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Burr Ridge Mayor, Unofficial County Board Winner, Vows to Hold Multiple Offices Despite Referendum

Gary Grasso, the Burr Ridge mayor who had a narrow unofficial victory Tuesday night in his District 3 DuPage County Board race, said he still wants to hold both offices simultaneously.

Burr Ridge Mayor Gary Grasso said he does not plan on stepping down if his DuPage County Board victory Tuesday night becomes official, even after DuPage voters overwhelmingly supported an advisory referendum on the ballot discouraging politicians from holding multiple elected offices at the same time.

"If the results hold, I intend to hold both offices," Grasso said Wednesday morning.

At the end of the night Tuesday, Grasso held an 11-vote lead over Sharon E. Bryant (33,286 votes to 33,275) for the last of three District 3 spots on the DuPage County Board. The father of six, according to the Daily Herald's candidate profile, said he's been told it might be two weeks before all provisional ballots are counted and a result is official.

"Thank God I have so many children because it seems like that's going to be the margin of victory," he said.

On the same ballot as Grasso was an advisory referendum asking DuPage voters if state law should allow for one person to hold multiple elected offices at the same time. 

Of the 369,228 voters who voted on the referendum Tuesday, 90.1 percent supported it, meaning they believe someone should not be able to hold multiple offices simultaneously, and 9.9 percent did not. 

Grasso said he interpreted the referendum result not as a reflection of opinion on his situation, but as a reflection of voter discontent with higher-level state officials like General Assembly members drawing multiple pensions for holding multiple offices. 

"I don't believe that a part-time legislator should be getting a public pension for doing a part-time job," Grasso said. "I believe the referendum should be the start of that discussion." 

Grasso makes $6,000 per year as the mayor of Burr Ridge, village administrator Steve Stricker said, but receives no pension or benefits of any kind. 

As a DuPage County Board member, he would make around $50,000 per year according to this Daily Herald story from last spring, and Grasso said he would be eligible for health benefits and a pension.

"I'm not going to be looking for that," he said of the benefits.

Grasso's term as mayor is up in April 2013. He said he plans on running for re-election.

In a similar situation, Elmhurst Mayor Peter DiCianni won a spot Tuesday night on the county board in District 2, and has said he will step down as mayor.

Story written by Local Editor Joe O'Donnell

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