Election Day, April 5, produced a Township Alliance Party sweep at Proviso Township, ushering in an almost perfect win for the party that includes Forest Park Commissioner Timothy Gillian.
The party took all four trustee positions, the collector, assessor and clerk positions.
The only non-Alliance member to win the election was Kathy M. Ryan who was reelected as township supervisor and is a member of the Township Integrity Party.
Ryan obtained 35 percent of the vote, or 8,666 votes, and was followed closely by the Alliance party’s Mari Herrell, who came in second with 34 percent of the vote.
Gillian won his reelection as a township trustee with 9.6 percent of the vote, or 8,767 votes. Other Township Alliance candidates elected included Jesus “Jesse” Martinez and Anthony “Tony” Williams, with 10 percent of the vote; and Don Sloan with 9.4 percent.
Steven Johnsen, the other Forest Park candidate and a member of the Township Integrity Party, garnered 6.5 percent of the vote, coming in 11th place.
Gillian said he was happy with the win.
“It is all four trustees from the same ticket,” he said after the election. “We certainly have a majority on the board.”
With the win and his reelection, Gillian said he intends to continue pushing the Alliance Party’s agenda forward.
He plans to “reestablish transportation for senior citizens and get involved with mayors from each community to find out what their needs are.”
According to him, this is one of the major problems facing the township.
“In the fours years I have served, the supervisor never spoke to any of the mayors,” he said. “I will make sure that monthly or quarterly meetings happen with each of the mayors from each of the communities, through board action if necessary, so we can provide service for those towns that need it.
“There shouldn’t be $1 million in the bank account in the township,’ Gillian continued. “That money should be used in the communities. If the current supervisor would come to Forest Park, for example, and say ‘Mayor, how can I help?’ The mayor could say ‘we have a senior rider program and we could do more.’ That is where the township should step in”we can do more.”
He adds that his status as an incumbent will help bolster his positioning in the board, making him a more effective trustee.
“Because I am an incumbent, I have what I consider to be a significant leadership capability,” he said. “I believe I will be able to lead that board and my goal is not to provide services only for Forest Park, but for each of the 13 communities. I will always have an eye for Forest Park and a fondness for it, but my goal is to provide services for the entire 13 communities.”
The sweep follows an intense pre-election season peppered with allegations of misconduct, unethical behavior and mismanagement volleyed between the parties.
Gillian said he views the slate sweep of all but the supervisor position as a sign that the voters in the township still believe in the party.
“With the exception of Forest Park, the negative campaign that was waged by the Integrity Party didn’t bear the fruits that they hoped it would,” he said. “The large majority of residents within all 13 communities don’t believe the things that were written about me personally and other candidates.”
For Gillian, however, the loss of the supervisor position remains problematic.
“It means more work and it is going to be somewhat difficult because obviously my views differ from the supervisor,” he said. “There is going to be a lot of work and a lot of compromise.”
He also said he takes exception to the allegations made.
“First of all,” he said, “only the Integrity Party was talking about people being on the take and corruption; only the current supervisor was. Honestly I believe the current supervisor knows better. She has worked with me.”
Grady Rivers, Jr. won the clerk position with 39 percent of the vote; Michael Corrigan will serve as assessor, garnering 42 percent of the vote and F. Joyce Lewis will serve as collector with 41 percent of the vote.
The township, the second largest in Illinois, is, to many voters, an obscure layer of government they do not fully understand.
Some even consider it an unnecessary layer of government that should be eliminated”an option that is not possible at this time, according to Gillian.
“The reality is that the township board cannot change the fact that there is a layer of government and it is unlikely that it will ever happen,” he said.
For him, the bottom line is that residents still pay taxes to the township and that “it is the job of the elected officials in the township to make sure that the money coming in is spent in the 13 communities.”
To help address misinformation and lack of a clear vision about the township and the services it provides, Gillian said, the new collector has volunteered to establish a reasonable and functional website that can get the message out and find out what services might be available.
“I also intend to make sure we have literature in village halls, to read about what services might be provided. There is a lot that can be done,” Gillian said.