Christopher Zaruba recommended for vacant Wheaton City Council seat
An attorney who won the Republican nomination for a DuPage County Board seat but lost in the November election has been recommended for a vacant position on the Wheaton City Council.
Christopher Zaruba has emerged as the top finalist for the 2-year council seat representing the city's North District. The position became vacant last month when Phil Suess was sworn in as Wheaton's first new mayor in 12 years.
Council members will meet to consider Zaruba's appointment July 1. If appointed, Zaruba will serve until May 2021.
A former felony prosecutor in the DuPage County state's attorney's office, Zaruba now practices family law at a Wheaton firm. Zaruba, who's also a Milton Township Republican committeeman, finished third in the four-way race for two county board seats in the November election.
Though there are two other attorneys on the city council, Zaruba said he would bring a unique perspective with his background in law enforcement and could lend input as towns consider whether to allow retail shops to sell recreational marijuana under a new state law or to opt out and prohibit sales.
Zaruba said the issue should be discussed not only among council members but also with residents. Also on the horizon are conversations about a zoning study of the East Roosevelt Road corridor and work to implement a five-year capital improvement plan, Zaruba said.
He is a lifelong resident of Wheaton and the son of former DuPage County Sheriff John Zaruba, who retired last year after more than 20 years in office. He graduated from Wheaton Warrenville South High School in 2002.
Given the high interest in the council position, Zaruba said he's honored and humbled to be selected for consideration.
The council reviewed 13 applicants for the vacant spot, at-large Councilwoman Erica Bray-Parker said. It was a "very difficult decision" to narrow the field of highly qualified candidates, but she supports Zaruba's appointment.
He will bring legal expertise to the role and a personal appreciation for the city, she said.
"I anticipate a unanimous vote on July 1," Bray-Parker said.
She also encouraged the other applicants to "jump on board and apply" for city commission positions.
Four council members represent the city's four voting districts, while two members and the mayor are elected at-large. The North District includes properties north of the railroad tracks that bisect downtown Wheaton.