Schillerstrom Says Birkett Crossed Line

Article excerpt

Byline: Robert Sanchez Daily Herald Staff Writer

Can't these guys just get along?

DuPage County Board Chairman Robert Schillerstrom and State's Attorney Joseph Birkett are at it again.

Schillerstrom said Tuesday he's "surprised and dismayed" Birkett - a candidate for lieutenant governor - is dabbling in local politics by endorsing a friend in a county board race.

"His efforts should be focused on his race and not on other races," he said.

Birkett fired right back.

"I'm tired of hearing about Bob Schillerstrom's antics through the paper," Birkett said. "If he's got something like that to say, he can pick up the phone and call me."

This is hardly the first time Schillerstrom and Birkett haven't seen eye to eye.

Most recently, Birkett threatened to sue the county board over its decision to adopt new rules expanding Schillerstrom's power. The board eventually relented and rescinded the changes.

However, Schillerstrom might not be alone in criticizing Birkett's decision to back Jerry "J.R." McBride, who is running against incumbent Grant Eckhoff in District 4.

Birkett acknowledges he's gotten "a lot of grief" since deciding to endorse the 38-year-old Glen Ellyn insurance broker. McBride is the only county board candidate Birkett is endorsing.

"Generally speaking, especially when you are involved in a statewide race, the admonition is always, 'Don't get involved in local races,' Birkett said. "This is an exception. He (McBride) is a dear friend of mine."

McBride and Birkett have known each other for about 15 years. …