O'Fallon Progress

Over 100 turn out for Shiloh mayoral, trustee candidate forum

Shiloh mayoral candidates debate the issues

During Tuesday, March 14 Shiloh, IL village election forum, mayoral candidates Jim Vernier and Jerry Northway shared thoughts and plans on village's future.
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During Tuesday, March 14 Shiloh, IL village election forum, mayoral candidates Jim Vernier and Jerry Northway shared thoughts and plans on village's future.

The village of Shiloh candidate forum for the upcoming mayoral and trustee April 4 election drew more than 100 attendees on Tuesday evening, March 14 at the Senior Center.

“Unlike the last election’s attendance, we had all the seats filled tonight,” Debbie Arell-Martinez, O’Fallon-Shiloh Chamber of Commerce director, said.

The chamber, along with the O’Fallon Progress and O’Fallon Weekly, co-sponsored the forum.

All village races are contested. There are two mayoral candidates, including the incumbent, and four trustee candidates running for three spots on the board, with two incumbents seeking re-election.

Mayoral Race

Jim Vernier

With 16 consecutive years as mayor, James “Jim” Vernier II said he hopes to retain his position against his opponent Jerry Northway.

First elected as a trustee in 1984, when Shiloh’s entire budget was $58,000 a year, Vernier said that it seems like a long time ago.

“My family’s been here, they settled here in 1895, and I still live on three acres of the land they originally my great-great-grandparents owned. I’ve seen a lot of change in Shiloh… Most of Lebanon Avenue was occupied by cows back when I was a child, so I’ve seen a lot of growth,” Vernier said.

Prior to his mayorship, Vernier served as a trustee for 16 years, and before that he worked with the Shiloh Improvement Association, beginning at the age of 16, he told attendees.

My family’s been here, they settled here in 1895, and I still live on three acres of the land they originally my great-great-grandparents owned. I’ve seen a lot of change in Shiloh… Most of Lebanon Avenue was occupied by cows back when I was a child, so I’ve seen a lot of growth.

Jim Vernier, Shiloh mayoral incumbent

“I work for Phillips Company. I have been with them for 39 years as the safety and operations director. We’re a commercial plaster and drywall contractor, and we do in volume about double what the village of Shiloh does in volume a year. But in the past few years, we have seen tremendous growth in Shiloh. My most proudest moment was cutting the ribbon at Memorial Hospital (East),” he said.

Jerry Northway

Northway has been a 30-year resident of Shiloh, who has 30 years experience running his own electrical contracting business. He has also worked part-time for the community in code enforcement, doing public projects, and military training in leadership, all of which he says have primed him for being at the helm of the village.

“Over the time, our community has grown from about 400 to 14,000 — a time has come for a full-time mayor to hold office hours and participate in the daily activities for continued expansion for all. In my first day as mayor, I will remind everyone that receives a check from Shiloh that the signature at the bottom comes from the citizens as we continue to work together for Shiloh’s future,” Northway said.

Northway raised five main points he plans to accomplish over his four-years if elected mayor: term limits; comparable wages for public works; spending accountability; building a new police station; and government transparency.

Our citizens should be free to elect to office whomever they want. However, any system without term limits is a stacked deck. Any system that allows incumbents to amass so much power and attention in office that challengers can rarely win is surely in need of a correction.

Jerry Northway, Shiloh mayoral candidate

“Our citizens should be free to elect to office whomever they want. However, any system without term limits is a stacked deck. Any system that allows incumbents to amass so much power and attention in office that challengers can rarely win is surely in need of a correction,” Northway said.

Trustee races

Tina Warchol

Trustee incumbent Tina Warchol was unable to attend the forum. She has been a trustee since 2009, and is running for her third term in this race. She is a manager at Norm’s Bargain Barn in Shiloh. Warchol was unavailable for comment.

Bob Weilmuenster

A trustee since 2013, Weilmuenster is running for his second term. A business owner for many years, Weilmuenster said if he’s re-elected he will continue his streak of “listening to the residents and common-sense voting.”

“I have a very positive outlook for Shiloh with development that’s coming in. Some of the things we cannot talk about, some of them we can. A lot of people don’t understand that Dierbergs, Target is (in the) village of Shiloh, but it is tax dollars go to O’Fallon schools, so development of Three Springs is going to help Shiloh schools tremendously,” Weilmuenster said.

Weilmuenster said his voting history has been consistent and reliable.

I have a very positive outlook for Shiloh with development that’s coming in. Some of the things we cannot talk about, some of them we can. A lot of people don’t understand that Dierbergs, Target is (in the) village of Shiloh, but it is tax dollars go to O’Fallon schools, so development of Three Springs is going to help Shiloh schools tremendously.

Bob Weilmuenster, Shiloh trustee incumbent

His vision for Three Springs at Shiloh development is a positive one, he said, especially because its progress will directly support Shiloh schools with sales tax dollars.

“I support the schools here. We have some great schools here, and we have to continue to fund them appropriately to grow the community and to have a nice place for people to come and want to buy houses here keeps property values up,” he said.

Kenny Bouas

Twenty-two year Shiloh resident Kenny Bouas said his experiences as a retired police officer, which some of that was accrued while serving on the Shiloh Police force, as well as other departments like Randolph County Sheriff, Marissa Police and Mascoutah Police departments, would make him a good board member.

“I think I can effectively manage the business for the village, and my main thing is I have the ability to listen to problems when the public comes to me,” Bouas said.

Other qualifications Bouas listed were his time as a supervisor of up to 50 employees in the mining industry for many years; having been a trustee for the last eight years on the Mascoutah Police Pension board; as well as owing a successful, small business, BiState Security and Investigative Services Inc.

Some of the significant challenges I see facing Shiloh is going to be maintaining fiscal responsibility with the budget, balancing the growth in the village while keeping the quality of life high for our residents. I believe in transparency. I want to have an open-door policy. And, to achieve these challenges, I’m going to make sure that, ya know, the residents want to talk to me. I’m gonna be their voice at the village hall.

Kenny Bouas, Shiloh trustee candidate

“Some of the significant challenges I see facing Shiloh is going to be maintaining fiscal responsibility with the budget, balancing the growth in the village while keeping the quality of life high for our residents. I believe in transparency. I want to have an open-door policy. And, to achieve these challenges, I’m going to make sure that, ya know, the residents want to talk to me. I’m gonna be their voice at the village hall,” Bouas said.

Mark Hermann

Mark Hermann has a 14-year tenure living in the village, and while he is retired, he boasts 30 years in sales and purchasing in the meat industry, with his last position as a vice president of a company.

“I consider, right now, the No. 1 priority for Shiloh is to expand the businesses in the community. By expanding the businesses in the community, you’ll add more local jobs. It’ll increase the tax bases, and by increasing the tax base for Shiloh residents, it’ll put less of a tax burden on the taxpayers,” he said.

Hermann also said being successful in business would help prepare him for the board.

Through my years in the business world, I’ve learned that one person can’t do it all. Your ideas will not always be correct. You’re best off listening to the people around you, which here, it would be all the citizens. Take those ideas, figure out which correct way to do it, and pick the right way. Don’t just assume, ‘I know it all. It’s my way or the highway.’

Mark Hermann, Shiloh trustee candidate

“Through my years in the business world, I’ve learned that one person can’t do it all. Your ideas will not always be correct. You’re best off listening to the people around you, which here, it would be all the citizens. Take those ideas, figure out which correct way to do it, and pick the right way. Don’t just assume, ‘I know it all. It’s my way or the highway,’ ” Hermann said.

Robyn L. Kirsch: 618-239-2690, @BND_RobynKirsch

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