Naperville supervisor Ossyra seeks re-election
Rachel Ossyra is known as a woman who prides herself on setting and achieving goals.
In all her years, not much has compared to her unwavering desire to continue in her service to the people of Naperville.
Ossyra finds herself locked in a hard-fought battle to retain her four-year post of county superintendent -- where not many seem willing to bet against her.
“People have been supportive of my office because we never lose sight of why we’re here,” she told the Will County Gazette. “We here for the people of Naperville. Everyone who works here understands they answer to the public.”
On Feb. 28, the 53-year-old chairman of the Naperville Township Republican Organization is set to face off against challenger Walter Reilly for the Naperville superintendent post and could also face a Democratic opponent in the April 4 general election.
In either instance, Ossyra seems convinced no one is capable of bringing to the table what she’s already demonstrated.
“I was elected four years ago on a platform of reducing the footprint of government, increasing transparency and lowering taxes,” she said. “We got to work on all of that pretty quickly, but there’s still much more to do.”
Upon assuming office, Ossyra insists one of the first orders of business was making sure the township was back in compliance with the Open Meetings Act, which requires that all board meetings be posted online at least 48 hours before every meeting, with the proceedings videotaped.
“In my office, we’re all about transparency and that sets us apart from many other administrations,” she said. “We are lean and mean and everyone is held accountable with the public being kept abreast of everything we’re doing.”
Given another term, Ossyra plans to press for even more reduced government and less redundancy.
"We’re always thinking of ways we can more closely work with partners in the community and other townships to reduce costs,” she said. “We’re always looking for areas of better collaboration, like putting more people together to improve offerings and using more tech to reduce costs and remove redundant work spaces.”
One of the biggest issues Ossyra and essentially all the leaders of Naperville now find themselves grappling with is the legal dispute between the township and the Naperville Township Road District.
Highway Commissioner Stan Wojtasiak is now appealing a court ruling that dismissed his suit against several trustees, including Ossyra, over the board’s decision to reduce his annual budget by roughly $550,000 after he refused to enter into an intergovernmental agreement with the city of Naperville to maintain 16 to 20 miles of township roads.
The total amount of the cut is reported to be the equivalent of what the city deal would have saved the township in fiscal year 2016. Wojtasiak's suit also charges that the cuts were in direct retaliation to his rejection of the originally proposed agreement and that the board is not legally authorized to enforce them.
Lisle Township has since agreed to handle maintenance of Naperville's unincorporated roads for $275,000 for the remainder of the fiscal year. On April 4, voters from both townships will be tasked with the job of deciding if they want to make the consolidation a permanent arrangement.
Beyond stressing that the public has a clear choice in the matter, Ossyra hints that she doesn’t know how or why things went haywire.
“It started out as a collaboration,” she said of the initial discussions to consolidate the two road districts. “But somewhere, things became contentious. One of the few good things in all this is that the conversations are ongoing between the required leaders.”
And for at least four more years, Ossyra hopes to remain a central figure in all pertinent discussions related to the township.
“I look forward to being able to continue serving the people of Naperville,” she said. “There’s still much work to be done.”