Endorsement: John Prendiville for mayor of Wheaton
The next mayor of Wheaton will be a man who lives on the city's north side, commutes to Chicago for work, has been a member of the council for at least a dozen years, loves his city and knows the issues it faces inside and out.
There are a great many similarities between John Prendiville and Phil Suess, and neither candidate would be a bad choice for Wheaton voters.
When veteran Mayor Mike Gresk decided against running for re-election, Prendiville announced his candidacy. Suess followed.
Prendiville counts among his supporters two former mayors, current and former council members, park board members and District 200 school board members.
Suess initially bristled at our question about backers, saying "I'm not concerned about endorsements."
He has the support of Carol Stream Mayor Frank Saverino, the wife of Wheaton's current mayor and also his friend Jeannie Ives, the controversial former Wheaton City Council member who ran against Bruce Rauner in the last GOP primary for governor.
If there is a central difference between Suess and Prendiville, it's their differing takes on taxation and spending and how to address a looming revenue issue in town.
Prendiville sees trouble on the horizon, when in 2021 the trend lines of rising expenses and slightly waning revenue are expected to cross. He points to the need to continue funding road and sidewalk repairs and to the need to provide a consistent funding source. He points to a no-tax-increase tax increase as the solution, taking out new loans as loans to fund the library expansion are retired in 2023. Suess emphatically opposes that.
"Wheaton must operate based upon the revenues and reserves it has," he wrote. "We need to prioritize our expenses, reduce costs and avoid raising taxes."
Prendiville impresses us as unflappable, while Suess can get riled up.
If you're looking for someone who is more likely to get along with all of the moving parts in Wheaton, Prendiville is that man. Under Gresk's stewardship, the city is operating smoothly, has a sound financial plan and comparatively minor money issues.
While we appreciate a fiscal conservative, Suess's firm no-tax-increase position might be a bit shortsighted and inflexible given the task at hand. Wheaton residents won't be going into hock anytime soon to pay for street repairs.
Prendiville is endorsed.