The Republican primary election for the Lake County Board’s 10th District seat features two experienced politicians from Mundelein. Incumbent Charles “Chuck” Bartels is challenged by Fremont Township Trustee Jeralyn “Jeri” Atleson in the March 20 primary. Bartels was elected to the county board, which doubles as the Lake County Forest Preserve District board, in 2014. He serves on several county board committees, including the financial and administrative committee and one that oversees planning. Bartels touts his financial management experience as a strength.
“As vice chairman of the financial and administrative committee, I vote on every cost item, including budget approvals,” he said in a Daily Herald candidate questionnaire. The salaries and benefits for county board members occasionally has been a source of political controversy. Bartels called the current $41,969 salary “reasonable,” and said he supported the 2.5-percent pay increase scheduled for later this year.
Bartels said he’s waived the health insurance and pension benefits he’s eligible to receive as a county commissioner. “I believe in citizen officeholders with reasonable terms and no pensions for board service,” he said. Professionally, Bartels is an executive coach and consultant. He said he has the “deepest knowledge” of workforce development issues.
Atleson has served on the township board since 2013. She served on the Fremont Public Library District board from 2010 to 2013. Atleson said she’d resign her township post if elected to the county board.A certified public accountant, Atleson stressed her financial and governmental experience as qualifications for election in her questionnaire.
“My priority will be to maintain and grow the fiscal health of Lake County,” Atleson said. “With my experience as a CPA and as a Fremont Township trustee, I will bring the necessary skills to help bring that about.” Like Bartels, Atleson supported the notion of citizen legislators on the county board and said people shouldn’t make a career out of board service. In a follow-up interview, Atleson said she believes county commissioners are fairly compensated but opposed the upcoming raise.
If elected, Atleson said she would not accept a county pension or health care coverage.
Attorney David Spada of Wauconda is running a Republican primary write-in campaign for the post, too. The winner of the GOP primary will face Democrat Jessica Vealitzek in the November general election. Vealitzek is running unopposed in the Democratic primary. The 10th District includes parts of Mundelein, Round Lake Park, Wauconda, Hawthorn Woods and Long Grove.
By Russell Lissau