McHENRY – Allegations of nepotism and financial mismanagement were hot topics at Wednesday’s forum for elected positions in Nunda Township.
Sponsored by the Nunda Township Republican Central Committee, the forum featured candidates in contested races for clerk, supervisor and highway commissioner.
Nunda Township Clerk Bridgett Provenzano is up against Trustee Lee Jennings for the supervisor’s seat in the Feb. 26 contest. Provenzano has been clerk for eight years, to Jennings’ four years as trustee.
A third candidate, Kerry Leigh, dropped out of the race, but his name will remain on the ballot.
The winner of the race will face the township’s office administrator, Leda Drain, in April. Drain is running as an Independent.
Both Provenzano and Jennings said they were motivated to run because of a discontent on the board.
“The last three years, I’ve attended meetings that I felt were kindergarten classes versus board meetings,” Provenzano told the crowd of about 80 people. “The most important thing is we keep in mind who we represent – the taxpayers of Nunda Township, and we don’t allow our egos to get in the way and spend money unnecessarily because we can’t get along.”
Jennings also said that, if elected, he would treat the supervisor role as a full-time job, and that trimming the budget would be his number one priority.
“The town fund is in dire straights,” he said. “You have to start at every line item and cut if it’s not necessary. … Anything to cut expenses to get budget under control, and hopefully at some point build up the reserves.”
Jenning’s wife, Susan, is running against Angela Koscavage for the clerk job. Neither husband nor wife thought there would be a conflict if they are on the board together.
Both Susan Jennings and Koscavage answered questions that were submitted before or during the forum, and highlighted their own note-taking abilities, and professionalism.
In the highway commissioner race, seasoned businessmen are vying for the spot of a longtime incumbent.
Highway Commissioner Don Kopsell has served 16 years. Rob Parrish is a project manager for Geske and Sons, which has completed numerous road-paving jobs for Nunda Township. Mike Lesperance owns Iron Mike’s Excavating.
Kopsell said his years of experience makes him the stand out candidate.
“Neither candidate has the experience, and blacktop is only part of the township,” Kospell said. “Only part.”
The challengers blasted Kopsell for nepotism within the road district. Kopsell’s wife is his secretary.
They also criticized the highway commissioner for what they said was financial mismanagement.
“Money is spent almost like lottery winnings,” Parrish said.
Parrish also outlined specifically how he would gauge and plan for road projects and vehicle maintenance.
Lesperance said he would make it a priority to pave all gravel roads in the township.
Nunda Township covers parts of Crystal Lake, McHenry, Bull Valley, Lakemoor, Prairie Grove, Island Lake and Holiday Hills.
Contested races in Nunda Township
Nunda Township supervisor • Bridgett Provenzano • Kelvin “Lee” Jennings
Nunda Township clerk • Susan Jennings • Angela Koscavage
Nunda Township Highway Commissioner • Mike “Iron Mike” Lesperance • Robert “Rob” Parrish • Donald C. Kopsell (i)
The primary election is Feb. 26.