Kearns at helm in Grafton
Grafton Township has elected James Kearns as township supervisor, a man who promises to bring peace to the township amid an atmosphere of toxic relationships and lawsuits that has been a way of life for the last four years.
According to unofficial results and with all precincts reporting, Kearns had 1,944 votes while Pam Fender, a Huntley trustee and Republican, had 1,877 votes.
Although Fender conceded the race earlier in the night, Kearns was cautious about declaring himself the winner, since he won by only 67 votes.
Still, if the official results show he is the winner, he has a lot of work to do when it comes to repairing relationships among the board and righting the township's finances.
Officials estimate the township has spent between $475,000 and $600,000 on lawsuits between outgoing Supervisor Linda Moore and the current trustees, between Moore and the outgoing assessor and between Moore and the outgoing road commissioner.
"I just want to move this township into a peaceful place," Kearns said.
Fender, sounding defeated, couldn't explain why she lost and said she's had better days.
"I wish the residents of Grafton Township good luck, and I hope it all goes the way they want it to," she said. "They didn't want what I gave out as a platform."
With the exception of Betty Zirk, an entirely new board will take over. According to unofficial results, Robert Wagner had 2,165 votes, Dan Ziller Jr. had 1,963 votes, Zirk had 1,844 votes and Joseph Holtorf had 1,739 votes.
Losing the election were Tamara Lueth with 1,694 votes, Carol Williams with 1,453 votes, Marcella Gordon with 1,420 votes and David Moore -- Linda Moore's husband -- with 1,156 votes.
One of the main jobs of the new administration will be fixing the township's finances -- Linda Moore has threatened to close the township for a month later in April due to a lack of funds.
The trustee candidates have varying ideas as well.
Ziller Jr. said the township needs to complete its audits so officials know exactly where they are financially, while Zirk said borrowing money against the township's future property tax collections could be another option.
Wagner, Crystal Lake's former mayor, agrees the township needs to end the lawsuits and says it also should do a cash flow analysis with an auditor to see how much money the township actually has.