WHEATON – Wheaton City Council members John Prendiville and Phil Suess have announced they are running for Wheaton mayor in the April 2019 election.
Prendiville was first elected to the City Council in 2007, and Suess has been on the council since 2005. This is Prendiville's second attempt at winning the seat.
He ran against Wheaton Mayor Mike Gresk in 2011 but lost the election, in the process losing his council seat. He regained his seat in 2013. Prendiville is an at-large councilman, and his term on the council expires in May 2019.
Suess represents the North District, and his seat on the council doesn't expire until May 2021.
Prendiville said one of the reasons he is running for mayor is because Gresk told him he is not running for reelection. Gresk has served as Wheaton mayor since 2007. Prior to that, he was a council member from 1995 to 2003. The council is comprised of six representatives and the mayor.
"He told me some time ago that he was not going to run for reelection," Prendiville said. "If he were running again, I would not be running. But since he has chosen not to run, that's why I am running. It's one of the reasons why I am running."
In an email, Gresk confirmed he is not running for reelection.
Prendiville said he wants to continue guiding Wheaton on the course on which it has been.
"I think the city is on a very good course, and I definitely would like to continue that," he said. "We have been able to keep our taxes low and, not withstanding that, maintain a high level of services for our residents. There are challenges, of course, and we will face more challenges in the future."
If elected, Prendiville said he would work to ensure the city remains economically strong.
"Our financial strength underpins all of our success," he said. "We need to be very careful, and we have been very careful. While keeping up with the work that needs to be done on our infrastructure, we need to be certain that we don't overextend ourselves and that we keep ourselves on a very firm financial footing."
Suess said the fact that Gresk is not running for reelection presents an opportunity for him "to continue to serve the citizens of Wheaton."
"The bottom line is, we're very fortunate to live in the city of Wheaton," he said. "The city has operated very well for a great number of years. And quite honestly, I think there's a certain pride in living in Wheaton. We want to maintain the environment that we have going forward. It's a very positive message."
Suess said his biggest priority is to "keep Wheaton an attractive and viable place in which to raise families."
"We're a residential community," he said. "Our focus needs to be on providing the services and the support to ensure that we continue to be a residential community where people want to raise their families."
Suess said the City Council can be proud of the "positive environment in which the city currently exists."
"Financially, we're very stable," he said. "Over the years I've been on the council, we've made the right decisions with respect to the city's finances. We've made the right decisions with respect to the services we provide. And I think that's important, and maintaining that consistency is important."