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Burns Defeats McQuillan 2,114 to 1,401 in Race for Geneva Mayor

This race was about quality city services, statesmanship and experience versus property-tax relief, activism and change. In the end, tradition and experience won.

If Tuesday's election was a referendum between experienced, traditional, well-run city government versus a public outcry for property-tax relief, tradition was the decisive winner.

Incumbent Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns won a fourth term over challenger Bob McQuillan, 2,114-1,401, a margin of victory that reflects about a 60-40 decision in favor of the incumbent.

"When you stripped away all the rhetoric and you actually focused on what really had been accomplished, I think people understand that some pretty doggone good things have been done in Geneva over the past 12 years," Burns said. 

McQuillan, one of the co-founders of the Geneva TaxFACTS citizens group, challenged the mayor primarily on one issue: to keep property taxes and government spending in check.

McQuillan stopped by the Burns campaign shortly after 9 p.m. to concede the race and offer his congratulations.

"I'm disappointed in not winning, of course. But I think it was a good, clean campaign on both sides," McQuillan said. "We got a lot of issues out. For a guy who was running against an incumbent of 12 years, I think I did pretty well. I was an underdog form Day One. I hope Kevin looks at the numbers and votes across the board and sees that Geneva has some issues and some problems."

Speaking before a group of supporters and family members Tuesday night at 315 James St. above the Olive Mill, Burns said he hoped the next four years would continue to prosper as it has for generations. 

"While there's always an expectation that things can be better—and I echo that sentiment—we are a community that is continuously improving, and I just want to help lead that improvement."

Tuesday night's election marks a milestone in Geneva. When he takes office for his fourth term, Burns will become the longest-serving mayor in the city's history.

"It hasn't sunk in," he said. "I think, more important than being the longest-serving is that, hopefully, I've been an effective mayor, as well. That's really all that matters to me, that I've been able to achieve some success for our community in cooperation and collaboration with hundreds of other people."

Ray Schneider April 10, 2013 at 04:25 AM
Congrats MAYOR Burns !!!!
Junior Santos April 10, 2013 at 04:41 AM
Congrats Mayor Burns, Do your best for Geneva, the people deserve it. great town.
Bruce Alan Cuscaden April 10, 2013 at 01:31 PM
Congratulations, Kevin! Now please take that elephant off of your sign. Love to your family, Bruce Alan Cuscaden
Colleen April 10, 2013 at 02:05 PM
To new beginnings, love my brother! Colleen Cuscaden
Kurt Wehrmeister April 10, 2013 at 02:10 PM
There's one thing Mr. McQuillan was quoted elsewhere as having said last night with which I absolutely, heartily agree: Basically, "If you didn't bother to vote, you've no right to complain about your taxes." Hear, hear. With the availability of early voting, there is truly, utterly NO excuse. Too bad the technology doesn't exist that could detect whether a snarky, over-age-18 commenter here was among the 80% that didn't bother to vote. If so, their comment would not post.
Thomas April 10, 2013 at 03:04 PM
Mcquillan supporters who believe a "lack of voter turnout" cost Bob the election are sorely mistaken. Any political scientist worth their weight will tell you that an "angry" voter that demands change is far more likely to vote than a voter who is indifferent or supports the status quo. Based on that it is highly unlikely that those who stayed home would have voted for Bob. Personally, I am not a big fan of either Bob or Kevin but I voted for Kevin because I know that the job of mayor is primarily ceremonial. The mayor has no real legislative power and is really only the "cheerleader-in-chief". Bob would have been a better servant for the Geneva taxpayer if he would have run for the school board. It is a lower profile position that doesn't feed the ego as much but it is one that could effect "real change"
Tom Brown April 10, 2013 at 04:04 PM
I'm very happy that we had two really good candidates for mayor of Geneva. Congrats to Mayor Burns! Unlike Thomas, I do not feel that the position of Mayor is primarily ceremonial. Lots of things can be gained or lost from a good or a bad mayor. I think both of these guys are good candidates for the position. Incumbent won because he's still doing a good job. Bravo! I do think Bob has some good points about keeping an eye on finances and creating a real plan for the next term with financial goals. Also like his thoughts on accessibility with regular office hours. The school board needs to get a better handle on its finances and that point has been made very well by Mr. McQuillan. Thanks, Bob, for that. Hope we can now move forward and make real progress toward better budgeting, lower property taxes and great schools that do the job for the students in the district. Seems like the student load is lower and the costs are higher right now and that needs to get straightened out.
Roger Kubitz Jr. April 10, 2013 at 04:57 PM
Congrats Kevin. Although it is very disturbing that you did not call me back when you promised you would. Politicians never change.
Tom Bailey April 10, 2013 at 04:58 PM
Congratulations Mayor Burns. Improving Geneva is important but being a better person is equally important, you need to work on that.
Bob McQuillan April 10, 2013 at 06:46 PM
Thomas Please re-read my words, I didn't say that if 80% of voters would have voted the outcome would have been any different. What I said was that it is sad that no more than 20% of registered voters ever vote in a consolidated election. I don't think anyone can disagree with that point. If you think the hundreds of hours spent over the last 5 years has been about ego, you are sadly and sorely mistaken. While you certainly have the right to your own opinion, maybe you should take the time to actually talk to any candidate and ask them why they are willing to give of their personal time to serve others. Ego would be the last thing anyone mentions. Putting oneself out for possible public humiliation does nothing to boost your ego. Since you are not a big fan of Mayor Burns or myself, I hope you try putting your personal life on hold and run for public office. See what it does for your ego. As to the school board, I'm confident they have heard the concern of residents and will do the right thing. Though it will take years to straighten out our financial issues. Notice that I said "our" financial issues.
Arthur Dietrich April 10, 2013 at 06:58 PM
I don't understand why people don't bother to vote and why we have such low voter turnout for every election. It's really pathetic that there's such a low percentage of voters casting ballots. What needs to be done to motivate people to vote?
John R April 10, 2013 at 07:11 PM
Congratulations to Mayor Burns! Running a contested race will make him a better mayor. The mayors optimism and enthusiasm are contagious and I think will serve us well into the next four years. Everyone needs to continue to participate in the process. It makes us a stronger community. Bob McQuillan should also be congratulated. Nearly 40% really isn't that bad and Bob in no way should you feel humiliated. You stepped up and put yourself on the line. Showed class by conceding in person and ran a very respectful campaign. Your activism has drawn people into the process who would otherwise have sat on the sidelines. Moving forward the community has to figure out how to get more people involved locally. To many races were uncontested. Get more contested races and I think the communities involvement will increase. It's good for our elected officials to have to campaign and justify their positions. It's all good my hats off to all of you who ran for the various positions. Takes a lot of guts. John Rice
Felice Padre April 10, 2013 at 07:35 PM
Tom, What exactly does Mr. Burns need to work on? I have known Mayor Burns for over 20 years and I know of fewer people with the professional integrity he has. Your comment would be well taken if you were perfect, but I have not met anyone yet that is. Unless you are the first.
Kate Bennett April 10, 2013 at 11:06 PM
Never thought I would be happy to see Mayor Burns reelected. However, I even voted for him myself. Good job, voters. I feel like we really avoided a lot of pain with this election.
Bob McQuillan April 11, 2013 at 10:41 PM
John What are YOU going to do to get more people involved locally?
John R April 14, 2013 at 04:03 PM
@ Bob, sorry I missed your question to me. 23% is pretty dismal and I'm not so sure we will ever do much better. Geneva's demographics are very favorable when it comes to participation levels. Yet here we are stuck at 23%. Personally, I am going to stay involved. I'll continue to talk to neighbors and friends regarding the importance of local politics. As my son grows I hope to instill a sense of civic responsibility in him. I'm considering attending a Kane County Republicans meeting to see what they are up too. Considering how conservative this city is I'm interested in what they are or aren't doing regarding outreach. I talked to Zac yesterday and I'm interested in getting a group of political junkies together monthly to bounce around ideas. Too many positions ran uncontested. 2015 isn't that far off and I'm hoping more people run next cycle. April elections don't do much for turnout. Like I said in an earlier post it's tough to run. Signatures collected the month before Christmas, campaign in the middle of winter and then election day during the rainiest month of the year. I don't know it's frustrating....No one person will have all the answers. But maybe collectively we can come up with idea's and ultimately get more folks involved. Rice
G.Ryan April 15, 2013 at 01:50 AM
Then you need to change them by not voting for them.
G.Ryan April 15, 2013 at 02:02 AM
Wonder if the election date is a problem as it interferes with Spring breaks? Perhaps it is time to have registered voters take a survey to see why they do not vote in their local elections and see what the feedback is. I am just trying to detect their premise to see what the real cause could be and get it corrected.
Ty April 15, 2013 at 02:53 AM
Casual conversation with friends and associates in town have led me to believe that the vast majority have no clue about local politics. The 'patch junkies' are a definite minority. Ask 5 friends about 'enrollmentgate' and you'll get a blank stare from 4 of them." Zac? Oh he's that kid, right?" "Burns? Oh, he's funny and said hi to me at Trader Joe's once." Hey, at least we went from 16 to 23% - that's almost a 50% increase in turnout. The higher taxes rise, the more attention people are going to start paying.

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