While the national election campaign is now in its final days, the race for village president, trustee and clerk in Brookfield is just beginning.
On Oct. 19, the PEP Party, which has controlled every seat on the village board since 2007, announced its slate of candidates for the April 2021 election, and most of the names will be familiar to Brookfield voters.
The April 2021 Consolidated Election will ask voters to choose a president, three trustees and a clerk. PEP will look to reshuffle the existing village board, proposing that President Kit Ketchmark and Trustee Michael Garvey swap positions, with Garvey running to return to the president’s seat and Ketchmark looking to regain his former position as a trustee.
PEP is also running an incumbent for one of the trustee spots and for clerk, while dipping into one of the village’s advisory commissions for the third trustee candidate.
Ketchmark and Garvey had been prohibited by the village’s term-limit law from running for a third consecutive term in their present roles. Garvey, an attorney, served as village president from 2005 to 2013 before running successfully for two terms as trustee.
“I want to do this more now than ever,” said Garvey. “I love this stuff, and I feel I still have something to offer. We’ve gone a long way, but there are still things to do.”
Garvey said the slate combines experience and new ideas, a strategy that’s paid off for the party for the past 15 years. While Ketchmark and Garvey have been mainstays during that time, PEP since 2005 has nominated and seated a dozen different candidates for trustee.
Ketchmark, who owns Brookfield-based Ketchmark Landscaping and Brick Paving, served as a trustee from 2001-09 and again from 2011-13 before running for the first of his first two terms as president.
“For myself, I want to see things continue moving in the direction I started on,” said Ketchmark in a phone interview. “I think with this slate and board, the potential makeup may be the least experienced board we’ve had in decades. I think I can help in terms of experience.”
Asked whether some in Brookfield might question PEP’s slating Ketchmark and Garvey over and over, Garvey said their record speaks for itself.
“I’m just putting my name out there,” Garvey said. “If someone wants to run against me, I’m happy to compare my record. I’d encourage them to run, put their ideas out there and we can talk about them.”
Garvey said he expects a contest, given the last time Brookfield held an uncontested election was back in 1993. Since then, there have been one or more slates of candidates, as well as independents, in each election who have chosen to run.
Incumbent Trustee Edward Cote, who is running for re-election to the Board of Trustees on PEP’s slate, would be one of the more experienced trustees if he’s elected to another term. The other would be Trustee David LeClere, who is in the midst of his second consecutive four-year term, but who also served a full term from 2007-11.
Trustees Katie Kaluzny and Brian Conroy are in the midst of their first terms.
Cote, who works in IT planning and engineering security and compliance for Verizon, said one thing he learned about being a village trustee during his first term was that it’s a lot more work than you’d think.
“It was definitely more time than I had expected,” said Cote, who is also the village board’s liaison to the public works department, Brookfield Public Library and is the board’s finance chairman.
Between wading through board meeting packets that can run 200-plus pages every two weeks, trustees interact often with residents and business owners and must understand the implications of planning applications they are casting votes to approve or deny.
“The board meetings are the last thing on the agenda,” Cote said, who said he views his role as one of listening to residents.
“There are relationships [with the community] to work on that you really have to do if you want to be a trustee,” Cote said.
Making her first run for a seat on the village board is Jennifer Hendricks, who is running for trustee as a part of PEP’s slate.
While this will be Hendricks’ first election campaign, she has many years of experience in municipal government. For the past 13 years, Hendricks has served on the Brookfield Planning and Zoning Commission (she was a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals until it merged with the Plan Commission in 2013).
Hendricks also worked for three years as a project manager for the Naperville Park District. She holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in landscape architecture from the University of Illinois and works as a landscape architect for Manhard Consulting, a Lombard-based civil engineering firm.
“It’s a big step,” said Hendricks of her hoped-for move from an advisory commission to the village board. “The thought of serving on the board isn’t that intimidating as much as the election. But, generally, I believe in the importance of public service, and being a trustee is a great way to continue to make the community better.”
Village Clerk Brigid Weber has been slated by PEP for her second consecutive full term in that role.
Weber was elected to a four-year term as clerk in 2017 after being appointed to the job in 2015 following the death of Cathy Colgrass Edwards. Weber previously served as village clerk from 2006-13.