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home : news : news   May 29, 2016

12/20/2013 5:42:00 AM
Petition calls for changing Peru council

Jeff Dankert
NewsTribune Reporter

Watchdogs have submitted a petition for a referendum to change the makeup of Peru City Council from eight aldermen to six aldermen.

It would assign one alderman to each of four wards and designate two as at-large, representing all residents. Currently, two aldermen represent each of four wards.

The new makeup would provide more representation to residents, because each resident would have one ward alderman and two at-large aldermen.

“If this initiative is successful each and every voter will have three votes for alderman,” said Steve Weberski, one of the petitioners. “They can cast votes for 50 percent of the entire council so that’s more power at the polls.”

Marvin Gum signed the petition and collected 29 signatures.

 “I feel it would give a person that’s running more opportunities to get votes from citywide,” Gum said. “They should have that option to run at-large. I want younger people to get involved. And it would save a little money. The town’s only got 10,000 people. I don’t see why we need eight aldermen.”

If the petition is approved by the city, a question would be placed on the March 18 general primary ballot. The question would be binding, meaning that the vote determines if it will be enacted. If enacted, all existing aldermanic terms would expire at the next regular election, which would be Tuesday, April 7, 2015, said Jo Ann Carretto, La Salle County clerk.

The petition had 370 signatures and meets a requirement to contain at least 10 percent of the votes cast in the previous election for mayor. The total votes cast last spring were 3,170 and 10 percent is 317, so the petition has a safety buffer of 53 extra signatures, should some not qualify.

Weberski, who has run for city offices in the past, collected 122 signatures. He is among those who formed a group called PAL Initiative, with PAL standing for Peru At-Large. They hope to get website up and running, he said.

“The impetus was born of disappointment from recent decisions from aldermen as well as our mayor,” Weberski said. “It’s entirely possible that there’s no reason the efficiency can’t be improved.”

Marsha Perez signed the petition and gathered 24 signatures.

“I just hope that we can get some at-large aldermen,” Perez said. Her husband, Rodney, serves as alderman and in some instances when he has helped residents in other wards, aldermen have become angry with Perez.

“This way if we had at-large you can call who you want to call, not who you have to call,” Perez said. “You’ll have more representation. If it were up to me I’d like to see them all at-large but we have to take baby steps.”

The other petitioners are Nick Andreoni, Lois Carroll, Linda Dzierzynski, Michael Hart, Lorraine Hamilton, Edward Mitchell, Travis Nelson, Sherry Mayszak, Arthur Giese, Tony Sparks and Edward King.

The law provides that an electoral board comprised of the city clerk (David Bartley), mayor (Scott Harl) and longest-serving alderman (Dave Potthoff) will oversee the process, Carretto said.

Objections to the petition can be filed by close of business Monday to city hall.

“A person draws up a statement and states their reasons for objection,” Carretto said. “Typically they get somebody.”

Bartley said the electoral board must review objections no later than two business days following Monday, which would be Dec. 26.

Jeff Dankert can be reached at (815) 220-6977 or

Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, December 21, 2013
Article comment by: CRobinson

This is the 'sour grapes' petition brought forward by those who didn't get their way the last election and now think they will have a better chance to get elected. We have some devious people in Peru and the electorate should be very careful who they vote for.

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