Brolley a candidate for Montgomery president : News : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
|Brolley a candidate for Montgomery president|
|Village board member confirms plan to challenge Keck in April election|
|by John Etheredge|
A second Montgomery Village Board member has entered the race for village president.
Matt Brolley confirmed Monday he plans to circulate and file petitions to have his named placed on the April 9 ballot as a candidate for the village's top elective position.
Bill Keck, a village board member since 1993, announced his plans to seek election as village president last month.
Keck's announcement came days after incumbent Village President Marilyn Michelini announced she will step down when her current term expires after the April election.
Michelini has served as village president since 2001. She twice ran un-challenged for the position, first in 2001 and then in 2009.
Brolley, 32, was first elected to a four-year term on the board in 2011. Prior to that time, he served four years on the village plan commission, including a brief stint as commission chairman.
He has lived in the village since his family moved to the Seasons Ridge Subdivision from the unincorporated Boulder Hill Subdivision when he was seven years-old.
Brolley and his wife recently purchased a new home in the Orchard Prairie North Subdivision on the village's west side.
He works full-time as a civil engineer with the V3 Companies in Woodridge. A 2000 graduate of Oswego High School, Brolley earned a bachelor's degree in physics from North Central College in Naperville and a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Brolley said he has decided to run for village president because he disagrees with the vision that some of his board colleagues have for the village.
"Frankly, numerous times Bill Keck has expressed a desire to govern on a case-by-case basis and I've said that I believe that is the opposite of what you need to do to govern. You need to govern fairly and equally for everybody," Brolley said, adding, "That's one of my biggest concerns (with the board) over the past few years."
Brolley said he believes his experience on the board and his prior experience on the plan commission qualify him to serve as village president.
He added that as a civil engineer he is familiar with the infrastructure issues and accompanying financing issues now confronting the village.
If elected, Brolley said his first priority as village president would be to work to shift the board's focus from attempting to manage the day-to-day operations of the village to "more of a vision for the future."
Specifically, Brolley said he would like to review the staffing levels at village hall.
"I know there has been an effort to reduce the staff, but we've also lost a lot of our key employees and, obviously, our manager has departed over the past year and the board has chosen not to fill those positions," he said. "There are remaining staff members who, I believe, are being stretched and pushed and asked to do too much. I think we need to look at that."
Another priority, Brolley said, would be to work to attract national chain restaurants to the U.S. Route 30-Orchards Road corridors on the village's west side, and to the Ogden Hill Subdivision shopping center at Route 30 and U.S. Route 34 on the village's east side.
He noted that currently residents on the village's west side have to drive to the other side of the village or to Oswego if they wish to dine out.
"The easiest way to reduce property taxes is to increase sales taxes and you do that by bringing in big box businesses-if possible-and other businesses that can generate revenue," he said.
As village president, Brolley said he would also actively attempt to get to know all of the village's state representatives, other mayors and municipal managers and administrators in the area.
"That kind of stuff I've been doing in a limited role as a board member, but I would love to do that more as village president," he said.
Brolley said he is currently developing his plans for the spring campaign.
As a candidate for his current board seat in 2011, he said he knocked on the doors of over 1,100 homes in an effort to meet village residents before election day.
"I'm not sure if I will go to that extent this time, because I don't know how effective it was," he said, adding, "But I already frequently go to village events. Those run by the village, the chamber, the MEDC (Montgomery Economic Development Corporation) and the HOA's (homeowner associations). I do that so I can meet people and learn what their needs and wants are."
Asked to assess Michelini's tenure as village president, Brolley said, "I certainly think her first eight years were a lot easier than her last four for a number of reasons. One reason would be the economy was better, the other would be the make-up of the board. I'm not sure if it was a result of the economy or not, but I think it would be hard for anybody to manage the differences of opinion that we currently have on this board."
Brolley said he believes he could lead the board, even if it remains largely unchanged following the April election.
He attributed part of the board's current disagreement to a lack of communication.
"I think one of the main focuses in the managing of the board is that the board members get the information they desire or require as much in advance as possible so there can be discussion on it," he said.
When he was first elected to the board two years ago, Brolley said he recalled saying that he believes that all seven people who serve on the board care very deeply about the village.
"I still agree with that, but I think we vary in a great way about how we all want to get that done," he said, adding, "I think some of the decisions we have made have been done with current term in mind. With a young family with a son and daughter at home, I want to build a community that they can grow up in. I have fond memories of growing up in this area and I want my children to one day also have their own fond memories."