HUNTLEY – Both candidates vying for Grafton Township supervisor agree they would end the legal battles and improve the dire financial state that has defined the dysfunctional township for the past four years.
But how Republican candidate Pam Fender and independent Jim Kearns would achieve those priorities remain unclear.
Voters will decide the supervisor race during Tuesday’s election, after denying incumbent Supervisor Linda Moore a second term in the February Republican primary.
Kearns, who touts his business experience as owner of Nutri Life Pet Products, wrote in the Northwest Herald’s candidate questionnaire that his top priority is to complete the forensic audit that residents have wanted so the township has a clear sense of its shaky finances.
The Grafton board earlier this year had to approve a short-term loan from the Road District to keep the township afloat, while a McHenry County judge has ordered Moore to pay the retainer needed to conduct a forensic audit.
“Grafton Township cannot continue to function or even exist under the current administration’s inability or desire to account for accurate financial information needed to run the day-to-day operations of the township,” Kearns wrote.
Kearns also wants to create a cooperative relationship with whomever is elected to the Grafton board. He also would end “the senseless spending” on lawsuits between the supervisor, trustees and township officials that is estimated to have cost township taxpayers more than $600,000.
Kearns has been campaigning with a slate of other independent candidates for trustee, highway commissioner and assessor, who have branded themselves as wanting to “Restore Grafton Township.”
Coming off her primary win, Fender has said she would get the township’s fiscal house in order, oversee the completion of audits, and end the frivolous spending on lawsuits. Fender, who currently serves as a Huntley trustee, also has highlighted her experience as a community organizer and public servant during her run for supervisor.
She wrote in her candidate questionnaire that she would want to revamp township services, such as the senior bus service, and bring back the township job center to help residents find work.
“The voters of Grafton Township have a chance to make a change, a change toward normalcy and cooperation,” Fender wrote. “It’s time to start helping people make a difference.”
Fender already has backed Republicans Betty Zirk and Robert Wagner, and independent Marcella “Marci” Gordon for trustee. Zirk is the only incumbent seeking re-election to the Grafton board, and Gordon is running separately from the Restore Grafton Township slate.
The three candidates are part of a crowded field of Republicans and independents seeking four trustee spots. The Restore Grafton Township slate includes Tamara Lueth, Joseph Holtorf and Dan Ziller Jr.
Other Republican candidates include Carol Williams and David Moore, who is Linda Moore’s husband and successfully ran as a write-in candidate during the primary.
The other contested races features no incumbents. Timothy Hoeft, who is a part of the Restore Grafton Township group, battles Republican Tom Poznanski for highway commissioner. Terra Jensen, also a part of the Independent slate, faces Republican Al Zielinski for assessor.
Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. during Tuesday’s election, which features a variety of local races throughout McHenry County.