Endorsements: Broda for Lisle mayor; Hettich, Carballo, Grau for village board.
Village president: Broda
There are stark political battle lines in Lisle where the administration headed by longtime Mayor Joseph Broda is under fire from candidates running as the Prosperity for Lisle slate and headed by mayoral challenger Chris Pecak.
Pecak, a construction project manager, says the village gets failing marks when it comes to transparency and heeding residents' concerns. He questions spending practices in areas ranging from public works to downtown holiday decorations. He supports an immediate property tax freeze and would offset lost revenues by strengthening the village's business base. He supports the idea of requiring municipalities to get voter approval for any property tax increase.
Broda, retired from Lucent, was appointed to the village board in 1986 and served four terms as trustee until being elected village president in April 2001. He is seeking his fifth term.
He says he has worked virtually full-time since taking office and the village has made great strides toward attracting major businesses and revitalizing downtown, especially with the Marquette Cos. development on the former village hall site that is expected to include stores, apartments and a restaurant. He says village property taxes are competitive with neighboring communities and make up only about 6 percent of the average bill.
We're concerned that Broda and the village board are fighting a binding opinion from the Illinois Attorney General's office directing them to release a closed-session tape concerning changes in financing for the sports complex the village shares with Benedictine University. Broda says the village has nothing to hide, but a lengthy legal battle would seem to indicate otherwise.
Pecak, though, has his own problems with transparency thanks to recent revelations that the clerk candidate on his slate, Dave Nelson, broached the possibility of merging Lisle with Naperville in an October meeting with Naperville's mayor. Pecak says he opposes such a merger and insists he has no idea who was behind a recent push to get a referendum question on the spring ballot to pursue such a measure.
We also question the long-term practicality and effectiveness of his proposed property tax freeze and whether some of his proposed cost-cutting measures truly would pay off.
Broda must strive to make the village more accepting of opposing views, but he remains dedicated to Lisle and continues to be a respected and effective leader. Broda is endorsed.
Village board: Hettich, Carballo, Grau
Seven candidates are running for three seats on the Lisle village board and the issues here are the same as in the mayoral race. The three members of the Prosperity For Lisle slate -- Kelly Dixit, Albert Lazaro and Marie Hasse -- question village spending and transparency and call for a property tax freeze. The three incumbents -- Brad Hettich, Anthony Carballo and the recently appointed Christy McGovern -- point to progress in developing downtown, say they've been careful stewards of village tax money and question their opponents' own commitment to transparency. A seventh candidate, Kristy Grau, is running as an independent.
This is a strong and committed group of candidates and the challenge for voters will be to limit their choices to just three.
Hettich is the most impressive. He has a strong financial background, a strong understanding of the issues and has been active in the community for more than a decade, including stints on the planning and zoning commission and the Ogden Avenue Corridor Commission. Hettich is endorsed.
Carballo is an attorney who served on the park district board before joining the village board in 2013. He has a strong background of community service and a strong knowledge of issues facing the board. Carballo is endorsed.
Grau is a longtime substitute teacher and a member of Lisle's Floodplain Information Program Committee and regularly attends village board meetings. Her independence is a major plus as is her desire to make data-driven decisions. Both give her a slight edge over McGovern, who is energetic but not as prone to asking tough questions. Grau is endorsed.