Countryside Mayor Sean McDermott chats with supporter Carlos Charneco at the victory party. (Photos by Steve Metsch)

Countryside Mayor Sean McDermott chats with supporter Carlos Charneco at the victory party. (Photos by Steve Metsch)

McDermott and allies sweep in Countryside

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dvn countryside election2 2023

The Countryside Leadership Party was all smiles after a clean sweep. Treasurer Courtney Essig Bolt (from left) Ald. Tom Frohlich, Mayor Sean McDermott, Ald. Tom Mikolyzk, Ald. Scott Musillami and Clerk Liz Kmet celebrate at Flagg Creek. 

By Steve Metsch

In the end, it all came down to hard work, Countryside Mayor Sean McDermott said Tuesday night.

“Hard work. Eight years of hard work,” he said when asked how his Countryside Leadership Party was able to post a clean sweep of six seats on Election Day.

“The people recognized we have a group of men and women who work together as a team and have the best interests of the city of Countryside in their heart,” McDermott, 62, said, during a victory bash held at the Flagg Creek Golf Course clubhouse.

“It’s a great victory. I’m really happy, really proud of our team,” he said.

McDermott was elected to his third term as mayor. With seven of seven precincts reporting, he had 1,017 votes to 453 votes for former mayor Bob Conrad, according to the Cook County Clerk’s office.

Conrad led the We the People of Countryside Party.

All of McDermott’s political allies were also victorious. All vote totals are from the Cook County Clerk’s office.

In the night’s closest race, Ald. Tom Frohlich had 193 votes to Beatriz Sutkus’ 146 in the 1st Ward.

This was the first election for Frohlich, who was appointed to fill the vacancy created when Ald. Jim Jasinski died in March 2021.

“A lot of interesting people live in Countryside. All walks of life,” Frohlich said of what he learned going door to door.

“I think the new development (at 55th Street and East Avenue) will be really good for the city but the opposition presented it in a manner that was not favorable,” he said.

The proposed gas station, grocery and brew pub has met with strong opposition from some residents and resulted in a closely contested race that did not surprise McDermott.

“That’s the one ward we were a little bit concerned (about) because we have the old city hall development that caused some heartburn in the community,” McDermott said.

“We recognize that and I think the people recognize we’ve done what we could to improve that development,” the mayor said.

Saying she knows little about politics, Sutkus said, “The only reason I did this was to prevent the truck stop from being built.”

She prefers perhaps “a furniture store and a fine-dining restaurant” for the old city hall land.

Noting the deaths of her father, father-in-law and a friend happened over three weeks, Sutkus said her first campaign “came at a time where I needed to keep busy. God works in mysterious ways. … I got to meet new neighbors, make new friend. We had so much fun.”

In the 2nd Ward, Ald. Tom Mikolyzk was elected to a third term by doubling up on Ed Krzeminski, 346 votes to 171. Krzeminski, who served as mayor from 2011 to 2015, ran for alderman and lost in 2021.

In the 3rd Ward, Ald. Scott Musillami easily won re-election with 449 votes to 155 votes for Maria Nedelcu.

“We care. We genuinely care. And I think we’re transparent,” Musillami said of the party’s success, adding, “I do this because I want to help people.”

Incumbent clerk Liz Kmet won another term with 977 votes to 474 for Barb Gleespen.

Treasurer Courtney Essig Bolt beat challenger John Harris, 1,003 to 452.

Conrad, who served as mayor from 2007 to 2011, thanked supporters for their dedication saying he was “proud of the effort” at their Election Night gathering at Ledo’s Pizza.

“All I would hope is the residents of the city of Countryside are the winners here, not any particular party. I think the issues we brought up should, hopefully, make this (winning) team govern a little bit better,” Conrad said.

“The residents are a little more informed than they were six months ago,” Conrad said. “We came to the campaign with facts. Our information for the residents was off the city’s website. We didn’t make it up.”

But in the end, even armed with information from the city’s website, it wasn’t enough to vote the current administration out of office.

The winners were having a blast Tuesday night at Flagg Creek where Ald. John Von Drasek (2nd) greeted a visitor with shouts of “broom, broom” referring to the sweep.

The longest current serving alderman halfway through his fifth term, Von Drasek said he was happy to have campaigned for his cohorts.

“Good people. We’ve got a good thing going. This campaign brought us all closer. We’re independent thinkers but we all have the same passion. And that’s to do right by the city,” he said.

1 Comment

  1. Brenda Akins on April 11, 2023 at 1:59 pm

    When Mr. McDermott came to my home I was very pleased to meet him. I had not kept up much with city politics until the 55th street issue came out. After we spoke, I said to him as far as the election I did not see a reason to change something that was not broken and that he had my vote. I saw him and others out many times. If the slate works as hard as they campaigned, Countryside should be the better for it. Congratulations!



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