Challengers take on longtime mayors in DuPage, Kane counties

Mayoral races got off to a quick start Monday in DuPage and Kane counties, with candidates stepping forward to challenge the entrenched incumbents in Carol Stream and Wayne.

The filing period for seats on city councils, school boards, park boards and library boards continues through Dec. 19. That process will set the ballot for the April election. Here's an early look at some of the mayoral hopefuls.

Carol Stream

In Carol Stream, established incumbent Frank Saverino is set to face a familiar opponent. Trustee Rick Gieser filed his nominating petitions Monday to challenge Saverino in a rematch of their 2011 mayoral contest.

Saverino got his start in local politics as a trustee for the Carol Stream Fire Protection District. Saverino was first elected mayor in 2007, replacing Ross Ferraro, who held the top post for 20 years.

"I've given half of my life to Carol Stream," Saverino, 78, said.

Saverino insists this will be his last campaign as mayor - "that's for sure." He decided to run again because he feels the village is in a good place and he hopes to continue that trajectory. He also cited the fact that several senior staff members in the village government have reached retirement age.

"The thought of a new mayor, and maybe three new department heads, would be pretty tough. That'd be too much change at one time," Saverino said.

Saverino is known for his pull-no-punches style. He has sought to serve as the village's cheerleader at community and charitable events.

"I think we're at a good point with Carol Stream," said Saverino, who founded a food brokerage business based in the village's industrial park. "It was kind of a mutual effort from everybody on the board to get where we are, and I'd just like to see if we can stay there."

Gieser, who grew up in Carol Stream, won his first trustee term in 2003. He is looking to increase the flow of information between the village and its residents. Gieser, 58, is the public relations director for Zanies Comedy Club.

"We just have different priorities," Gieser said. "I think, with my experience, I'd like us to improve our communications with the residents a little more."

Gieser said he would push for more environmental initiatives. He wants to see a recreational marijuana dispensary set up shop in town to generate new tax revenue. He'd also ensure Carol Stream is a "welcoming place for all residents."

"I think it's time for me to run because I'm experienced," Gieser said.

In their last matchup, Saverino defeated Gieser by 422 votes. Gieser, at the time, gave up his position on the village board to run against Saverino but returned two years later. This time, Gieser can still keep his trustee seat if Saverino prevails again.

"Either way, he probably feels that he's got nothing to lose if he runs and tests the water," Saverino said. "But it won't be me he runs against the next time. It'll be either somebody else on the board or somebody else that will step up."

Oak Brook

Oak Brook is guaranteed a new municipal leader.

Gopal Lalmalani decided not to seek an "unprecedented fourth term" as village president to spend more time with family. He expects a contested village president's race now that he has bowed out.

"We've turned the village around in the last 12 years," Lalmalani said. "We've brought financial and economic stability and gotten things done."

Oak Brook's distinction as one of the few suburbs without a municipal property tax has been a point of pride during Lalmalani's tenure. The village instead relies on sales tax revenues from a retail hub anchored by Oakbrook Center.

"Our residents are not interested in taxation, and we have kept our expenses under control," Lalmalani said.

So far, at least one candidate - sitting Trustee Asif Yusuf - has filed to run for village president.

Lalmalani said he plans to make an endorsement "when the time comes."


Wayne Village President Eileen Phipps will have to fend off at least one opponent next April. Peter Mourousias filed his nominating petitions Monday to run against Phipps.

Few suburban mayors can match her longevity in office. Phipps was first elected in 1995.


The election filing period ended last month in several other towns.

After Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico announced in July he wouldn't be seeking a third term, three candidates filed paperwork to run in the upcoming election.

While councilman Benny White and liquor commission member Scott Wehrli are on the ballot, an objection was filed to the candidacy of Tiffany Stephens, founder of a local nonprofit organization, questioning her residency.

The city's election board, consisting of Chirico, Councilman Paul Hinterlong and City Clerk Pam Gallahue, will rule on the objection in a hearing at 10 a.m. Friday.

In Elgin, David Kaptain is seeking a fourth term as mayor of Illinois' sixth-largest city. He will be opposed by council member Corey Dixon, who would be the city's first Black mayor.

Campton Hills Village President Mike Tyrrell is being challenged by former Kane County Board member Barb Wojnicki.

Rolling Meadows mayor not running: Candidate filing begins for most municipal races, plus school, park and library boards

Rick Gieser
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