- with some modifications to balance the interests of incorporated and unincorporated residents.
"It's not about cutting them out," Schultz said about residents in unincorporated subdivisions. "It's about the ability for all of the people living in the township who are footing the bill to have some say so and have a quality service at a fair price for everyone."
Schultz said his platform would be one of reviewing all options to make township services more affordable, efficient and effective.
Supervisor Rachel Ossyra said she respects both highway commissioner candidates, but the difference between the way they would run the district is apparent.
"The public has a very clear choice between the old way of running the road district with high costs and a new way of running the road district collaborating with other units of government and with others in the community to reduce costs," Ossyra said.
Naperville Township Assessor Warren Dixon III, who is running against challenger Gary Vician, said the road services debate has brought out candidates of all stripes. On one end, there are those who want to keep township operations the same, and on the other, those who want to eliminate some township function, Dixon said. In between are candidates who support what he called "sensible consolidation and shared services."
Incumbents in the township's other top posts -- Supervisor Ossyra and Clerk Greenberg -- also have one challenger each. For supervisor, Ossyra faces a challenge from Walter Reilly. For clerk, Greenberg is being challenged by Tom Laz.
Two incumbent trustees -- Kerry Malm and Paul Santucci -- also have filed to retain their seats, while Trustee Janice Anderson won a seat instead on the DuPage County Board and Trustee Bob Wegner did not file for re-election.
Eight others who filed for township trustee include Kurt Dorr, Cathy Hanzelin, Chris Jacks, William Lueck, Dan Porter, Jim Ruhl, Ernest Kovacs and Heather Bejda.
"The fact that there were so many people applying to run for the positions is a very positive thing," Ossyra said.
Greenberg said names of eight of the trustee candidates -- who all filed at the beginning of the period Nov. 21 -- will be placed in a lottery to determine who will appear first on the primary ballot. Those candidates are Dorr, Hanzelin, Jacks, Lueck, Malm, Porter, Ruhl and Santucci.