Newly elected DuPage County Board gets down to work
Updated: December 17, 2012 10:13AM
The DuPage County Board launched a new era Tuesday, when nearly half of its members reported for their first regular business meeting.
“It’s fun and exciting with new faces here,” Chairman Dan Cronin said.
The eight board newcomers include Liz Chaplin of Downers Grove and Pete DiCianni and Sean Noonan, both from Elmhurst. The three represent District 2, which covers parts of Oak Brook, Oakbrook Terrace, Clarendon Hills and Hinsdale.
Another new member is Gary Grasso of Burr Ridge who represents District 3, which includes Burr Ridge and parts of Hinsdale and Clarendon Hills. Grasso stepped down Monday as mayor of Burr Ridge, a position he held for two terms, so he said he could devote his full attention to the county board.
Other new board members are Amy Grant, Tonia Khouri, Laurie Nowak and Sam Tornatore.
All of the county’s six districts had their boundary lines redrawn last year, as is required after the decennial U.S. Census.
The meeting also brought unanimous approval from the board for new committee assignments and chairmanships proposed by Cronin. Jim Healy of Naperville remains at the head of the Public Works Committee, but Tony Michelassi of Aurora was replaced as Development Committee chairman by Sam Tornatore, who represents District 1. Khouri of Aurora was named chairwoman of the Economic Development Committee, while Noonan will now lead the Intergovernmental Committee and Grasso will head the Community Development Committee. Chaplin is the new chairwoman of the Public Transit Committee; Michelassi is its vice chairman.
Just one of the 14 committees has a Democrat, Chaplin, at the helm. Two of the dozen vice chairmanships went to Democrats, Nowak and Michelassi. The community development and intergovernmental committees have no vice chairman positions.
Although the party ratio on the board remains unchanged from the last term, at 15 Republicans and three Democrats, several of the races were unusually close. Republican Grasso, who edged out Bolingbrook Democrat Sharon Bryant by just 21 votes, said the election demonstrated that the GOP no longer has a lock on the board.
“DuPage County is certainly not as Republican as a lot of us Republicans believe,” he said.
Cronin, who until last spring chaired the DuPage County Republican Party, welcomed the collection of fresh faces.
“I think we’re all embracing this mixture of new and those who are not so new,” he said.