DuPage County Board poised for substantial turnover
Updated: December 3, 2012 11:51AM
WHEATON — More than a decade and a half has lapsed since the DuPage County Board saw a personnel change on the scale that will take place next week.
Meeting for a final time Tuesday morning, the current board bade farewell to eight of its own.
Of the 18 representatives set to be sworn in Monday evening, 10 are incumbents who won new terms on Election Day. The eight newcomers include four women — the outgoing board has just one female member — and two Democrats. Those stepping down include two Democrats who unsuccessfully sought re-election on Nov. 6, Rita Gonzalez of District 1 and Dirk Enger of District 6.
The outgoing board members represent a collective 60 years as county officeholders. The longest-serving among them, Lombard Republican Pat O’Shea, will end more than two decades on the board when he steps down to take a seat on the 18th Judicial Circuit Court bench next week.
Also bowing out is John Zediker of Naperville, who came up short in his bid for a second elected term in District 5. The seat now will be filled by Tonia Khouri, an Aurora Republican.
Noting that he had the opportunity to serve under both Bob Schillerstrom, the Naperville resident who until two years ago was long-standing chairman of the board, and current Chairman Dan Cronin, Zediker said he was pleased to have had a role in bolstering the county’s fiscal prudence during a period of monetary strain for public bodies.
“We cut $51 million from the budget over the past four years, without cuts in programs and services,” he said.
Although Zediker pulled papers needed to file for candidacy in the spring Naperville City Council election, the former head of the city’s transportation, engineering and development business group almost immediately stepped out of the ring, saying “multiple doors” had opened in the wake of his county electoral setback. He said a new opportunity had presented itself, also beginning early next year, that could put him back into an active role in local civic life, but he declined to elaborate further.
Leaving the county office is nonetheless bittersweet for Zediker.
“How lucky I am to have been a part of something that makes it so difficult to say good-bye,” he said.
Also on the order of business Tuesday was a lottery that determined which of the board members will serve two years and who along them have a full four years in office. The random drawing takes place every decade, after the mandated redistricting that follows the decennial U.S. Census. For District 5, which includes east Aurora and nearly all of Naperville, Khouri drew the two-year term. Also in line for the shorter tenures for districts that serve corners of far eastern Naperville are Pete DiCianni of Elmhurst, who is leaving the mayoral office to represent District 2; and John Curran of Downers Grove, current County Board vice chairman, who has been a District 3 representative since 2008.
Two-term District 2 board member Jeff Redick, who opted against a new term after he was named to the Illinois Tollway board earlier this year, accompanied his exit with a lighthearted Power Point presentation he titled “DuPage County Board: The Movie,” and speculated on who could play whom in the mythical film. Longtime Naperville board member Jim Healy could be played by Paul Giamatti, Redick suggested, while Randy Quaid could portray Zediker.
Redick’s humor lifted the mood on the farewells, and he was circumspect about the ever-changing configuration of DuPage officials.
“This is just one act of the movie,” he said. “There’s much more to come.”