As election night came to a close on April 4, J. Edgar Mihelic, an incumbent seeking re-election to the Brookfield Public Library Board of Trustees, was ahead of first-time candidate Karl Olson in the race for the fourth and final seat up for grabs.
By one vote.
A full week later, with mail-in votes being tallied slowly by the Cook County Clerk, Mihelic’s lead had grown to 17 votes – still too close to call with official certification pending later this month – but it was trending in his favor.
“You know what they say about chickens and eggs hatching,” said Mihelic when asked if he felt confident he would pull off his re-election. “No matter who wins, the library as an institution will be very well served. All who ran believe in the mission of the library.”
Winners of the three other four-year terms up for election are not in doubt, despite votes still being counted. Jennifer Paliatka, a first-time candidate who works as a librarian at Elmhurst College, appears to have grabbed the top spot with 1,135 votes as of April 10.
Finishing second and third, within 11 votes of one another as of April 10, were first-time candidate Mitzi Norton (1,071 votes) and incumbent Linda Kampschroeder (1,060).
Norton, who is the manager of executive administration at NielsenIQ, is co-founder of the progressive group Indivisible Brookfield. She participated in the library’s strategic planning listening sessions and felt this was the right time to take a more active role in local governance.
“Being involved with Indivisible Brookfield, I’ve talked to our members about the importance of not just the work we do, but of running for office,” Norton said. “Last fall I felt it was time to put my own words into action.”
Kampschroeder, who was elected to her third full term, was first appointed to the library board in 2014, before being elected to full four-year terms in 2015 and 2019. She has served in the past as the library board’s president and is one the board’s long-range planning committee.
“I’m so thrilled to know the [new] library [building] and campus turned out so well,” said Kampschroeder, who was on the board during its long campaign to get a new facility constructed. “We have a facility that now will match the programs and other things we want to do moving forward.”