Northbrook Caucus candidates prevail in village president, trustee races

Slate wins village president, trustee races

  • From left, Northbrook Caucus trustee candidates Joy Ebhomielen and Muriel Collison, Village President candidate Kathryn Ciesla and trustee candidate Dan Pepoon stand together during an election night party Tuesday.

      From left, Northbrook Caucus trustee candidates Joy Ebhomielen and Muriel Collison, Village President candidate Kathryn Ciesla and trustee candidate Dan Pepoon stand together during an election night party Tuesday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Northbrook Caucus candidate for Village President Kathryn Ciesla, right, views early returns with Tracy Katz Muhl during an election night party Tuesday.

      Northbrook Caucus candidate for Village President Kathryn Ciesla, right, views early returns with Tracy Katz Muhl during an election night party Tuesday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Northbrook Caucus candidate for Village President Kathryn Ciesla awaits election results during an election night party Tuesday.

      Northbrook Caucus candidate for Village President Kathryn Ciesla awaits election results during an election night party Tuesday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Northbrook Caucus candidate for Village President Kathryn Ciesla awaits election results during an election night party Tuesday.

      Northbrook Caucus candidate for Village President Kathryn Ciesla awaits election results during an election night party Tuesday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Kathryn Ciesla

    Kathryn Ciesla

  • Muriel Collison

    Muriel Collison

  • Joy Ebhomielen

    Joy Ebhomielen

  • Daniel Pepoon

    Daniel Pepoon

 
 
Updated 4/7/2021 8:10 PM

Despite a contentious campaign, the vast majority of voters in Northbrook like things just the way they are.

Northbrook attorney Kathryn Ciesla, a three-term village board trustee and the established Northbrook Caucus nominee for village president, won convincingly Tuesday over former village president Gene Marks.

 

With all 30 precincts reporting, Ciesla had earned 4,263 votes, or 63.31 percent of the ballots, to Marks' 2,471 votes, or 36.69 percent, unofficial totals show.

"I'm just as happy as can be," Ciesla said.

"I'm really excited to continue the great work that we've been doing. There's some work to unify our community, but what we have in common is our core values of family, education and faith, and I think that we're in a great position to continue to move forward," she said.

If not a mandate by Northbrook voters, it was a strong indication that they approved of the job done by senior trustee Ciesla and by retiring Village President Sandy Frum, who in 2009 succeeded Marks' first 4-year term as president.

"Sandy Frum has been a mentor and a friend, and I'm honored to take the baton from her and move forward," Ciesla said.

As well, Northbrook Caucus running mates and incumbent trustees Muriel Collison and Dan Pepoon gained reelection for second terms, the unofficial results showed. Fellow Caucus candidate Joy Ebhomielen looks to have joined them as a first-time trustee. Each of the Caucus trustee candidates pulled at least 21.04% of the vote.

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The campaign for the Northbrook presidency was contentious. Though listed on the ballot as independents, Marks headed the United4Northbrook slate that included trustee candidates Robert Burns, Christopher Lay and Ana Mendez McGuinnes. Marks, in sales for security equipment manufacturers, was seeking a second term as Northbrook president more than a decade after his prior 4-year term from 2005-09.

United4Northbrook and its supporters were aggressive in their criticism of the status quo under Frum and, by extension, Ciesla as a veteran trustee and potential successor.

Presenting a development-friendly attitude through social media posts, articles and in advertising, Marks and United4Northbrook decried several of the current board's positions and actions.

Central to the party's opinions were that the board was intent on defunding the Northbrook Police Department, that it had no plan for the Grainger property it purchased in 2018, that it had been slow to work with developers on the sprawling former Green Acres Golf Club, and a Northbrook Court shopping mall redevelopment plan was in disarray.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Marks didn't respond to requests for comment Wednesday.

For its part, the Northbrook Caucus candidates were mainly content to respond to criticism as opposed to taking the offensive.

There were exceptions, such as when United4Northbrook's financial disclosures with the Illinois State Board of Elections showed the bulk of $38,500 campaign donations of $1,000 or more came from real estate or development interests. Most were from outside of Northbrook and several had ties to the Green Acres site, 916 Dundee Road.

On Tuesday night it seemed voters settled the argument in favor of the Northbrook Caucus.

"I'm really excited to serve with Joy and continue to serve with Muriel, Dan, (and incumbent trustees) Jojo (Hebl), Heather (Ross) and Bob (Israel)," Ciesla said.

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