Excerpts from the Chicagotribune.com:

Residents in the Tri-State Fire Protection District sent a strong message for change. Eric Habercoss was the runaway winner in the three-person race, earning 53 percent of the vote, nearly doubling the next closest candidate

“I think it says voters are tired of business as usual in Tri-State,” Habercoss said. “I plan to clean up the district, I wrote my action plan months before I ever announced I was running and I never deviated from it.”

When taking into account that the second-place candidate was another supporter of reform, more than 80 percent of voters opted for someone other than incumbent Julie Strenzel, who has been embroiled in controversy. Strenzel did not respond to phone calls or emails to discuss her candidacy during the campaign. No information could be found online promoting Strenzel’s campaign.

Strenzel has been under the microscope of the Better Government Association for moves she has made during her tenure on the board. The BGA reported last year that Strenzel is in a civil union and raising a family with former Tri-State Chief Michelle Gibson, but still voted to approve a retirement agreement that paid the former chief about $136,000 for unused sick days and vacation time.

Strenzel is also on record for approving late-career pension spikes for two other former chiefs, as well as an assistant chief. By approving salary jumps for the employees before they left the fire district, the retired workers are eligible for higher pension payments.

Unofficial vote totals, with all Tri-State precincts reporting Tuesday night, show Habercoss with 2,406 votes followed by Matthew Goodwin with 1,218 votes. Strenzel trailed with 895 votes.

thanks Dan

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