The unofficial race to replace William Beavers on the county board is gaining interest with the onetime chief of staff to U.S. Sen. Roland Burris not only throwing his hat in the ring, but upping the ante.
Kenneth Sawyer, the cousin of Ald. Roderick Sawyer, said Monday that if a group of ward committeemen appoint him to replace Beavers, he would do it for free.
That is, for the term of the appointment, which runs until 2014.
Sawyer said he would take the county commissioner salary – which is about $85,000 – and create scholarships for those in the 4th District.
Sawyer, 45, who lives in the Chatham neighborhood, is in investment banking.
“I wouldn’t think of taking a salary. I think people have been tired of looking at these things – the sequester in Washington, the pension issues in Illinois,” he said.
In 2002, Sawyer ran for alderman against Dorothy Tillman and lost.
Tillman appointed Sawyer to her committeeman post for a short period, he said.
He also served as the Vice President of government relations for the Illinois Restaurant Association.
On Friday, the Sun-Times reported that former Cook County Board President Todd Stroger was also lobbying committeemen to appoint him to Beavers’ seat.
Sawyer’s offer to take the position salary-free would be a contrast to Beavers, who refused to take unpaid furlough days along with the rest of the county.
“At least send some type of message: we’re in this together,” Sawyer said of a financial sacrifice. “I don’t think it’s too much to ask.”