Should DuPage Reps Hold Multiple Offices? Voters Say No, but Mayor Says He Will

The Burr Ridge mayor who had a narrow unofficial victory Tuesday night in his District 3 DuPage County Board race said he still wants to hold both offices simultaneously.

Gary Grasso said he does not plan on stepping down as Burr Ridge's mayor if his DuPage County Board victory Tuesday night becomes official, even after DuPage voters overwhelmingly supported an advisory referendum on the ballot discouraging politicians from holding multiple elected offices at the same time.

"If the results hold, I intend to hold both offices," Grasso said Wednesday morning.

At the end of the night Tuesday, Grasso held an 11-vote lead over Sharon E. Bryant (33,286 votes to 33,275) for the last of three District 3 spots on the DuPage County Board. The father of six, according to the Daily Herald's candidate profile, said he's been told it might be two weeks before all provisional ballots are counted and a result is official.

"Thank God I have so many children because it seems like that's going to be the margin of victory," he said.

On the same ballot as Grasso was an advisory referendum asking DuPage voters if state law should allow for one person to hold multiple elected offices at the same time. 

Of the 369,228 voters who voted on the referendum Tuesday, 90.1 percent supported it, meaning they believe someone should not be able to hold multiple offices simultaneously, and 9.9 percent did not. 

Grasso said he interpreted the referendum result not as a reflection of opinion on his situation, but as a reflection of voter discontent with higher-level state officials like General Assembly members drawing multiple pensions for holding multiple offices. 

"I don't believe that a part-time legislator should be getting a public pension for doing a part-time job," Grasso said. "I believe the referendum should be the start of that discussion." 

Grasso makes $6,000 per year as the mayor of Burr Ridge, village administrator Steve Stricker said, but receives no pension or benefits of any kind. 

As a DuPage County Board member, he would make around $50,000 per year according to this Daily Herald story from last spring, and Grasso said he would be eligible for health benefits and a pension.

"I'm not going to be looking for that," he said of the benefits.

Grasso's term as mayor is up in April 2013. He said he plans on running for re-election.

In a similar situation, Elmhurst Mayor Peter DiCianni won a spot Tuesday night on the county board in District 2, and has said he will step down as mayor.

Want more election coverage? Read more results on Darien Patch and Woodridge Patch

Beth Lopez November 09, 2012 at 03:15 PM
Joe, can you clarify how it would even be possible for this gentleman to hold two offices if there was a referendum on the ballot that passed which states he cannot. It doesn't seem like he has this option.
Barry Allen November 09, 2012 at 04:05 PM
Beth, The referendum was an "advisory" referendum. Its' point was just to gather public opinion and is not binding on anyone. However, it takes quite an ego for Mr Grasso to believe that the referendum was not a referendum of opinion on his situation. The referendum was EXACTLY because of his situation. Whether or not he collects multiple salaries, or zero, one or two benefit packages the position will constantly place him in the position of making decisions where the country and Burr Ridge are in conflict. There is no way he can be objective when he serves constituencies that have conflicting needs. If Mr. Grasso persists in believing the way he does we can only hope that there are enough ballots remaining to be counted to change the current result.
Beth Lopez November 09, 2012 at 04:28 PM
Thanks for the clarification Barry!


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