Some critics depict township government as a political backwater where party elites collect taxpayer-funded salaries and pad payrolls with patronage positions. During this year’s pandemic, townships have emerged as a safety net of last resort as surging demand tests limits of food pantries and other essential services.
Township maintain roads in unincorporated areas, assist senior citizens and provide other services. Many township officials also hold other public offices and party leadership posts. Elections every four years are the best chance for citizens to hold their elected representatives accountable.
Monday was the deadline for candidates to file nominating petitions for the April 6 election, which also will decide contests for many mayor or village president positions, alderman or village trustee seats, school board posts and other offices.
Protesters have been calling for change in Palos Township for nearly four years. Incumbent Supervisor Colleen Grant Schumann heads a Palos Independent Party slate that includes incumbents Jane Nolan for clerk, Robert Maloney for assessor, Gene Adams for highway commissioner and Pamela Jeanes, Richard Riley and Brent Woods for trustee. Newcomer Tasneem Abuzir joins them for trustee. Maloney is Democratic committeeman for Palos Township.
Sharon Brannigan, a trustee and subject of protests, filed as a Republican for assessor. Mervate Mohammad, a Hickory Hills attorney, filed for trustee and Tammy Georgiou filed for clerk, both as independents. Michael S. McHugh filed as an independent for highway commissioner.
Mohammad and Georgiou have shared posts on social media about fundraising and other activities and brand themselves as reformers who want to increase transparency and accountability in township government.
In Orland Township, incumbent Supervisor Paul O’Grady heads an Orland Township Together Party slate that includes incumbents Cindy Murray for clerk, Rich Kelly for assessor and Patrick Feldner, John Lynch and Maria Sanfilippo for trustee. The slate includes newcomers Michael Maratea for trustee and Antonio Rubino for highway commissioner.
Supervisor candidate Scott Kaspar heads a partial Orland Residents for Concerned Government slate that features Andrea Bowles, William Keefer, Lora Kreczmer and Joseph J. Solek for trustee. Brian H. Younker, incumbent highway commissioner, filed as a member of the Orland Township Freedom Party.
In Will County, a legal fight in Homer Township over control of road district assets provides context for a dynamic political struggle.
Incumbents filing as independents are Pam Meyers for supervisor, Kathleen Kruczek for clerk, Karen Szynkowski for assessor and Ed Kalas and Tom Fijan for trustee. Newcomers filing as independents were John Ash for road commissioner, Ken Marcin and Sharon Sweas for trustee and Quinn Polaski for collector.
Will County Board member Steven J. Balich filed for supervisor as head of a Republican slate that includes Vicki Bozen for clerk, Carmen Maurella for assessor, Brent Porfilio for road commissioner, Mark Gawron for collector and Matthew Connelly, Rob Rivera, Angela Adolf and Michael Bonomo for trustee.
Trustees John Kruczek and George Offord did not seek reelection. Incumbent road commissioner Mike DeVivo filed a declaration of intent to seek another term as a write-in candidate, the township clerk’s office said.
Bloom Township Democratic Party committeeman Lori Wilcox is challenging incumbent T.J. Somer for supervisor. Wilcox is Chicago Heights city clerk and Somer is city attorney. Somer and others recently tried to block Wilcox from holding caucuses for party nominations, but a judge dismissed their lawsuit.
Somer heads a Keep Bloom Strong slate that includes incumbent Carla Mathews for clerk, Nora Gomez for assessor and Joseph Patrick Stanfa for highway commissioner. Incumbent Michael Noonan is joined by newcomers Cheryl L. Franklin, Jacquelene Stewart and Don Garcia for trustee seats.
Lisa Aprati recently resigned as clerk and Mathews, who was a trustee, was appointed to fill the vacancy. Trustees Laratta Adams and Kevin Watson did not seek reelection.
Wilcox heads a Democratic slate that includes Kelly Nichols for clerk, Francisco Perez for highway commissioner and Larecia Tucker for assessor. Democratic trustee candidates are Robert Benevides, Ricardo Leon Jr., Leonard Morgan and Leshawn Ridley.
Octavia Altheimer filed as an independent for Bloom Township supervisor.
Three nearly full slates filed in Rich Township. Calvin Jordan, Democratic Party committeeman and highway commissioner, seeks the supervisor job as head of a Rich Township First Party slate that includes Arlene M. “Sugar” Al-Amin for clerk, incumbent Sam Brown for assessor, Dennis White for highway commissioner and incumbents Nick Bobis, Therese Goodrich and Jacquelyn Small and newcomer Steven Roderick Burris for trustee.
Incumbent Supervisor Al Riley, a former state representative, filed for supervisor as head of an Integrity Party of Rich Township slate that includes Audrey Brunson for clerk, Arthur Byrd Jr. for highway commissioner and John T. Laliotes, John Moore, Anthony Richard and Michael C. Williams for trustee.
Eric Wallace of Flossmoor, Republican committeeman who unsuccessfully challenged state Sen. Patrick Joyce, D-Essex, in November heads a Republican slate that includes Rebekah L. Moore for clerk, Jack J. McInerney Jr. for highway commissioner and Leslie Moor, Jennifer L. Wallace and La Vetta D. Williams for three of the four trustee seats.
Clerk Bobbie G. King and Trustee Elliott H. Johnson did not seek reelection.
In Calumet Township, a Democratic caucus nominated party committeeman and state Rep. Bob Rita, D-Blue Island, for another term as supervisor. Independent Charlette Mitchell-Brown is challenging Rita for supervisor.
Rita heads a slate that includes incumbents Louis Peyton for clerk and Rosalind Priest, LaTroy Robinson and Joseph DuPar for trustee. Calumet Township has no highway commissioner. Newcomer Mark W. Potaska is a trustee candidate, while current Trustee Angel Infante filed for assessor. Incumbent Fred Bilotto, a Blue Island alderman who is running for mayor, did not seek another term as assessor.
In Worth Township, Supervisor Eamon J. McMahon filed for clerk, while Patricia Joan Murphy, Democratic Party committeeperson, filed for supervisor as head of an uncontested Community First Party slate.
Incumbents filing were Shaun C. Murphy for assessor, Vicki Moody for highway commissioner and Richard J. Lewandowski and Kelly Sexton-Kelly. Moody is married to Ed Moody, former Cook County Board member and recorder of deeds. Rounding out the slate were trustee candidates Jerry Hurckes and Mychal J. Toscas.
In Bremen Township, uncontested incumbents filing as the Bremen Tax Reduction Party slate were Kathryn Straniero for supervisor, John Lord for clerk, Willie Jones for assessor, John Flaherty for highway commissioner and Carolyn Carter, Mary Catuara and John M. Tatro for trustee. Edward Maggio rounded out the slate as the fourth trustee candidate. Trustee Keith Gomilia did not file for another term.
In Frankfort Township, Will County Board member and incumbent Supervisor Jim Moustis heads a Republican slate that includes incumbents Dave Smith, Laura Miroballi and Nick George for trustee, Joseph N. Kral for assessor, Nella Piccolin for clerk and Bill Carlson for highway commissioner. Collector Gayla Smith is running for trustee, and Jessica Kot filed for collector. Trustee Greg Griffin did not file.
A partial slate of Democratic challengers include Bruce Davis Jr., Michelle Domecki, Barbara J. Dutton and Mary Beth Windberg for trustee, Stephanie Drisko for clerk and H. Ronald Hartman for collector.
Two full slates will face off in Lockport Township. Incumbent Supervisor Ron Alberico heads a Democratic slate that includes Erin Gotts for clerk and incumbents Mary Ann Williamson for assessor and John Batusich for highway commissioner. Collector Sherry Williams and newcomer Scott Pointon joined incumbents Karen Johnson and Dean Morelli as candidates for trustee. Estiver Salamanca filed for collector.
Lockport 3rd Ward Ald. Darren Deskin filed for supervisor as head of a Republican slate that includes Annette Parker for clerk, Jim Louch for highway commissioner, Jessica Cannaday for collector and Tim McNally for assessor. Newcomers Denise Salvino, Ken Beaton and Michael Lewandowski joined incumbent Gregg Bickus as candidates for trustee.
Clerk Denise Mushro Rumchak and Trustee Barb DeLaney did not seek reelection.
In New Lenox Township, Supervisor Michael Hickey did not seek reelection. Cass Wennlund, an attorney, is uncontested for supervisor and heads a Republican slate that includes incumbent Bonnie Luckhart Hernandez for assessor, Ron Sly for highway commissioner and Martin Boban, Katy Hilton and Barbara Kaupas for trustee.
Trustee Dave Medema filed for clerk, Patricia Deiters filed for trustee and Phillip Juarez filed for collector on the Republican slate. Keifer Keigher did not file for another term as collector.
The Democratic slate had no candidates for supervisor or assessor and featured David Maine for highway commissioner, Shelia Corrigan for collector and Michelle DeBella Monbrod, Michelle Fadeley, Laura Kinnan and Alex Vancina for trustee. Maureen Flanagan Broderick filed as an independent for clerk.
Efforts to obtain filing information from Lemont and Thornton townships were unsuccessful.