The Democrats' decisive election-night victories confirm that the party remains the Goliath of Cook County government. But Wheeling assessor Dan Patlak, newly elected Cook County Board of Review commissioner and one of a handful of Republicans to prevail Tuesday for county office, insists he's no David.
"I will be a voice for what I feel is right, for Republican values, but more importantly for the needs and values of the people who elected me," said Patlak, who defeated Democratic incumbent Brendan Houlihan for a seat on the three-member board, which hears homeowners' assessment appeals.
He hopes that his victory will help pave the way for increased political balance within county government.
"It's not a healthy situation when you have one party controlling everything in the county that has to do with property taxes, because it's a breeding ground for corruption," said Patlak, who worked for eight years as an aide to Houlihan's predecessor, Republican Maureen Murphy.
Patlak said he will work with his fellow commissioners to "run the most fair, efficient, cost-effective board of review" possible.
To that end, he spent three hours Wednesday going over the transition with a prospective staff member.
"My desire is to hit the ground running with very little downtime for myself or my staff," said Patlak, who will be sworn in on Dec. 6.
Patlak campaigned on a promise of working in the position full-time, saying the pay scale merits a full-time commitment.
As a former review board employee, "I felt things worked better when commissioners were present," he said