Governing board elections run smooth, near-49% voter turnout

When voters have a lot of options as they choose their leaders, they will come to the ballot box.

Ten Sun City residents put their names on the 2017 board of directors ballot this fall, and 2,643 community households responded in the mail-in balloting.  That’s nearly 49% of the association’s 5,400-plus eligible households.

This was the biggest election, in terms of candidate and voter participation, ever held in Sun City Huntley’s 18-year history.

Two incumbents were re-elected to the 2018 board, along with two newcomers.  The balloting followed classic, and generally expected lines: the 10 candidates’ names were listed vertically on the ballot, and the top four in the list all won by substantial margins.

Re-elected to two-year terms were Steve Bytnar, who was the top vote-getter with 1,369, or 52.1% of the total, and Bob Wainscott, with 1,297 votes, or 49.4%. “I was surprised at these results, I never thought I’d be the top vote-getter,” Bytnar told the Sun Day.  “I have helped a lot of people with their property tax assessments, but this surprised me.  You always have doubts about what voters think of you.  Some recent board decisions, such as the tennis-pickleball courts issue and the renovation of the sewing room in Prairie Lodge, have been controversial.”  He did acknowledge, however, that his work with the Property Tax Assessment Group (PTAG), was a major factor in this election.

Elected to the board for the first time were Russ Howard, who has served as chairman and member of the Facility Advisory Committee,  received 1,224 vote; and  Vito Benigno, current chairman of the Neighborhood Advisory Council Executive Committee and vice president of Neighborhood Watch, who received 1,200 votes.

These four residents, all of whom have significant experience in Sun City governance activities, will begin new two-year terms on the board of directors on January 1, 2018.

Benigno’s name topped the list on the ballot form,  Wainscott’s name was second, Bytnar’s was third, and Howard’s fourth.

Sandra Portincaso, the only woman on the ballot, finished fifth with 996 votes.  Ken Andersen, a former board member seeking to return, was sixth with 874 votes. Rick Sperando, the newest Sun Citian on the ballot (he came just a few months ago), received 822 votes, Don Kay, who has served three years on the Modifications Committee, received 799, Dennis Watts, a neighborhood chairman and AARP tax consultant,  garnered 601, and Eugene Rhodes, another former board member seeking to return, received 366.

In an interesting sidelight, eight persons received write-in votes.   They are Florence Manning, a resident of Neighborhood 11; Edward McFarland, a resident of Neighborhood 41; Jim Lunn, a former candidate and a resident of Neighborhood 32; Randy Johnson, resident of Neighborhood 37; Ron Tenggren, who lives in Neighborhood 18; Russ Woodside, who lives in Sun City and is a full-time Sun City staff member; and Tom Anderson, a resident of Neighborhood 7.  Someone named Ted McHugh, whose name could not be found in the Sun City website’s resident directory, also got a vote.

Neighborhood 10A was the community’s top vote-producer, with 69% of its residents returning ballots.  Neighborhood 9 was second, with 65.8%.  Neighborhood 10 was third with 63.4%, Neighborhood 33 was fourth with 59.5%, 32B was fifth with 56.6%, and Neighborhood 4 was in sixth place with 56.5%.

The Election Advisory Committee, chaired by Gene Harrison, coordinated all of the election activities in the campaign this year. Other committee members are Gail Patterson, Judy Frazier, Helene Weston, and Bill Berendt.    “The process went very smoothly, and we had no major problems,” he said. “Debby Seger, Administrative and Human Resources Manager, did a great job guiding us through all of the activities.  She did very well with that, and she gets most of the credit. SDS, the firm that tabulated the votes, did a great job for us.”

Holdover board members for 2018 are President Dennis O’Leary, Marilynn Berendt, and George McGouey.

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