Lombard village president candidates stress leadership - chicagotribune.com
As Lombard voters prepare to choose a new village president in April, all three candidates say the main issue is leadership, and all say they are running to end factional infighting.
The candidates are District 2 Trustee Keith Giagnorio, former York Township Trustee Moon Khan and John Lotus Novak, who retired in 2006 after 30 years as DuPage County treasurer.
All three say they want to bring unity to the Village Board, which split into two factions after William "Bill" Mueller died in August. He had served 19 years as president.
Khan was referring to the infighting that stretched over several board meetings last fall as the six trustees broke into two camps of three each, with Giagnorio, Greg Gron and Bill Ware squaring off against Peter Breen, Laura Fitzpatrick and Zachary Wilson.
The sides finally compromised in October, agreeing to split the rest of Mueller's term between Breen and Ware. Giagnorio, who had already announced his candidacy for president, took himself out of the running for the interim job.
"The top priority is to start mending those fences," Giagnorio said. "In the last few weeks, I've definitely seen some thawing on both sides."
Giagnorio, 51, has had a business in town for 18 years, Gianorio's Pizza and Pasta. He said as a business owner, he's concerned with keeping a close watch on the village's budget.
But for Giagnorio, that does not mean micromanaging village spending.
"We have oversight in place," he said. "I believe you hire people, you trust them, then let them do their jobs. I don't like the idea of picking apart every department's budget."
Khan said beyond healing the board rift, he hopes to bring more diversity to Lombard.
"Lombard has about a 30 percent nonwhite population," Khan said. "There's nobody from the Asian, Hispanic or black community on the board. We should have people from all parties, faiths and heritages. That should reflect the village."
Khan, 57, has lived in the village for 12 years. He works in information technology for a private company.
For lifetime Lombard resident Novak, the issue is simply leadership.
"Everything (the village needs) is in place except leadership," said Novak, 71. "And that's what I can provide."
Novak called Lombard a mature community with solid staff members. He said he opposes privatizing public safety functions.
Beyond that, he said he is concerned about "the Westin Hotel situation." He said he believes bond payments on the project are covered through 2015 but is unsure what happens after that.
"My understanding is it would not come back to taxpayers, but I want to make sure of that," Novak said.
The three are expected to take part in a candidates forum March 20 during a luncheon sponsored by the Lombard Area Chamber of Commerce and Industry at Harry Caray's Italian Steakhouse, 70 Yorktown Shopping Center.
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