LaGrange Park trustee resigns, cites differences
Updated: October 30, 2012 11:05AM
LAGRANGE PARK — After serving for less than two years, Village Trustee Susan Storcel stepped down, citing ideological differences with village leadership. She was elected as a member of the new Rose Party, formed to challenge candidates backed by the LaGrange Park Caucus.
“It was a shock. I didn’t see it coming,” said Village President Jim Discipio. “I have nothing but respect for Sue. She has talent, she’s professional and brings great ideas. She was a stabilizing factor.”
Not even Rose Party Chairman Jason Vitell knew Storcel’s decision to resign. Vitell said he intended to report on a forum hosted by the Rose Party, but changed his mind when Storcel made her announcement.
In a statement read to the board Oct. 23, Storcel expressed disappointment partisanship didn’t fade after the 2011 election, when the LaGrange Park Caucus was challenged for the first time since 1936.
“When respect is lacking, hostility and personal attacks and biases overshadow the discussion,” she said.
Storcel, an attorney and mediator, said in municipal government, political campaigning should end after the election.
“I am not convinced that our village leadership agrees with that premise,” she said.
Storcel cited as problems recent appointment to boards and commissions, which passed over qualified candidates due to party affiliation, and the pursuit of personal agendas, such as building a new, expensive pubic works garage the village couldn’t afford. Current plans call for remodeling the existing structure.
Vitell said it’s essential residents become aware of village issues and the political climate that drove Storcel to resign.
“Our current leadership does not have the best interest of the community or a vision for the future,” Vitell said. “When the Rose Party formed with citizens putting forward ideas on how to make the village a better place, we were dismissed as sour grapes.”
Vitell said the village president is short sighted, because “he simply won’t work with someone who has a different point of view.”
Discipio pointed to hiring an assistant village manager with economic development expertise, establishing a village economic development committee and offering an electrical aggregation program to save residents money.
“I really believe that what we’re doing is working, and it’s evident to outsiders and to residents,” he said.
The village president reiterated his previous opposition to political parties on the local level.
“I’ve never been in favor of politics, whether it’s the Rose Party or the caucus. This is what happens, strife, disagreement and hurt feelings,” he said.
State law allows Discipio to appoint a replacement until the next municipal election, April 9, when someone can run to fill the remaining two years of Storcel’s term.