Free-flowing Water Reclamation District primary

  • Mary Ann Salemi

    Mary Ann Salemi

  • Todd Connor

    Todd Connor

  • Kathleen O'Reilley

    Kathleen O'Reilley

  • Stella Black

    Stella Black

  • Maureen Kelly

    Maureen Kelly

  • Kari Steele

    Kari Steele

  • Barbara McGowan

    Barbara McGowan

  • Mariyana Spyropoulos

    Mariyana Spyropoulos

  • Michael Alvarez

    Michael Alvarez

  • Wallace Davis

    Wallace Davis

Updated 1/18/2010 7:48 PM

Ten Democrats are trying to squeeze into three commissioner openings on the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District in the Feb. 2 primary.

The district is in charge of stormwater management for Cook County, wastewater handling, flood protection and improving the water quality of Lake Michigan.


Eight Chicagoans and two west Cook suburbanites are running for the part-time, six-year terms that pay $70,000 a year.

Here's a look at the field of two incumbents and eight newcomers.

• Michael Alvarez, 29, is a Chicago public affairs consultant with a master's degree from Northwestern University, who worked for President Obama when he was a U.S. senator. Alvarez wants to increase competitive bidding for district contracts.

• Stella Black is a Chicago property tax consultant with a master's degree in public administration and a real estate broker's license. She is a member of the Sierra Club. Improving water quality by working to eliminate traces of pharmaceutical products is a key priority.

• Todd Connor, 31, is a Chicago management consultant with a master's degree in business from the University of Chicago. He served in the Navy from 2000 to 2004. He wants the contract awards process to be more transparent. He also supports disinfecting the waterways.

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• Wallace Davis III, 40, is general superintendent with the Chicago Department of Water Management. He has a degree from Robert Morris University. His priority is improving stormwater management in order to reduce pollution and flooding in homes and businesses.

• Maureen Kelly of Chicago is executive director of community and government relations at St. Xavier University. She previously worked for U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin. She advocates an economic impact study of the watershed management ordinance and its suburban impact.

• Barbara McGowan, 65, of Chicago is an incumbent, who has a high school diploma and some college education. She would advocate for hiring minority, women and small-business contractors and wants the district's affirmative action program to be a state model.

• Kathleen Mary O'Reilley, 53, of River Forest is an administrative assistant with some college education. She supports reducing district taxes by decreasing the number of commissioners, their staff and perks. She also advocates green technology, such as windmills.


• Mary Ann Salemi, 44, is village clerk of Melrose Park. She has a bachelor's degree from DePaul University. Her priorities include sponsoring legislation to review the effectiveness of reservoirs, restricting land use in floodplain areas and promoting conservation.

Salemi's petitions face a petition challenge.

• Mariyana Spyropoulos is an incumbent and Chicago attorney with a master's degree in business from Loyola University. She is a former Cook County prosecutor. She wants to beef up ethics codes to tighten the revolving-door policy and increase transparency.

• Kari Steele, 34, is a Chicago chemist, Sierra Club member and chairman of the Young Democrats of Cook County. She wants to increase education outreach to residents about water conservation and the role of the district and to reduce energy used at treatment plants.

Uncontested candidates in the primary are Republicans Paul Chialdikas and Jimmy Lee Tillman II, and Green Party members Nadine Bopp, Diana Horton and Jack Ailey.

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