Four years ago, Brookfield voters ushered in a new political era when they ousted the PEP Party from power in favor of a new coalition that called itself the VIP Party. Yesterday, voters handed power back to PEP, electing the party’s entire slate.
The race for village president wasn’t close. Michael Garvey, the PEP trustee who was defeated in his 2001 bid for president, outdistanced incumbent VIP President Bill Russ by a 61 percent to 39 percent margin. With all 22 precincts reporting, Garvey unofficially had taken in 2,922 votes to Russ’ 1,859.
“The people have spoken,” said Russ, who added he had tried to call Garvey at Villa Marie Restaurant where PEP was celebrating its win, but wasn’t able to reach him.
“I hope Garvey will keep his promises to the people of Brookfield,” he added.
For Garvey, the win was especially sweet after losing to Russ by a much smaller margin four years ago.
“I think we got our message out better, and I think we built a good coalition slate,” said Garvey, who until late in 2004 when Kit Ketchmark officially jumped to the party, was the only PEP trustee on the village board.
“The first step will be to restore people’s faith in the village board,” Garvey added. “The people who supported us have told us to stop the bickering and put a better face on village government. It was a message I heard loud and clear.
“The first order of business is to sit down with the new village board to come up with a comprehensive agenda together.”
In addition to Garvey, PEP also claimed all three village trustee seats up for election. Kit Ketchmark, who ran as a VIP candidate in 2001 but switched parties after becoming disenchanted with the direction of Russ’ administration, was the top vote getter out of all six trustee candidates. He garnered 2,928 votes to lead the PEP slate.
The result was vindication for Ketchmark, who was a target for VIP after he defected from the party in 2002. He was held up as an obstructionist by VIP, which censured him in 2003 for allegedly leaking executive session information to the public. More recently, both he and Garvey were made the subjects of an investigation that claimed the two accepted campaign contributions for favors.
If the investigation uncovered any wrongdoing, it was not revealed prior to the election.
“The message we heard was that people want to see things move forward, but there’s a way for the government to work, and that’s in the light,” Ketchmark said.
The two other PEP candidates elected yesterday were Catherine Colgrass Edwards with 2,812 votes, and Michael Towner with 2,560. They outdistanced all three VIP candidates–incumbents Wil Brennan and Thomas Nowicki and newcomer Mitch Mierop–who amassed 2,146, 1,748 and 1,616 votes respectively.
Edwards was the village’s recreation director for many years before leaving the post after Russ was elected. Towner, chairman of the village’s Playgrounds and Recreation Commission, won in his second time as a candidate for the village board. He lost in his previous bid in 2003.
The race for village clerk was also not a close one. Incumbent Clerk Dan Raddatz, another former VIP member who joined PEP last summer along with Ketchmark, won reelection with 62 percent of the vote (2,904) over VIP candidate H. Jeane Eineman (1,788).
The sweep gives PEP a clear majority on the village board with just two VIP Party members”Linda Stevanovich and Alan Dorobiala”remaining. The board will also have to appoint a new trustee to replace Garvey, whose seat will become vacant when he takes the oath of office as president.