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Four to be considered for Geneva’s 5th Ward vacancy

GENEVA – Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns said he will decide the week of May 13 which of four applicants will be named to finish a two-year term left in the 5th Ward by the death of Ralph Dantino.

The four are August D. Fesi Jr., Tom Simonian, Robert Swanson and Jerry Cass Jr. The names were released after a Freedom of Information Act request. Dantino died of cancer in February while serving in his first term. His name was on the ballot for re-election.

Burns said 5th Ward Alderman Craig Maladra and 3rd Ward Alderman Dawn Vogelsberg have interviewed all four.

“And I am in discussions with both those aldermen regarding those interviews,” Burns said. “Obviously, I will be giving them my full time and attention, Craig and Dawn’s perspective and insight.”

Although the new alderman would be appointed at the May 20 meeting, Burns said he personally would contact all four the week before, but not necessarily announce his choice of new alderman unless the chosen person agrees.

“I want to be respectful of all the candidates. Whoever is selected, I will ask their permission of how they prefer to move forward – if they want to be identified ahead of time, that is going to be up to them,” Burns said. “Depending on how we announce it, I will work collaboratively with them.”

In any event, the new alderman’s name would appear on the agenda for that Monday meeting by Thursday the week before, Burns said.

“A lot of work still needs to be done, conversations still need to be had,” Burns said. “We want to choose the best candidate. We have four great candidates. That speaks so well of our community.”

According to his application, Fesi is a volunteer for the Kane County Forest Preserve and formerly worked as head of vehicle maintenance for the Carol Stream Fire Protection District.

Simonian had considered running for the 5th Ward, but only if Dantino chose not to run, according to his application for alderman. He is founder and CEO of Incentives Inc., Array Enterprises, and from 2009 to the present, of Hang In There Inc.

Swanson, a self-employed business owner with his wife, bought Riverbank Laboratories in 1999 and relocated it to the city’s 1st Ward, according to his application for alderman.

Swanson also is CEO of United Valve Service Inc. since 1993, relocating it from Chicago to Geneva in 1995.

Swanson also served on the board of the Geneva History Center since 2009.

Cass is an employee of St. Charles for 21 years, previously in the sewer and water divisions and currently in the electric division. According to his application, Cass has experience in municipal budgeting and 18 years experience as a union steward.

Cass also is a precinct committeeman in Geneva and cooks for the annual spaghetti fundraiser for his church’s preschool, Bethlehem Lutheran Church in St. Charles.

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