Cary Challengers Question Trustees’ Campaign Materials’ ID, Use of Village Resources

This sign in front of Lowe Enterprises expresses what can only be described as heart-felt dissatisfation with the way the Village Board governs. The message is "PUPPETS DEFINED, NO BRAIN, BACKBONE, PULLS STRINGS."

Candidates running for Cary Village Board.

From watching Lowe Enterprises sign on Route 14, people know that there is some dissatisfaction there with those running the Village of Cary.  What you see above is just one of messages that has appeared over a several year period.

This year there are four seats up on the Cary Village Board.

There are two slates .

The incumbent slate consists of

  • Al Pilli
  • Barbara Hill
  • Debra McNamee
  • Mark Kownick

The incumbents are at the top of both the four-year term ballot and the two-year slot.

"Cary Works!" trash pick-up notice with all village board members' names displayed. Although not on the ballot, Mayor/Village President Tom Kierna has his name twice on the flyer. Click to enlarge.

The challengers’ slate is comprised of

  • Karen Lukasik
  • Bruce Kaplan
  • Robert Bragg
  • Jeff Kraus

The insurgents appear at the bottom of each ballot.

Stuck in between is Frank Steckelberg.

Although all are listed on the ballot as “Independent,” the label has special meaning for Steckelberg.

Conceivably, the balance of power could shift away from, presumably, Village President/ Mayor Thomas Kierna.

The incumbents are availing themselves of the power of incumbency to use village resources to promote their name identification.

The village put out leaflets promoting both the “Cary Works!” junk pick-up as well as one promoting a community clean-up day after the election which lists the names of those on the Village Board, but not those serving on School District 26 or 155’s Board nor those on the Cary Park Board.

With a slate of incumbents being challenged by a full opposition slate, there is obviously something at stake.

So far, what has made the news has been criticism by the incumbents that the challengers have violated election law by combining their resources to buy joint signs.

Click to enlarge if you wish to rad the small print on the bottom of the Lukaski-Bragg-Kaplan-Kruas sign.

The challengers retort that the fact that each candidate paid their share of the sign is listed at the bottom of the sign.

And today, the opposition slate made it owns charge that the incumbents were in violation of the Illinois Election Code.

A section of the Election Code [(10 ILCS 5/9‑9.5) Sec. 9‑9.5. Disclosures in political communications.(a)] says that “Any political committee organized under the Election Code that makes an expenditure for a pamphlet, circular [etc.]…mentioning the name of a candidate…shall ensure that the name of the political committee paying [it including distribution]…is identified clearly within the communication…”

The challengers to Cary Village Trustees running for re-election have issued the following press release :

Incumbents Violate Election Law

Recently, the incumbent candidates for Cary Village Trustee made baseless charges against our candidacies for violating State of Illinois Election Law.  They offer nothing in the way of facts or evidence, but simply pull ideas from thin air.

We believe the State of Illinois Elections Laws should be followed and appropriate disclosure be done.  That is why we are very disturbed at the gross negligence by our opponents to distribute yard signs, fliers and advertisements without attributing who “Paid for” or “Authorized” these forms of political speech.  It is deceptive to our neighbors and it violates the State of Illinois’ Election Law.

A leaflet promoting Cary Pride Day a week after the election is being distributed. Although it mentions the two schools and park district as sponsors, none of the names of their board members are listed. The names of the Cary Village Board are. Click to enlarge.

Additionally, we find it increasingly disturbing that our citizens’ tax dollars are being utilized by the incumbents for political speech.  We are attaching two examples paid for by taxpayer dollars where the incumbents’ names are clearly portrayed in an attempt to deceptively gain votes.

Couple that with a “Weekly” e-mail newsletter that is now appearing almost daily supporting the incumbents’ message; we cannot sit idly by without calling them out on it.

It is time for a new way of doing things in Cary.  Cary residents deserve better.


Karen Lukasik: “In these tight economic times, I find it troubling that our Village is using our tax dollars to promote the incumbents.”

Bruce Kaplan: “We have been very careful and conscious not only to support the letter of the Election Law, but the spirit of it.”

Robert Bragg: “I think it would be the honorable thing for the incumbents and the Village to come clean and stop these underhanded election practices.”

Jeff Kraus: “I have run a campaign on transparency and trust.  The incumbents should have been following the law before they began leveling hypocritical charges against my candidacy.”

The literature of the incumbents and the village-financed literature containing their names follows (click to enlarge):

Literature from Barb Hill.

Campaign literature from Mark Kownick.

Debra McNamee's piece.

The campaign literature of Al Pilli.

From reading McNamee’s flyer, I see she says she pays for her own literature and she and her family distribute it.

Mark Kownick's sign.

Whether the incumbent’s charge that the challengers broke the campaign finance law or not by combining resources to buy and post signs and not reporting it as a political action committee that has spent more than $3,000 is one I have not seen raised before. I assume that a complaint has been filed and if whoever filed it wishes to send me a copy, I’ll post it.

Al Pilli and Barb Hill have their signs next to Mark Kownick's. Click to enlarge.

The challengers’ complaint is an interesting one. Except for McNamee’s, the other incumbents do not disclose who paid for their literature.

Neither do the signs those three candidates have posted. (McNamee rightly points out in her piece, which says she has not signs, “Signs Don’t Vote.”) With sixteen years on the board, the name identification that signs provide probably is not one of her re-election problems.

The law cited by the challengers definitely applies to those with political action committees registered with the State Board of Elections.  I was able to find none for the four incumbents using their last names to search or any village board PACs after looking at those listed with a 60013 zip code.

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