FRANKLIN GROVE – Franklin Grove has only a tiny fraction of Lee County’s population, but it’s the home of one of the county’s most high-profile leaders.
Village President Bob Logan, 60, is not one to shy from controversy. For the last few years, he has been attending Lee County meetings on wind energy, calling for more regulation of wind turbines.
In 2011, he asked the county’s ad hoc wind committee to take public comment during its meetings. He cited a new provision under the state Open Meetings Act that required such input.
The county refused his request, so Logan took the matter to the attorney general, who ruled in the village president’s favor.
Months later, then-County Board Chairman Jim Seeberg, R-Ashton, decided against reappointing Logan to the county planning commission. Usually, members who want reappointment get their wishes.
Logan claimed retaliation for his complaint to the attorney general. Seeberg never revealed his reasoning.
In late 2011, Logan filed a candidacy for the Lee County Board, but pulled out a few months later. He said he wanted to focus on running the village.
On April 9, Logan will have two opponents in the village election – Tony Schaneberg and David Atkinson, both of whom are village trustees.
Schaneberg, 54, a trustee for the last 20 years, said the village is ready for a change.
“In the last election, more people voted against him [Logan] than voted for him,” Schaneberg said. “We have a lot of stuff coming that we need to keep an open mind about.”
Atkinson, 34, said he wants to give more support to the police department.
“There are some mild drug problems in town and general misbehavior to get cleaned up before it gets worse,” said Atkinson, who has been a trustee for 4 years.
Last year, Logan drafted a zoning ordinance for the village of Deer Grove, which was seeking to keep wind turbines away. He got paid $1,300 for his work – far less, he said, than what an attorney would have charged.
Schaneberg said he and others in Franklin Grove were concerned about Logan’s consulting work.
“He sold one of our ordinances from Franklin Grove, and he kept the money from that,” Schaneberg said. “I don’t think it was right.”
But he was quick to say he didn’t want “to make a whole lot of trouble” in the campaign.
Atkinson said he hadn’t heard about the issue.
“I would like it best if the campaign didn’t go that way,” he said.
Logan said Schaneberg appears to be “grasping at straws.”
“I didn’t steal an ordinance,” he said. “Ordinances aren’t copyrighted. We [Franklin Grove] adopted our zoning ordinance from Byron in 1967. This ordinance was crafted specifically for Deer Grove. Deer Grove called to ask me if I would help.”
Logan, who has been village president for two decades, has noted his experience in government in his campaign.
“One thing I bring to small-town government is administrative ability,” he said in an interview earlier this year. “We have no full-time administrative staff. I have experience bordering on paralegal. I’m able to save the village a lot of money.”
In 2009, Logan prevailed over four opponents. He received 98 votes to 67 for Diane Nicholson, 65 for Ed Uphoff, 56 for Marilyn Spangler, and 26 for Schaneberg.
Candidates for village president
Family: Son, William; one grandson
Education: Graduate of Franklin Center High School
Government experience: 20 years as Franklin Grove trustee
Occupation: Employee at Silgan Containers in Rochelle, previously with Rock Valley Disposal
Family: Wife, Jennifer; children, David Jr., 14, and Hannah, 10
Education: Graduate of Franklin Center High School, Wyoming Technical Institute
Occupation: Co-owner of Atkinson Trucking in Franklin Grove
Government experience: 4 years as Franklin Grove trustee
Family: Wife, Cynthia; children, Rebekah, Rachel, Ruth, Robert E. Jr.
Education: 1971 graduate of Franklin Center High School; attended Piedmont Baptist College in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Occupation: Employee at Kreider Services
Government experience: 20 years as Franklin Grove village president; 2 years as Franklin Grove trustee
• Ashton: Village President John Martinez is the only candidate on the ballot for his position. His write-in opponent is Don Ross, a former village president.
Ross’ name was originally slated to go on the ballot, but Martinez successfully challenged his candidacy because the former leader hadn’t submitted a statement of economic interest with his filing. Martinez also got village trustee candidates Richard Russell and Andrew Kida off the ballot for the same reason. Kida and Russell are incumbents, with Russell having served on the board for 32 years. Kida, Russell and Ross had statements of economic interest filed with the county clerk’s office, but they were required to provide them with their candidate filings.
Four people are vying for three trustee positions – incumbent Tom Balch along wtth Billie Jo Heier, Susan Larson and Kevin O’Dell.
• Steward: Incumbent Dawn Andermann is facing James Bratko in the race for village president.
• Sublette: Four candidates are running for three positions on the Sublette board of trustees. They are incumbents Robert Bulfer, Timothy Bonnell and Keith Klein and challenger Richard Klaser.
• Mount Morris: Three candidate are vying for village president in Mount Morris – incumbent Greg Unger and challengers John Spaine and Dan Elsasser.
• Polo: Aldermen Randy Schoon and Doug Knapp are vying to replace Mayor Mark Scholl, who is not seeking re-election. The only competitive City Council race is in Ward 3, with incumbent Cheryl Galor facing Tamela Merdian.