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Revamped DuPage Board gets down to work

Updated: January 15, 2013 6:12AM

WHEATON — The DuPage County Board launched a new era Tuesday, when nearly half of its members reported for their first regular business meeting.

“It’s fun and exciting with new faces here,” Chairman Dan Cronin said.

The eight board newcomers are Liz Chaplin, Pete DiCianni, Amy Grant, Gary Grasso, Tonia Khouri, Sean Noonan, Laurie Nowak and Sam Tornatore.

Auroran Khouri, who on Nov. 6 won the seat formerly occupied by Naperville resident John Zediker, joins re-elected District 5 incumbents Jim Healy of Naperville and Tony Michelassi, who also lives in Aurora. The district comprises most of Naperville, a portion of east Aurora and small pieces of Warrenville, Lisle and unincorporated Woodridge. All of the county’s six districts had their boundary lines redrawn last year, as is required after the decennial U.S. Census.

Chaplin, DiCianni and Noonan are from District 2, which now includes far northeast Naperville. None of the three board members whose District 2 terms ended last month ran for re-election.

Grasso represents District 3, now encompassing the city’s southeast corner, along with returning incumbents John Curran and Brian Krajewski.


The meeting also brought unanimous approval from the board for new committee assignments and chairmanships proposed by Cronin.

Healy remains at the head of the Public Works Committee, but Michelassi was replaced as Development Committee chairman by Tornatore, who represents District 1. Khouri was named chairwoman of the Economic Development Committee, while Noonan will now lead the Intergovernmental Committee and Grasso will head the Community Development Committee. Chaplin is the new chairwoman of the Public Transit Committee; Michelassi is its vice chairman.

Just one of the 14 committees has a Democrat, Chaplin, at the helm. Two of the dozen vice chairmanships went to Democrats, Nowak and Michelassi. The community development and intergovernmental committees have no vice chairman positions.

Although the party ratio on the board remains unchanged from the last term, at 15 Republicans and three Democrats, several of the races were unusually close. Republican Grasso, who edged out Bolingbrook Democrat Sharon Bryant by just 21 votes, said the election demonstrated that the GOP no longer has a lock on the board.

“DuPage County is certainly not as Republican as a lot of us Republicans believe,” he said.

Cronin, who until last spring chaired the DuPage County Republican Party, welcomed the collection of fresh faces.

“I think we’re all embracing this mixture of new and those who are not so new,” he said.

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