The “Vote 1-2-3 for D123” slate running for re-election of the District 123 Board has hit back with its own campaign literature using their combined experience of 41 years and the words of two of their opponents on another slate to appeal to voters.
Theresa Roche, Julie Misner and Jennifer Fortier are the first three candidates on the District 123 ballot and they are facing a challenge from the PCB slate comprised of Beverly Pacetti, Robert Charles Crosby, and John Byrne. The PCB slate had been critical of the incumbent board members noting how much money the school costs taxpayers. Challengers in the Oak Lawn Library race, backed by Tom Phelan, used similar language noting how much money the library receives from taxpayers. Those slates along with a challenger for the Oak Lawn Village Board, Paul Mallo, have been accused of being candidates backed by Mayor Sandra Bury and Tom Phelan, who are seeking to control not only the village but also the library and school districts. In fact, Phelan and Bury have appeared at a rally or on Facebook pages in one case to support Mallo, the PCB slate and the library candidates according to multiple people familiar with the campaigns. Bury publicly endorsed Robert Stokas for District 218 raising more questions about the duo’s intentions regarding control of all local government.
In the latest “Vote 1-2-3 for D123” literature, the incumbents noted that each of the three women have 41 years of volunteer service in District 123. Perhaps causing embarrassment for the Bury/Phelan candidates, the literature also quotes two of the candidates from the PCB slate, John Byrne and Bob Crosby. Byrne is quoted as saying, “I am aware of the great accomplishments of District 123 …The BOE, administration and staff should be commended for all these accomplishments and for maintaining the District’s financial stability.”
Crosby is quoted as saying, “I am proud of the current board and their selflessness.”
On the other hand, Oak Lawn’s Village Board has three districts up for election but only one is contested as Phelan and Bury have once again supported a candidate in an attempt to unseat the board’s only independent, Robert Streit, in the Third District. The race became ugly in the waning days with Paul Mallo using literature designed by Tom Phelan in 2015 and not repackaged in 2019 with misleading claims. Streit has maintained an independent streak that began years ago and continues still today. He has battled Bury and Phelan over developments in residential areas as well as the board’s failure to work with the village’s first responders. Streit was especially critical of the duo’s firing of 100 union emergency dispatchers, and the outsourcing of the contract to a major campaign contributor that he said put the village residents at risk.
District 218 also has a race in its own District 6 where incumbent Robert Stokas is supported by Mayor Sandra Bury and Phelan over Tricia O’Sullivan, who previously was an integral supporter of Bury and Phelan in their elections. That feud may have ripple effects on the next Mayoral and Trustee races in 2021.
In the library, two close friends of Phelan, Patrick O’Donnell and John Sean Kelly, are attempting a takeover of the Library Board. O’Donnell and Kelly, like the school candidates, have also been critical of the amount of money the library receives from taxes. Other candidates in that race are Vernon Zumhagen, Roseann Spoto, and Kimberly Brightmore.
Oak Lawn Community High School has four candidates running for three board seats. The candidates are Matthew Egan, Timothy Burke, Mark Stanislawek, and Siobhan Forde.
Ridgeland District 122 has an uncontested race along with Districts 1 and 5 in the Village of Oak Lawn.
Polls are open from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m.