ELECTION 2013: Steve Morley 'excited' to be Elmhurst's next mayor
ELMHURST — Sixth Ward Alderman Steve Morley is ready to get back to business as Elmhurst's next mayor.
"I'm very excited, and I'm happy," he said. "At some point the campaign can be a distraction to the work we do. I'm looking forward to working with the citizens of Elmhurst."
With all precincts reporting on Tuesday, Morley won 3,610 votes, or about 43 percent of the vote, compared to candidate Mark Mulliner's 2,449 votes and candidate Diane Gutenkauf's 2,326 votes.
Vote totals are unofficial until certified.
Morley's top priority is to grow and attract business to Elmhurst. One of his first actions in office in early May will be re-seating the committees, he said.
"We actually have a lot of city business pending, and some development stuff pending," Morley said. "We need to concentrate on commercial development that fits well in the city of Elmhurst to broaden our tax base, and concentrate as a Council on how to do what's best for Elmhurst."
Morley, who is halfway through his second term as alderman, said he supports the new tax increment financing district on North York Road, the city’s fourth such district. However, he said the city doesn’t necessarily need any other new incentives or programs for developers or prospective business owners that it doesn’t already have.
Closed City Council meetings about the Addison Avenue development in September violated the Open Meetings Act, according to the Illinois Attorney General’s Office, and Morley said he thinks the council needs more training on the law.
Mulliner is the city's longest-serving alderman in the 7th Ward. If elected, he had planned to "bring the city back to its core functions — infrastructure, public safety and economic development," he told the Elmhurst Press last month.
Gutenkauf is halfway through her second term as 1st Ward alderman.
To improve transparency, Gutenkauf told the Elmhurst Press during a candidate interview that she would like to see the city manager and next mayor host proactive town hall meetings and work sessions to hear community input before big decisions are made.
"Of course I'm disappointed in the outcome," Gutenkauf said following the race. "I think we ran a campaign that focused on the issues important to the residents. I want to see a recognition by the City Council that the decisions we make should always go to taxpayers before we solidify those big issues."
Gutenkauf — who said she and her campaign knocked on more than 7,000 residents' doors over the last few months — said she's committed to representing her ward.
"I'm looking forwad to getting back to the business at hand as a city," she said.
Mulliner was not immediately available after the election to comment on his future plans, though he will continue serving as alderman.
Fifth Ward alderman Chris Healy, who was re-elected to a second term Tuesday night, said Morley has been a "leading voice in economic development" and he's looking forward to continuing working with him on city projects.
"Alderman Gutenkauf and Alderman Mulliner are good aldermen and would have made fine mayors, but to me, Steve in the four years I've been on the Council has definitely shown a leadership quality that I think will serve Elmhurst and the Council well," Healy said. "We learned (Tuesday) that the Waverton is closing. I think that's a good thing for Elmhurst, but we have to work to get that property back up."
Morley said with some new faces and some old on the City Council, he's happy to get the chance to serve Elmhurst again.
"Things are going to change a little bit, but I am looking forward to working with everybody," he said. "I thank my family for all their patience and support over the past four months."