mayors join Water Commission
Glen Ellyn, Carol Stream leaders sworn in
By Bob Goldsborough
The DuPage Water Commission continued its unprecedented
turnover as three new members--including two mayors--were
sworn in on a board that only a year ago faced dissolution.
Ten of the 13 board members have been appointed since
2002 at the agency, which delivers Lake Michigan water
to 25 towns in DuPage County and two private utilities.
On Thursday, the commission welcomed Glen Ellyn Village
President Greg Mathews, who recently was appointed to
the commission's board by Wheaton and Glen Ellyn town
Also installed were Carol Stream Village President Ross
Ferraro and attorney John Vrdolyak, whose appointments
previously had been announced.
An attorney in private practice in Chicago, Mathews,
49, has led Glen Ellyn since 2001. He previously was a
Glen Ellyn trustee from 1993 to 1997 and briefly had served
as village president in 1997.
"I think it's going to be an interesting new challenge
to represent a broader community than I have," Mathews
said. "Certainly the DuPage Water Commission has
issues facing it, and I will be glad to participate in
the discussion and resolution of those issues, and hope
to do my best to represent my district."
Mathews replaces Lisle Planning and Zoning Commission
member Richard Thorn, who stepped down after 7 1/2 years
on the Lake Michigan water agency's board. Thorn, 70,
will continue to serve the commission in the appointed
job of treasurer.
"My term was up in June, and my house happened to
be redistricted out of the district that I was representing,"
"And, the towns wanted all mayors on there."
Indeed, Mathews becomes the fifth mayor or village president
out of the six municipally appointed seats on the commission.
Commissioner Allan Poole, Naperville's public utilities
director, now is the only non-mayor on the commission's
By comparison, in 2001, just two of the six municipal
appointees on the commission's board were mayors. The
six appointees named by the DuPage County Board's chairman
typically were county staff members or business leaders.
Observers believe more mayors have joined the board because
of the agency's increased politicization, which began
after DuPage County Board Chairman Robert Schillerstrom
initiated an ultimately unsuccessful effort last April
to dissolve the commission and make it a part of DuPage
Schillerstrom's bid helped to create what has been an
increasingly partisan environment on the board between
the member communities, which funded the commission's
creation, and the cash-strapped county government, which
represents unincorporated areas that haven't had access
to Lake Michigan water.
In addition, the county government has tried to tap into
the agency's excess cash reserves, striking a deal last
year to get $15 million a year from the commission over
five years in exchange for allowing the commission to