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Veteran NSSD trustee ousted by newcomer

John Paxton

John Paxton

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Updated: December 9, 2012 7:20PM

Longtime North Shore Sanitary District board member Republican John Paxton of Winthrop Harbor has been ousted in his race with former NSSD employee, Democrat Preston Carter of Beach Park.

Carter surprised everyone by leading after all the precincts in Ward 1 were in, and then he stayed in the lead when the early voting and vote-by-mail tallies were added to the totals Tuesday night. He had 53 percent or 8,571 votes to Paxton’s 46.9 percent or 7,582 votes in the ward which includes Beach Park, Winthrop Harbor and Zion.

“It was pretty awesome. It was pretty good,” said Carter of the election. “I am gracious for the support I received from friends and the Democratic Party.” The mechanic worked for the NSSD for more than 34 years.

“The main thing was going out and talking to the people,” he said, noting that a wild game dinner at the First Baptist Church in Winthrop Harbor the weekend before the election allowed him to see hundreds of people as they stopped for the free feast at the church.

“People liked hearing what I was saying,” he said.

Carter criticized the board for purchasing a multi-million dollar sludge melter and dryer from Germany to process sanitary waste in Zion when a cheaper and better product could have been bought from a Texas company. He said the dryer is defective and created a toxic mercury and arsenic contamination problem at the Zion sludge plant. The glass aggregate from the process was supposed to be sold to mix with asphalt, but that has not happened yet.

Carter said administrative errors have wasted millions in taxpayer money.

Paxton ran on his record of 29 years, including a reduction in district user fees over the past 16 years. He has served as president three times and currently is the treasurer. Paxton was unopposed in the GOP primary.

When Carter takes office in December, Democrats will have control of the board. They haven’t controlled the board since 2004.

“It’s going to mean a lot,” he said, “It’s going to help out.”

“It was a tough battle, especially to win up in Winthrop Harbor and Zion. I’m both happy and gratified. There’s a lot of work to do and we all have to work together,” said Carter.

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