By Igor Studenkov | For the Bugle
On the Niles Library board, the two seats were up for grabs, the only incumbent on the ballot got the lowest number of votes.
Diane Olson, a Park Ridge-Niles School Dist. 64 librarian, wound up getting the highest number of votes, wound up getting the highest number of votes. She earned 2,136, which accounts for 40.83 percent of the votes cast.
Robert Breit, a fourth-grade teacher at Oak Park’s Lincoln Elementary School, was appointed to fill the vacancy left by Matyas’ resignation, taking his seat on Aug. 17, 2016. He ran to keep his seat, but he earned 1,408 votes, which accounted for 26.9 percent of the overall vote tally.
Both Olson and Breit got support from board president Linda Ryan. In the afternoon, she was on hand in front of the polling place at the library, handing out campaign fliers promoting the two as candidates who are passionate about the library, and that strong library makes a strong community.
Olson herself was handing out the fliers near the polling place at the Grennan Heights fieldhouse.
“I am running because I think the Niles is a very strong community, and I would like to see the library supported,” she said. “I am a librarian I see the benefits of having a library that speaks to the community, that offers programs and services.”
Olson said that, while she didn’t necessarily oppose to raising taxes if there was a strong need for it, she intended to do her best to avoid the increases.
“I would like to make sure that taxes are kept to a minimum, because I know that’s on most people’s minds these days,” she said. We can still have a strong library and keep the taxes down.”
Dennis Martin earned 32.25 percent of the vote, the second highest percentage of the vote. That accounted for 1,687 votes. Library trustee Carolyn Drblik was near the Grennan Heights polling place, and she made no secret about who she was supporting in the race.
“I decided that [Martin] is the only qualified candidate,” she said. “We don’t need to add more of what we already have.”
As Drblik saw, most of the trustees on the board were too careless about spending, citing the board’s decision to switch the employee retirement benefits from a 401(k)-like private plan to the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund public pension system, as the board’s decision to raise the 2016 tax levy, as examples. Having Martin on the board, she said, would bring a valuable perspective.
“It’s helpful to watch how you spend money, not harmful,” Drblik said.
Matyas was also at the polling place, and while she told the Bugle that she was there to encourage residents to vote for Promises Kept slate, she made it clear that she also supported Martin.
“[The library trustees] have to stop the spending,” Matyas said. “They have to look at what they’re doing, and realize that taxpayers’ pockets are getting pretty empty.”
Both she and Drbilk said that they had a problem with the board’s decision to keep the money raised through the Friends of the Library book sale.
“That money should be used for the library, not to pay for a staff party,” Matyas said.