Endorsements: Galante, Muenz and Pietryla for St. Charles City Council
Voters in St. Charles can count themselves lucky that no matter what combination of city council members emerges after the polls close on April 4, they will find a team of talented, dedicated and energetic individuals on the leadership team.
That's important, for although St. Charles is a mature and stable city with an enviable financial position, it also faces some transformative development decisions. The Charlestowne Mall has long presented complex challenges. The city faces a variety of options for development of the former police station property. And the eastern entrance to the city, starting with cleanup and regeneration following the collapse and fire at the Pheasant Run Resort, will demand serious and constant attention.
Seven candidates are seeking positions in contests for three open ward seats on the council, and every one brings a background of accomplishment, a deep love of the community, a thoroughly considered vision for its future and uniquely valuable skills. They cannot all be elected, unfortunately. Here is how we recommend making the selection:
Ward 1: Galante
In professional background, the three newcomers seek the First Ward seat represent a wide range of options -- an executive with a company that provides products and services for industries ranging from semiconductors to product packaging (Tom Galante); a teacher and coach with 23 years experience (Mark M. Foulkes); and a scientist working for a global company focused on both climate-sustainable resources and health issues (Jessica Bridges). We lean toward Galante for his deeper business background and direct experience with the city serving on the Natural Resources Commission.
Ward 2: Muenz
Arthur Lemke, an internal auditor for the Illinois Tollway, served on the City Council for 20 years before losing his seat in the 2021 elections. In a return bid, he brings an obvious wealth of experience in civic issues and engaging ideas on topics from managing city affairs to the details of the serious development issues the council will be dealing with in coming years. But Jayme Muenz, a human resources professional, comes to council business with fresh eyes and an impressively deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities awaiting the city. She may be new, but she's prepared, eager and dedicated.
Ward 4: Pietryla
David Pietryla, a government affairs manager for Comcast, is defending a seat he won in 2019. Challenger Laurel Moad brings valuable experience on the city Plan Commission as well as from her background as a senior consultant and executive coach. She is a formidable candidate, intimately conversant, as all the candidates are, on the issues facing the city, with engaging ideas for addressing them. A first term is in many ways a learning experience for any board member. Pietryla has served thoughtfully and diligently, and he's well prepared to build on what he has seen and done so far.