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Riverside trustee race coming into focus

Incumbents bowing out; three, possibly four will contend for open seats

December 4th, 2018 12:56 PM

By Bob Uphues

Editor

When all the votes are cast next spring, Riverside residents may have three new trustees sitting at the village board table.

Incumbents Joseph Ballerine and Michael Sedivy have confirmed they won't be running for re-election. Meanwhile, Trustee Scott Lumsden, with just a week remaining before the filing period begins, says he's still undecided.

Candidates for trustee can begin filing nominating petitions starting Dec. 10, through Dec. 17.

In an email, Lumsden said he is torn between the pull of personal family and job responsibilities and his belief that his technical knowledge, particularly in relation to infrastructure, can help the village.

"Reliability in government and continuity in leadership are both important for our village, but so are term limits to allow fresh ideas and getting more residents involved," Lumsden wrote. "Technical competence is equally important if not more important currently, especially as it comes to helping residents, commissioners, as well as fellow board members, in understanding construction- and infrastructure-related issues."  

Lumsden said he will make his decision in the next week.

In October, Cristin Evans announced she was running for trustee, and shortly after that created an official campaign committee with the Illinois Board of Elections. While no other political committees have formed, some other candidates have surfaced.

The Landmark has learned that in addition to Evans, at least two other candidates, and possibly a third, plan to file nominating petition in the next two weeks.

One is Alex Gallegos, a lifelong Riverside resident and financial planner who ran unsuccessfully in 2009 as an independent candidate for trustee. The other is Edward Hannon, an attorney who specializes in tax and business law.

A third candidate, a woman who is also an attorney and works for the federal government, is said to be planning a run for trustee. The Landmark was unable to confirm that by press time on Tuesday.

Since his last run for office, Gallegos has remained very active in Riverside as a member of the Riverside Economic Development Commission and as the Chamber of Commerce's liaison to the village board. 

He also has been named to the committee planning the 150th anniversary of the creation of Riverside's General Plan and is also immediate past president of the Riverside Township Lions Club.

"I'm always willing to work with anybody," said Gallegos. "Compromise and cooperation are going to be the key."

Gallegos said that sense of compromise was reinforced by his first run for office a decade ago, when he was a lone independent facing off against two full slates of three candidates each. Gallegos finished seventh.

"That election reinforced that you have to learn to work with others that don't agree with you," Gallegos said.

That election ushered in a new majority that hadn't been endorsed by the Riverside Community Caucus. The winners of the 2009 election served for just one term, choosing not to run for re-election in 2013.

A slate of Caucus-endorsed candidates, headed by current Village President Ben Sells, ran unopposed in 2011. Ballerine was elected trustee that year and was re-elected in 2015.

Last week, Ballerine confirmed that he would not seek a third term as trustee as long as at least three people were filing to run in 2019.

"I just don't think it's right. It's best to sit back," said Ballerine, who also served as trustee for two years in the 1990s and spent more than a decade as a member and chairman of the Riverside Playgrounds and Recreation Board.

Hannon was appointed to the Riverside Planning and Zoning Commission in August 2017. Sedivy is the village board's liaison to that commission and says he is supporting Hannon's bid.

"I feel strongly that a candidate have experience in village government and a strong track record of community service," Sedivy wrote to the Landmark in an email. "Ed demonstrates both qualities while bringing exceptional legal and financial skills to the table."

Sedivy, who served on the Planning and Zoning Commission and on an ad hoc long-range finance committee prior to running for trustee four years ago, said "personal circumstances" have forced him to the sidelines for now. He added, however, that he may run again in 2021 should those circumstances change.

A Riverside resident since 1999, Hannon formerly served on the board of the Riverside Swim Club and was chairman of the Illinois CPA Society. He is a partner at the Chicago law firm Quarles and Brady and serves as an adjunct professor at DePaul University's School of Business.

"I've seen the evolution of Riverside," said Hannon. "It's a fascinating time in the village, embracing its location and becoming a friendly environment to fine dining options and hopefully others in the future.

"I want to make sure Riverside remains a vibrant place to live."

Contact:
Email: buphues@wjinc.com Twitter: @RBLandmark