Rail safety advocate gets nod in Villa Park

Posted Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A railroad safety advocate has been appointed to the Villa Park village board.

Board members voted 4-1 to appoint John Davis to serve as a trustee through May 2007, filling out the term for a previously open seat.

Trustee Thomas Cullerton, who voted against the Davis nomination, said he wasn’t taking a position against Davis, but rather the timing of an appointment roughly four months before an election.

In September 2004 as a trustee, Village President Joyce Stupegia voted against a measure by a former village president to appoint former Trustee Joshua Bruschuk to the board, Cullerton said, “because it was six months before an election and it was too close to do that.”

Cullerton asked why it was OK for Stupegia to so now.

Stupegia said the work by Davis to promote railroad safety and advocate for fencing along rails made Davis “an excellent candidate.”

Given his work on that safety committee, headed by Stupegia, she said, “Not only am I backing him here, I am willing to back him fully to fill a vacancy in his run for trustee.”

Davis said Monday night that he will seek election to a 2-year term on the board.

Stupegia said since that 2004 vote, she sees the issue of appointments near an election differently.

“I didn’t know it was a crime to change one’s mind,” Stupegia said.

While Monday night’s vote was not unanimous, trustees said they were united in their opinions that Davis was up to the challenge of his new job.

As a new trustee, Davis, 31, said he would concentrate on making railroad safety and measures to promote economic development in the village his priority of the next several months.

Coming onto a board that often has been divided over most issues and locked into heated debates, Davis said, “I’m hoping as a new person, I might be a new light with new ideas.”