Spring election 2023: Salem Lakes village president Q&A

Voters in Salem Lakes will be able to vote in a contested election for village president in the April 4 election.

Two names will be on the ballot:

  • Rita Bucur
  • Diann Tesar, the incumbent.

The same questionnaire was submitted by westofthei.com to each candidate by email. Here is their biographical information followed by their question responses presented in alphabetical order:

Rita Bucur — Age: 50. Education: High School, Trade School. Occupation: Print Project Manager at Uline. Previous elected or appointed public office: n/a

Diann Tesar — Age: 64. Education: Masters of Arts in Teaching, Bachelor of Science Degree, Diploma in Medical Assisting. Occupation: Teacher. Previous elected or appointed public office: I’ve been in public office since 1991: First as Supervisor of Salem, second as Chairman of Salem, thirdly as President of Salem Lakes. Hooker Lake District Secretary for 16 years.

1.) Why are you the best candidate for Salem Lakes village president?

Bucur — I am running to bring positive change to Salem Lakes which starts at the Village Board level. Living here for 22 years, raising my family in our community, and as a taxpayer, I have a vested interest in doing everything I can to ensure Salem Lakes is a strong, viable and inviting community to live in, work in, and invest in. We need forward thinkers to make smart decisions on behalf of our community and the fortitude to make those decisions a reality. I believe that my time working at the Village gave me good insight into Village operations and departments. My decades of experience working for small and international companies managing, training and mentoring people, coordinating large and small scale national projects along with my organizational, problem solving, communication and project management skills will serve our community well. I have also held real estate licenses in Illinois and Wisconsin and will use the knowledge gained from that to help direct our community to a path of future prosperity keeping our small town atmosphere front of mind. My focus will be on supporting our local businesses so they can be successful, helping our schools thrive, and making sound decisions to enrich the lives of our residents. It’s important to me that our Village Board is acting in the community’s best interest. Change for the sake of change is not always good, but change to bring inclusion, new energy, ideas, and better practices will put our Village on the right track with a stronger sense of community as a whole is what I believe Salem Lakes needs.

Tesar — I have a genuine concern for Salem Lakes and its future. I’ve lived in Salem for almost 50 years, and I take pride in providing services that are vital to community health, safety, and economic prosperity. I am the best candidate for Salem Lakes President because I have the knowledge it takes to run this village efficiently and effectively. This is not a position that one should simply just decide to run for without ANY experience. It takes teamwork, dependability, and the ability to recognize problems, define the pertinent issues, and determine and propose effective solutions. I have led a myriad of issues facing Salem Lakes with 31 years of experience and currently, with the state of affairs as they are, this is essential. I have run a clean, forthright, campaign. I do not have a personal agenda, never did! I can honestly say that I want this village to thrive and make the citizens proud to live here.

2.) What do you see as the chief issues faced by the Village Board and how would you address them if elected?

Bucur — Trust and Transparency: I will put a high emphasis on open communication and dialogue to allow our residents, property owners, current business owners and those who wish to join our Village to have a voice and be heard. We need to do better with proactive communication on all levels, making public meeting documents easily accessible during meetings and on the website. A more open approach, allowing citizens to see the information the boards and commissions use as a basis in their decision making would alleviate a lot of problems and concerns, or at least give insite into the why and how a decision was made. We need to give citizens a platform to interact with the various commissions and boards. With positive changes and inclusion I think we can rebuild trust. Addressing Problems and Implementing Solutions: I will push to find ways to streamline how we address any issue brought forth so we can be effective in moving forward to create positive change. All concerns and complaints must be dealt with promptly and professionally, with respect and without bias. Everyone must be treated fairly with the same rules every time. Currently, there are a number of pressing issues that have been drawn out for far too long with no solution. That is unacceptable and we need to do better. Strong Leadership: A leader leads by example, fostering relationships, guiding and inspiring those around them to do better. I will lead our Village Board and staff with a sense of duty and obligation to our community, keeping focus on shared goals, and maintaining open communication with the public. Keeping a professional decorum during meetings is essential. I will hold staff accountable, encourage cross department communication and work to unify our community. Economic Development: Salem Lakes has fallen behind other communities around us due to a lack of development, both commercial and residential. To support our community and give our taxpayers some relief, we need to have commercial businesses. I do not want to bring in big box stores, but we do need to encourage small businesses and give them as much support as we can. I want my neighbors to be able to live here, own a business here and be able to thrive in our Village. We need more affordable residential housing as this will help to support our schools. I would love to see senior housing as that is a growing need in our area. We must make smart choices, which is why I am in support of an economic council made up of qualified, diverse individuals that can make decisions keeping with our small town priorities and footprint. This is essential in keeping Salem Lakes viable in the future. 

Tesar — I would like to address the opprobrium others have given the village these past two months and restore our residents faith. I would proceed with the new grievance procedure and remedy businesses facing problems with fire and building code issues. I hope to establish healthy business relations and pursue economic growth while maintaining fiscal responsibility. I would like to see the Salem Industrial Park fill to capacity (almost there!) bringing in more jobs to the Village. I hope to maintain a financially viable Village that can maintain an adequate level of municipal services to our residents in order to continually adapt to local and regional economic changes. We have excellent people working together for a shared vision (Parks Dept., Planning & Zoning etc.) and I hope that, with time, it only gets better!


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