Basil, Bielinski eye mayor’s seat
10/22/2012 Wilmette Village of Wilmette Board of Trustee members Mike Basil (left) and Bob Bielinski pose for a photograph outside Village Hall on Monday, October 22, 2012. Both Basil and Bielinski are running for Village Board President in April. | michael jarecki ~ for Sun-Times Media
POSITION: Wilmette Village President
CANDIDATES SO FAR: Mike Basil, Bob Bielinski
ELECTION DAY: April 9, 2012
Updated: November 26, 2012 6:13AM
WILMETTE — Wilmette Trustees Mike Basil and Bob Bielinski said last week they are running to succeed Village President Chris Canning in next year’s April 9 municipal election.
Canning’s second and final four-year term comes to an end next year.
Basil, a business attorney, was elected a trustee in 2007 and again in 2011. He now heads the board’s judiciary committee.
Last week he said he first ran because he thought the village was hostile toward business, and needed to streamline permit and zoning regulations for businesses and homeowners. He was able to do that, and sought a second term to continue that work, he said last week. Now he wants to do the same as village president.
“I have a track record of identifying major problems and taking concrete steps toward solving them … I think I can help lead that process from the center chair and not just from the side.”
Bielinski works in the financial services industry, and has managed bond financing for state and local governments. He was first elected in 2011 and now heads the board’s finance committee. He said village policies would not change greatly if he won, but added that his skills have already improved village budget practices and policies.
“Financial matters are second nature to me,” he said, adding, “I’ve demonstrated a work ethic and commitment to the (municipal) role.”
Basil and Bielinski said they were colleagues and friends; both acknowledged but minimized what Basil called the “slightly awkward” nature of running against each other.
“At the end of the day, we’ll have a great exchange of ideas. On Election Day, someone wins, someone loses, you shake hands and say ‘That was a good campaign,’” Bielinski said.
Someone will be appointed to serve out the final two years of the winner’s trustee term, which expires in 2015.
One person who won’t run for village president is senior Trustee Alan Swanson, whose second term ends with Canning’s. He said last week he wasn’t interested in the position.
“I enjoy being a trustee. If I could do that for four more years, I would. That’s a good job for me. I’m an engineer; I solve problems. I wouldn’t be a good mayor. I’ll leave it up to other people to decide what we want to do.”
The first day to circulate petitions for trustee or village president was September 25; the period for submitting nominating papers to the village clerk is Dec. 17-24. The number of signatures must be 5-8 percent of the number of voters in the last municipal election. For April 9, 2012, that amounts to just under 500 signatures.