Rock Island County Board member Phil Banaszek, D-Moline, wants to become the new county board chairman.
He is the second board member to announce his desire to replace current board chairman Jim Bohnsack, who is not seeking re-election. Gary Freeman, D-East Moline, already announced he wants the job.
Mr. Banaszek and Mr. Freeman first will have to win re-election against Republican challengers in the November elections before they could be elected chairman.
Mr. Banaszek, District 9, first was elected to the county board in 1994 as a Republican before switching parties. He's being challenged by Bill Bloom, a district director for U.S. Rep. Bobby Schilling, R-Colona.
In District 2, Mr. Freeman faces East Moline correctional officer Ron Camper.
Mr. Banaszek, chairman of the county's finance and budget committees, said Friday that he had begun laying the groundwork for a run at the county's top job. He works at the East Moline Correctional Center but will be eligible for retirement Dec. 1, which would allow him to take on the chairman's position fulltime, he said.
The chairman is elected on the first Monday in December after the general election and the job has a salary of $87,600, with a $2,400 stipend. The county board voted in May to cut the salary of the chairman from $90,000 to $87,600 on Dec. 1, 2012, and to reduce the salary for regular board members from $6,500 to $2,400.
While Mr. Bohnsack said he wouldn't publicly endorse a candidate to take over his job, "I've told people Phil (Banaszek) is probably the better choice."
Mr. Freeman, like Mr. Bohnsack, worked for John Deere before retiring. He is chairman of the county's administration committee and has been a county board member since 1995. Mr. Freeman cites his experience managing large budgets and a considerable workforce while employed at Deere as evidence he could handle the job.
"I've never shied away from a leadership position," he said.
All 25 county board seats are up for election this year and the Republicans are running 24 candidates, which means the balance of power on the board could shift after the election. Currently, there are four Republicans on the board.
County board member Rod Simmer, R-Rock Island, said it was too early to speculate on who could emerge from his party to run for chairman if Republicans win a majority, or increase their number of seats significantly.
He said whoever does get the job should be somebody "who can work with both parties."
Today is Tuesday, May 21, the 141st day of 2013. There are 224 days left in the year. 1863 -- 150 years ago: On Monday the 11th inst. on Center Ridge in Mercer County,some citizens got out their cannon to celebrate the taking of Richmond. The gun wasoverloaded and burst. No one was injured, but one 30-pound piece went though thesecond story of a house. 1888 -- 125 years ago: The old folks concert at the Harper Theater last night to benefit St.Luke's Cottage Hospital, attracted a large audience. 1913 -- 100 years ago: Unless depredation by vandals in Rock Island parks is halted,special policemen will be assigned to night duty to protect the flowers and other property. 1938 -- 75 years ago: Station WHBF has received a special citation from Washington forits participation in Air Mail Week, which was observed this week throughout the nation. 1963 -- 50 years ago: A 10-year high in employment in the Quad-City area was reachedat the end of the last quarter, according to an industrial employment barometer releasedtoday. 1988 -- 25 years ago: Pee Wee teams will be able to play baseball and softball as usualon Diamond Three at Dorrance Park this summer, but after that, the ball field is doomed.County crews have put the diamond back in shape after heavy trucks marred the playingfield earlier this spring. Illinois Department of Transportation crews drove onto it to makeborings for the relocation of the junction of Illinois 84 and the Port Byron-Hillsdale road.