ST. CHARLES – Blue Goose Market President and CEO Paul Lencioni wants to be on the St. Charles City Council – and not only will he have to sway voters, he will also have sway current aldermen as well.
City code currently prohibits St. Charles public officials – including local liquor control commission members, the mayor and aldermen – from obtaining or holding a liquor license in the city. Lencioni holds a liquor license because Blue Goose sells alcohol.
"There's not a supermarket that sells a can of beer that isn't required to have a liquor license," Lencioni said.
The state's liquor control act allows an alderman or mayor to obtain a liquor license for a location in the city as long as the the sale of alcohol is incidental to the selling of food. However, they are not able to vote on alcohol related items.
Lencioni's family has deep roots in St. Charles. In 1928, Annunciata “Nancy” Lencioni – his great-grandmother – opened the Blue Goose Fruit Market in what had been Gartner’s Bakery, 201 W Main St. The store moved to its current location at 300 S. 2nd St. in downtown St. Charles in 2008.
"I care deeply about St. Charles," he said. "St. Charles is an amazing city, no matter who you are and what you do. We always have to be thinking about how do we connect the city together, because we're stronger together. It's the concept of being stronger together that drives me."
Lencioni has picked up an election packet to run for 3rd Ward alderman in April. Nomination packets must be filed by Dec. 21.
Lucy Gruber was recently appointed to fill the 3rd Ward alderman following the resignation of former alderman William Turner on Aug. 10. Turner's term expires in May.
Lencioni said he applied for the vacancy. During the City Council's Government Operations Committee meeting in August, the majority of aldermen had said they want to see the ban on public officials holding liquor licenses continue. Lencioni's name was not mentioned during the discussion.
However, 4th Ward Alderman Lora Vitek said she thought it was time to lift the ban.
"We all take an oath to be ethical and to follow rules and laws," she said. "There are plenty other rules and laws that can be broken outside of liquor...We have plenty of really smart, intelligent business owners out here that hold a liquor license. They should be given the opportunity I think to run for public office if they so choose."
Lencioni said residents should have the right to decide who they want representing them.
"Why would you ever limit the liberty and the ability for the citizens to choose who represents them?" he asked. "I want the residents to have the opportunity to choose. I believe in my experience."
As alderman, Lencioni said he would always put the interests of St. Charles first.
"We the people are St. Charles," he said. "And that needs to be the rallying cry for all of the things that we do. I just want to help my town be the best town that it can be, for me and my neighbors."