Madison - St. Clair Record

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Democratic precinct leadership dominated by public sector workers; MC party fighting to keep tax cut proposal off ballot

By Record News | Jun 21, 2016

Dozens of Madison County Democrat precinct committee members whose party opposes a property tax reduction draw their income from government jobs, public pensions and elected offices. 

Precinct committee chairman Mark Von Nida, from Precinct 5 in Edwardsville Township, earned $107,307 last year as Circuit Clerk. 

Collinsville Township Precinct 17 committeeman John Rekowski earned $149,864 as chief public defender, second in salary only to state’s attorney Tom Gibbons. 

Jarvis Township Precinct 4 committeeman Alan Dunstan earned $101,473 as county board chairman. 

Edwardsville Township Precinct 3 committeeman John McGuire earned $95,243 as Gibbons’s top assistant. 

Granite City Township Precinct 4 committeewoman Dina Burch earned $76,502.40 as chief deputy circuit clerk. 

County board members James Dodd, William Robertson, Joe Semanisin, Michael Holliday, John Trucano, Brenda Roosevelt, Kristen Novacich, Andrew Asadorian, Jack Minner, and Helen Hawkins all serve as precinct committee members. 

Board members earn about $15,000, and they will qualify for public pensions through the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF). 

Precinct committee members hold county jobs from top to bottom, according to payroll reports of the Better Government Association. 

Helvetia Township Precinct 1 committeeman Eric Good earned $69,243 as a sheriff’s deputy. 

Alton Township Precinct 9 committeewoman Michelle Brooks earned $59,467 as purchasing agent. 

Saline Township Precinct 2 committeeman Steven Brendel earned $58,386 as regional storm water coordinator. 

St. Jacob Township Precinct 1 committeeman Scott Rose earned $54,434 as site development coordinator. 

Alhambra Township Precinct 1 committeeman Jeffrey Hurst earned $49,754 as code enforcement inspector. 

Nameoki Township Precinct 2 committeeman Michael Vrabec earned $46,488 as secretary for Gibbons. 

Granite City Township Precinct 18 committeewoman Tracy Sanchez earned $39,229 as a research technician in the assessor’s office. 

Marine Township Precinct 2 committeewoman Vicki Grater earned $38,688 as clerk in the assessor’s office. 

Collinsville Township Precinct 13 committeeman Jonathan Gitchoff shares an address with Catherine Gitchoff, who earned $46,488 as secretary for Gibbons. 

Last year the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSME) gave Catherine Gitchoff an award for social and economic justice. 

Alton Township 12 precinct committeewoman Carla Gillespie works for AFSCME, representing mental health case workers. 

Her husband Richard Gillespie is a lead objector challenging the property tax cut referendum’s access to the November ballot. 

Wood River Township Precinct 15 committeewoman Peggy Zimmerman identifies herself as a retired lawyer who represented AFSCME from 2007 to 2015. 

Other precinct committee members work for the state, cities, villages, townships, and special purpose districts, or worked for them before retiring. 

Five teachers and two retired teachers represent their party in their precincts.     

County board member Novacich works in administration for Granite City schools. 

Other precinct committee members lead local government, some by election, some by appointment, and some by both. 

Wood River Township Precinct 14 committeeman Joe Silkwood occupies the office of mayor in East Alton. 

Precinct 11 committeeman Fred Bright previously occupied the office. 

Wood River Township Precinct 8 committeeman Dennis Weber holds seats on the East Alton village board and the regional storm water commission. 

St. Jacob Township Precinct 2 committeewoman Lori Daiber holds seats on the Triad school board and the storm water commission. 

Three committee members took public office after working in government. 

Wood River Township Precinct 1 committeeman Marty Reynolds, former Roxana public works director, serves on the village board.   

Nameoki Township Precinct 7 committeeman Randall Viessman serves as township supervisor after 14 years with the township highway department. 

Wood River Township Precinct 12 committeewoman Cheryl Maguire serves as Wood River village trustee after retiring as a teacher. 

Most precinct committee members whose online resumes place them in the private sector are lawyers. 

At least 14 of 142 committee members belong to the legal profession. 

Edwardsville Township Precinct 10 committeeman Randi Gori and Precinct 20 committeeman Ronald Foster stand out as the most prominent. 

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