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Two seeking Oswego's top job : News : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Two seeking Oswego's top job
Incumbent LeClercq expected to make plans known soon

by John Etheredge


Will he run or won't he?

Oswego Village President Brian LeClercq said last Thursday he expects to make his plans public for a possible re-election bid in 2015 within the next few weeks.

LeClercq is in his final year of his second four-year term as village president. He first won election to the office in 2007 by defeating two-term incumbent Craig Weber. Prior to that time, he served a two-year stint on the village board.

LeClercq said he received several calls from village residents urging him to seek a third term after Gail Johnson, a village board member, declared her candidacy for village president last Thursday morning.

The next day, Friday, another board member, Tony Giles, announced his candidacy for village president.

Giles was first elected to the board in 2007. He won a second four-year term on the board in 2011. He has been a teacher in the Oswego School District since 2001. He holds two master's degrees, one in education from DePaul University and the other in counseling from Northern Illinois University.

"I think we need to take our leadership in a bit of a different direction, but still keep the village moving forward with our current initiatives," he said.

Giles said he believes he has learned a lot about village government and its operations over the past seven years.

"I believe I can now take that knowledge and foundation and shift that into leadership community-wide, but, still realizing there are seven people on the (village) board. One president and six trustees and you really need to work well together for the people-I think that is essential," he said.

Giles recalled he made the revitalization of the village's downtown, especially the former Alexander Lumber yard site, a priority of his 2011 campaign for re-election to the board.

Giles said he wants to see the village continue to move forward with current initiatives for the downtown.

The condition of village streets are another concern, Giles said.

"I think we need more funding for our roads and that needs to be addressed in our capital plan," he said.

Giles noted the village managed to maintain its services to residents despite the budget cutting, which took place after the start of the nationwide recession in 2008.

"I know we haven't really cut services when we did our budget adjustments, but I think we need to improve some of our current services-that's not to say anyone is doing a bad job, because they are not," Giles said, adding, "But we may need to look at having more part-time employees, especially in the public works area and some other department to work on some of our services. I would also like to see an uptick in our community events as well."

He said he believes the village also needs to continue to work with other local taxing districts" to keep taxes as low as possible.

Giles said he had been considering running for village president for the past "six or seven months" and decided to enter the race after recently "getting the green light" from his wife and children.

Giles ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for the State Senate from the 49th legislative district in 2012. He described his bid for the senate seat as a "real good learning experience."

Giles said "getting out and talking to people" will be primary goal of his upcoming campaign for village president.

"I really want to hear what people have to say and I always get a lot of great input from people. I think face-to-face is the best way to share information with people," he said.

Johnson has served on the village board since 2011. She hold's a master's degree in communication from Northern Illinois University and is founded Face to Face Communications and Training in 1997.

In her press release, Johnson said, "I believe the time is now to showcase Oswego's distinctive features and create great buzz about this place I'm proud to call my home."

Johnson continued, "The time is now to create a 'living room for our community' right in the heart of Oswego. A place where people can gather to eat, play, shop, and catch-up with one another. This is my vision for our downtown.

"The riverfront offers unique and awesome recreational opportunities-both passive and active. The time is now to partner with other agencies to ensure that this resource is here for us and future generations to enjoy. Whether you want to stroll along a pristine path or view the river from a table for two on the patio of your favorite restaurant, Oswego's stretch of the Fox River is to be cherished.

"Most of all, I am humbled by the responsibility and importance of leadership. I will continue to keep our community safe, prosperous, and always mindful of the future. That means thinking ahead about transportation-roadways and railways; maintaining a cutting-edge police department; planning for future water needs, and being welcoming and responsive to our business that, each of our residents may continue to enjoy the quality of life that brought them to Oswego in the first place."

In addition to village president, Oswego voters will elect three members to the village board next April.

Johnson, Giles and Terry Michels currently hold the board seats up for election.

The position of village president and board member are considered part-time. Currently, board members receive an annual salary of $3,600, plus a $50 stipend for each meeting they attend up to 60 in a year.

The village president receives an annual salary of $6,000, plus a $50 stipend for each village board meeting he attends up to 60 per year.

Board members and the village president are not able to participate in the village's employee health insurance program.

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