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Analysis: Who Would Be St. Charles Mayor?

Even as Election 2012 draws toward a conclusion, St. Charles residents face choices closer to home in a about seven more months.

Mayor Donald DeWitte’s announcement this week that he will not seek a third term begs the question: In the coming months, who will line up to put their names on the ballot with hopes of becoming the new mayor of St. Charles?

National attention is focused on the General Election in November, but it’s been a long campaign season, and many are eager for its end. Still, the April 2013 municipal election is virtually around the corner, even though it is about eight months away, and DeWitte’s absence already is creating its own dynamic, one that could have a profound impact on the races for other municipal posts.

The advantages of running for mayor now are clear: Whoever runs will be on fairly equal footing with their opponents in at least one respect: None will have a track record as the incumbent. That can be a significant advantage, even when the incumbent has accomplished little to done nothing more thank keep a low profile over the prior four years.

Minus that, each candidate will have to pitch him/herself to voters relying on such factors as name recognition, professional skills, background — and conceivably the track record of a sitting alderman, for example.

So the question, “Who would be St. Charles mayor?” has the capability of shaking up other municipal races, as well. The April 2013 election will determine not only the next mayor, but also who will sit in five of the city’s 10 aldermanic seats and who will become city clerk and city treasurer for the next four years. Should any incumbents in any of those races decide not to seek re-election — or decide to run instead for mayor, for example, the dynamics of the election season could shift significantly.

That also has broader implications in terms of the future City Council, which saw two new members elected in the spring of 2011. Any change in membership shifts the council’s chemistry as its members try to strike a balance between the fervor and zeal of the newly elected members with the wisdom and experience of their more established counterparts. For example, 4th Ward Alderman Jim Martin has served on the council more than 33 years, 4th Ward Alderwoman Jo Krieger has served more than 19 years, and 1st Ward Alderman Dan Stellato has served more than 17 years. That represents a combined 69 years of experience.

Mixing the old and new members can be a volatile period and takes time and discipline to settle into a more cohesive, ideally collaborative group.

For now, questions about aldermanic interest in the mayor’s post appear largely unanswered. Patch emailed City Council members questions about their intent Friday afternoon, after the mayor’s announcement. Only four of the city’s 10 alderman had responded by Friday night. None indicated a willingness to run for mayor.

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Henry James September 01, 2012 at 01:48 PM
Ted I don't know who will run for mayor, but I will say this, it had better be someone who will serve not for their ego but because they want to do what is best for this community. Someone who will listen to the people, be open with the Council, not control the staff to the point they are afraid. This person needs to promote transparency, be willing to do want is right for the residents of this City now what is best for them. Not sure who that person is, but I sure hope someone like that stands up and throws their hat in the ring. I once heard someone say a good politican will jump at the chance to get elected to any office, but a great leader will be reluctant to run for office but will do so because they are confident to know they can make a difference but know it will not be an easy job and it is not about them it is about those who they represent. That is the type of Mayor I hope we find.
Steve Swanson September 02, 2012 at 04:34 AM
I think our next Mayor is going to be a relative outsider in that he or she will probably not come from the ranks of the City Council as has so often happened in the past. No one on the City Council has shown the type of vision and leadership that is requisite for taking St. Charles forward into the future, especially with some of the issues that will be confronted during the next four years.
Ali March 04, 2013 at 07:10 PM
I called the mayor"s office a couple months ago to ask a question about a license. The secretary was very short and somewhat rude. She basically said no you can't do this in this town and the mayor will say no too. I said well can you at least ask the mayor. She didn't like that but did. Called me back and said no again. I hope the next mayor will open to new things. Hopefully the secretary will be fired too. Enough with the old tired politicians and staff and in with the new. St. Charles is struggling especially the east side. We need someone who cares and has a new vision. It's getting depressing here. Is there anyone under 60 years old running?
Ted Schnell (Editor) March 04, 2013 at 08:45 PM
What kind of license?
Ali March 04, 2013 at 09:31 PM
I want to open a luxury spa and serve cocktails. She said only restaurants and bars can get a liquor lisence in St. Charles. I then explained that most spas, salons, nail salons in the area give their clients alcohol illegally without any license or charge more for a service and include a cocktail to make money and then cheat the licensing. It seemed like I was wasting her time and could care less. I just wanted to do everything legal and professional but I guess I can do it behind their back like everyone else because they don't seem to care.
Ted Schnell (Editor) March 04, 2013 at 11:48 PM
It's entirely possible St. Charles has no such license -- in fact, I think Elgin just created one in 2011 specifically because of a request such as yours.

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