Skip to main content
You are the owner of this article.
You have permission to edit this article.
Three incumbents out in Moline City Council race

Three incumbents out in Moline City Council race

  • Updated
  • 0

Moline City Council will see new blood in a change election.

Three incumbents were unseated amid concerns over city budget cuts, high senior staff turnover and the outsourcing of some city services to private contractors.

One of the newly elected council members sought an open seat. Alderman Dick Potter, Ward 4, did not run for re-election.

Four of the city council's eight seats -- one member from each of the city's seven wards and one that represents the city at-large -- were up for re-election in Tuesday's election.

The results set the stage for a mix of new faces and experienced elected officials to guide city policy over the next four years under new mayor Sangeetha Rayapati.

At-large: Challenger James Patrick Schmidt unseated incumbent Sonia Berg.

Schmidt took 54.99% of the vote to Berg's 45.01%, according to unofficial results.

Alderman at large is the only city council seat that represents the entire city and not a specific ward.

Berg was elected to Moline city council in 2017. She is a lifelong resident of the city and currently works as a Realtor with Ruhl & Ruhl.

Schmidt, a Silvis native, Alleman High School graduate and former reporter, works as a media planner for MindFire Communications in LeClaire.

He said turnover and recent cuts to city staff and services inspired him to run for city council, claiming a "a clear lack of support" for city staff has become "untenable."

He disagreed with how the city managed the early months of the pandemic. He said services and staffing were cut too much, ultimately affecting residents and quality of life. Instead of outsourcing with private contractors for leaf removal and snowplowing, he said the city should have hired seasonal workers or allowed current employees to work more hours. 

2nd Ward: Newcomer Alvaro Macias upset incumbent Alderman David Parker Jr.

Macias took 57.3% of the vote to Parker's 42.6%, according to unofficial results.

Parker, who moved to Moline in 2005, works as a Realtor with Century 21 in Moline.

Parker was appointed as 2nd Ward alderman in 2012 by then-Mayor Don Welvaert.

Born in Mexico City, Macias moved to Moline with his family when he was 8 years old. He serves as vice president of business development at Ascentra Credit Union and also leads the Latino Outreach Program and Community Development Advisory Council.

Macias has said the city's pause in economic development and turnover at City Hall inspired him to run for office. He criticized the outsourcing of city services, arguing the decisions have cost the city and residents, leading to a decline in services and lowered morale among city workers.

When the old I-74 bridge is removed and that land is reclaimed, Macias said he'd like the city to consider building an aquarium on the riverfront or perhaps an indoor water park.

4th Ward: Matthew Timion defeated former Alderman John Zelnio for the seat being vacated by longtime Alderman Dick Potter, who did not run for re-election.

Timion took 58% of the vote to Zelnio's 41.96%, according to unofficial results.

Timion was raised in Moline's 4th ward, and serves as senior director of engineering for Interior Define, an online furniture company.

Timion has said he was inspired to run for city council after seeing economic development slow down in recent years as the number of empty storefronts increased. He also said he had become "increasingly disturbed" by too many cuts to staff and services during the pandemic; and the ongoing turnover of senior city staff.

Timion, as well, has said the city needs to focus on bringing more retail and dining to the downtown area to draw more visitors to Moline.

Zelnio, owner of Zelnio Construction, was appointed to city council in 2014 by then-Mayor Scott Raes. He lost his bid for reelection in 2017 when he was kept off the ballot as a write-in candidate, losing to Potter.

6th Ward: Rock Island County Board member Pat O'Brien unseated incumbent Alderman Kevin Schoonmaker.

O'Brien received 54% of the vote to Schoonmaker's 45.8%, according to unofficial results.

Schoonmaker was elected to city council in April 2009. He works as a loan officer and is vice president at the Moline BankORION branch.

O'Brien served on city council from 1997 to 2005 representing the 2nd Ward, and narrowly lost his race for mayor that same year.

He currently works in the state treasurer's office and serves on the Rock Island County board. If elected, he said he'll step down from the board, which is in the process of being downsized.

O'Brien said he was inspired to run for city council again over concerns with how the city is being managed and the ongoing turnover of senior staff.

He said he would hold regularly ward meetings with residents, resuming a practice from when he previously served on the Moline City Council.

O'Brien has said another priority would be to work with code enforcement officers to incentivize property owners to repair and rehab older homes "instead of a punishment."


Get local news delivered to your inbox!

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


News Alerts

Breaking News