For several weeks now, Plainfield Township Supervisor John Argoudelis has been telling us he's made up his mind as to whether he's going to retain his township post as well as serve as a Will County Board District 5 member. If only he could find time to write up his announcement.
In a wave of holiday giving spirit, I decided to gift him with a two-fer press release: One for if he decides to step down and the other announcing he'll be keeping both seats warm.
Dec. 6, 2010
Plainfield Township Supervisor John Argoudelis is pleased to announce he will retain his throne as Plainfield Township supervisor while at the same time serving the constituents of District 5 on the Will County Board.
"For nearly two months, I wasn't sure I could serve the residents the township and Will County at the same time," Argoudelis said. "But after careful reflection, I have come to the conclusion that Plainfield Township and I cannot afford to sever connections right now."
Despite caution urged by the Illinois Better Government Association and the ire of self-appointed Republican king-maker Garrett Peck, Argoudelis said he feels he cannot leave township residents to fend for them at this time.
With hungry mobs threatening to occupy the Interstate 55 overpass just outside the walls of township hall and U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert expected to dish up a whole side of political pork for the long-anticipated DuPage River study, the timing is just not right to install a new regime, Argoudelis says.
"Besides, I need the money," he said. "Ultimately, the decision of which of my two public twenty-thousand-plus paychecks to relinquish became too taxing for everyone involved."
Even though he promised Republican cronies he would step down as supervisor if they helped him win the county board seat and he failed to deliver on his pledge to win more votes than RINO (Republican In Name Only) District 5 board incumbent Lee Ann Goodson, Argoudelis is certain that in time his colleagues will come to understand the wisdom of his decision to stay on.
"At least I beat the Democrats," Argoudelis said.
Both the law and precedent rule in his favor, Argoudelis said. For much of the century, sitting on the county board was one of the duties of township supervisor. Former Plainfield Township Supervisor Karen Callanan double-dipped with a seat on the county board. Current board Chairman Jim Moustis is Frankfort Township supervisor. Joseph Baltz was on the county board at the same time he was Troy Township supervisor.
Argoudelis vows he will continue his campaign to buy a second senior shuttle and will work tirelessly to provide a fireplace near which grannies and grandpas can warm their toes after morning calisthenics and potluck lunches in the new senior center.
"There's no free lunch here," he said.
There is much to look forward in the remainder of his term, Argoudelis says. Over the winter, township trustees will be listening to musical compositions submitted in the ongoing contest for Township Anthem.
Dec. 6, 2010
Taking his cue from the Illinois Better Government Association, John Argoudelis said the tide of public opinion has finally forced him to resign his position as Plainfield Township supervisor so he can devote his full time and attention to representing the constituents of Will County District 5.
After serving about half of his four-year term, Argoudelis will relinquish his post, which he assumed in May 2009, effective Jan.1. Illinois state law requires township boards appoint a replacement from the same political party to fill the vacancy.
"For nearly two months, I delayed my decision in the hope that I could serve the residents the township and Will County at the same time. After all, they're basically the same people," Argoudelis said.
It was a taxing decision to make a choice of which of the $22,000 paychecks to relinquish, he said. But Argoudelis isn't looking for public pity.
"With law offices thriving in both Plainfield and Oswego, I'll hardly even notice the financial hit," he said.
During his nearly two years in office, Argoudelis launched the successful senior shuttle program and enlisted the cooperation of the Plainfield Park District to plan a half-million-dollar senior center.
Argoudelis avidly endorses Trustee Tony Fremarek, hand-picked by Plainfield Republican king-maker Garrett Peck, to fill the supervisor slot in exchange for strong-arming the county board seat for Argoudelis in District 5.
Peck already has begun the arduous process of de-programming Fremarek from placing his hands over his mouth whenever he senses the presence of the public or the press.
"Up till now, they've been trained to reply to all inquiries with, 'You'll have to ask John about that,'" Argoudelis said. "We think he's on a learning curve to be able to answer simple questions on his own by February."
Local Republican operatives are scheduling workshops for training the rest of the township staff to replace "John" with "Tony" at the end of the standard response.
Argoudelis hopes the necessary re-learning process can be completed no later than Feb. 1. He hopes the public and the press will show the supervisor and staff the same patience they exhibited through the lengthy resignation resolution period.