Contested trustee election on horizon in Elk Grove Village
Longtime Elk Grove Village Trustee James Petri's retirement announcement -- and the open seat he leaves on the board -- will lead to a contested election in the village next spring.
Former Police Chief Stephen Schmidt, who retired in 2016 after 41 years with the department, announced this week his intentions to run. Scott Saxe, a businessman and member of the village's youth committee, is another first-time candidate who declared his candidacy this month.
They're both getting signatures to join Nancy Czarnik, a 29-year incumbent, and Sam Lissner, a 23-year incumbent, on the April 2 ballot. Three positions will be up for election, each for a 4-year term.
It's the first time in 22 years Elk Grove will have an open seat on the elected panel, known for its streak of continuity in the suburbs. While there have been newcomers who have sought election to the board, voters have consistently sent back the incumbents.
After Petri, the longest-serving elected official in Elk Grove history at 40 years, announced last month his decision not to seek re-election, both Schmidt and Saxe said they began to ponder a run for the board. Both added they wouldn't have entered the race had all three incumbents decided to run again.
"I'm not here to take anybody out of a position," said Schmidt, who praised the current board for its professionalism and making decisions in the best interest of the village.
Schmidt, who spent 17 years as chief and is currently president of the Elk Grove Village Italian Sister Cities program, said he worked with board members on many issues in the past and wants to bring his experience to the elected position.
Saxe, who runs his own business and nonprofit consulting firms, concurred that the board is doing a good job but said he would provide "a new lens and a new set of eyes." Saxe has served on a number of nonprofit boards and is currently chairman of the Illinois advocacy committee for the American Heart Association. He successfully lobbied the Elk Grove board last year to pass an ordinance raising the age to buy tobacco from 18 to 21.