BELLEVILLE — The city's three-way race for mayor has resulted in increased competition in other City Council offices, too.
The two independent candidates for mayor, Joe Hayden and Phil Elmore, have announced additional candidates on their tickets -- for city clerk and wards four, five and six -- in the April election.
On Hayden's ticket, Dallas Cook will run for city clerk, Michael Hagberg will run for alderman of Ward 5 and Bob White will run for alderman of Ward 6.
On Elmore's ticket, Mona Monken-Gehrs will run for alderwoman of Ward 4.
Monken-Gehrs will run against incumbent Tim Carpenter, an independent aligned with Hayden, and Johnnie Anthony, a former Ward 4 alderman aligned with incumbent Mayor Mark Eckert.
Monken-Gehrs is a Belleville businesswoman who also works with Hill-Rom, a medical supply company. Elmore said her commercial real estate experience will serve constituents well as the city works on economic development and crime-free housing issues.
Eckert's party, Neighborhoods for Good Government, has a full slate of candidates for all the open positions: mayor, city clerk, treasurer and aldermen for wards one to eight.
The Neighborhoods for Good Government party has incumbent City Clerk Linda Fields running for re-election, incumbent Phil Silsby for alderman of Ward 5 and incumbent Dave Martinson for alderman of Ward 6.
Eckert said he's not surprised by the candidates who have aligned with Hayden.
For one, Cook is the son of Rodger Cook, a former mayor of Belleville and candidate in this year's GOP primary for the 12th Congressional District.
Hayden and Rodger Cook were part of the same Progressive Party in 1997, the same year the opposing party's Mark Kern won the mayor's race, Eckert was elected alderman and Fields was elected city clerk.
Fields is a Master Municipal Clerk, which means she has obtained a series of certifications from the Municipal Clerks of Illinois' institute and academy. Before elected as city clerk, Fields worked in the city treasurer's office for nearly two decades.
"I just think Linda's one of the best clerks around," Eckert said. "She's got a lot of experience and cares deeply about Belleville."
Cook studied political science at Illinois State University and recently worked as the Missouri project director for the Madison Project, a group that raises money for conservative candidates.
Cook said in a news release that he initially was interested in running for city treasurer but found that Hayden preferred a candidate who was a certified public accountant.
"While talking with Joe, we both recognized how much we have in common when it comes to plans for improving Belleville for all of our citizens," said Cook. "So when he told me I'd be a perfect fit for the city clerk position, I decided to seek that elected office."
Cook also said he would use technology and social media to better inform residents.
Eckert said he hasn't seen Cook at many city meetings, but Hagberg and White are well-known faces at City Hall.
"Mr. Hagberg is quite outspoken. Mr. White doesn't say a lot," Eckert said.
Hayden said Hagberg, an independent computer programmer and consultant, has attended almost every City Council meeting since April 2011. Hagberg said he started attending meetings during the controversy over the city's actions on the Meredith Home.
White, a retired officer with the U.S. Air Force, ran for alderman in 2011 and lost. White said he's overwhelmed by the number of people who have asked him to run again.
"Bob's commitment to greater government transparency is evidenced by his volunteer role in recording City Council meetings and posting the videos on the internet, for all to see," Hayden said.
White's recordings of public meetings could be found at www.youtube.com/bellevilleweb.
Contact reporter Jacqueline Lee at email@example.com or 239-2655. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/BNDBelleville.