Eric Peterson, Daily Herald
Schaumburg received its first declared mayoral candidate of 2019 Wednesday -- and it's not 30-year incumbent Al Larson.
Trustee Tom Dailly, who has more than 24 years' experience on the village board, announced his candidacy for the April 2019 mayoral election through an open letter.
Larson, meanwhile, said he has not yet made a decision of whether to seek a ninth term, but added he intends to remain mayor through all 17 months left before the next election.
"This is (Dailly's) decision to run for mayor and he has the right to do it," Larson said. "I think Tom's been talking about this for some time now. I think it's probably to preempt other people from filing."
Dailly, 64, confirmed he has heard of others from outside the experience pool of the current village board considering such a run and wanted to make his own interest known.
But while declaring the time right for new leadership of the village board, Dailly had praise for the leadership it's received from Larson for the past three decades.
"Al's mentored me for this position," Dailly said. "I've learned tremendously from him how to be a good mayor."
Larson, 79, said that if he decides not to run again himself, he will probably support Dailly.
While fellow trustees Marge Connelly and Mark Madej questioned whether Dailly's announcement was too soon, all trustees expressed some level of support for his competence as a candidate and potential future mayor.
Both Connelly and Madej acknowledged that Larson has had recent struggles with his health.
"It would depend on Al's physical ability to do the job at that time," Connelly said of whom the best candidate might be in 2019.
But she said she understands Dailly's wish to let the public know that someone of his knowledge and experience is ready to step up.
"I think Tom is a well-studied, well-prepared decision maker on the board," Connelly said. "I could see supporting Tom based on his capabilities."
Madej said Dailly is one of a few members of the board he believes has the ability to take on the job and so he is remaining neutral for now. Though he thinks the announcement premature, he doesn't believe it will harm the unity of the board.
"I think Tom Dailly is a good pick if we had to choose," Madej said.
Other trustees were uninhibited in their support for Dailly's bid.
"I believe Tom Dailly will provide competent leadership," senior Trustee George Dunham said. "I believe the village will be in good hands with Tom Dailly as village president."
Dailly was first elected to the village board in April 1989 and decided to take a break and not run after 20 years. He said he felt reinvigorated after sitting out a term and accepted Larson's appointment to the board in September 2013 to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Hank Curcio. He subsequently won election in April 2015.
"I have no problem with Tom running or the timing of his decision," Trustee Jack Sullivan said. "Let's face it, Tom goes back to '89. He's been there through most of the major things except for the period he was off the board."
"I'm in total support of it," Trustee Frank Kozak said of Dailly's candidacy. "He's everything this village is looking for and needs in the future. ... He'll be a good person to lead for 8, 10, or 12 years or however long the voters want him."
Kozak praised the 79-year-old Larson's decades of leadership, but said, "It's time for a change.
"Al Larson has done a phenomenal job. But everyone runs a gamut and we've reached it. I'd like to see him go out