Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Forest Park: Village Administrator

I hadn't been paying any attention to this issue -- until I read Mayor Calderone's front page editorial in his own newspaper, where he bellowed like a wounded bull stung by the rumors mongered over at ForestParkForums.com.

Usually, his honor's opinions are up-beat meditations on subjects like Christmas, motherhood, and apple pie -- so I knew something serious was going on.

(and BTW, I agree with him that our local internet bulletin board is a goon fest of anonymous slander. They have no credibility, and that's why their opinions are worthless)

That's when I learned, two pages later, that his old friend and former campaign manager, Tim Gillian, a former commissioner, had been selected to wear the hat of Village Administrator.


Not only is this distinguished gentleman retired, but he has never worked as a professional administrator a day in his life.

My hat is off is to the two commissioners who voted against him - Rory Hoskins and Marty Tellalian, as well as to Steve Backman, the dedicated gadfly, who videotaped the whole shameful proceeding.

Here's the meeting where the commissioners begin the search (note how Mark Hosty calls for a "professional who is non-political")


Here's where they take their final vote, six months later. (apparently, Hosty has changed his mind)

Tellalian seems quite used to making concession speeches - and alas - what really is "the metric for measuring a poorly run village?"

While Mike Curry seems a little shamefaced as he thanks the 20 applicants for the job (one of whom is sitting in the audience), and none of whom had a chance against the Mayor's old friend, making the whole procedure of a "national search" a mere formality.

As Tellalian concludes, there's not another village in the State of Illinois that would hire Gillian as an administrator.

Unfortunately, this proves that the Mayor feels immune to criticism and has the confidence to do whatever he wants.

And it would also suggest that the job of "Village Administrator" may be unnecessary in a village this small.

A comment to this post has suggested that the job of the Village Administrator is to be "the right hand of the mayor".

However, going looking at the "powers and duties" listed on the Village website,
we find:

"The village administrator shall be the chief administrative officer of the village and shall be responsible to the mayor and to the combined village council for the administration and operation of all of the affairs and the departments of the village."

Here is the complete text:


A. Fiscal Matters: The village administrator shall have custody and control of all documents, including debts, mortgages, leases, contracts, judgment orders, notes, bonds and evidences of indebtedness belonging to the village except such as are directed by law or ordinance to be deposited elsewhere. The village administrator shall have supervision of the issuance and sale of all bonds, warrants and obligations, and shall have supervision over the accounting work of the village.

Specifically, but not in limitation of the above, the village administrator shall have the following powers and duties:

1. On or before May 31 of each year the village administrator or his designee shall submit to the corporate authorities a report of the amounts of money necessary to defray the expenses of the village during the next fiscal year, and in said report classify and detail the purpose of the expenditures, the aggregate income of the preceding fiscal year and the village liabilities and anticipated revenues.

For the purpose of preparing the aforesaid estimate, the village administrator or his designee is authorized to require all officers to submit statements of the condition and expenses of their respective offices or departments, a description of proposed village improvements, and the probable expense thereof, a description of all unperformed contracts and a statement of the amount of all unexpired appropriations of the preceding year.

2. The village administrator shall, after evaluating all necessary data, conferring with the finance director and consulting with the mayor and village council, prepare and submit the annual appropriation and tax levy ordinances for passage by the village council. In conjunction with these obligations, the village administrator shall utilize current available revenues and search out and recommend additional sources of revenue necessary to operate the village.

3. The village administrator shall recommend to the village council the salaries to be paid officers and employees of the village when requested by the village council.

4. The village administrator shall, each month, cause to be prepared and shall present to the village council a statement showing the exact financial position of the village and give such additional reports and information concerning the fiscal matters of the village as may from time to time be required by the village council. (Ord. O-53-00, 12-18-2000)

5. Pursuant to 65 Illinois Compiled Statutes 5/4-5-2, the village council hereby prescribes that the village administrator shall have the power and duty to conduct collective bargaining on behalf of the village with village employees or their exclusive representatives; to designate the other members of the village's collective bargaining negotiating teams; to enter into tentative agreements with the exclusive representatives of village employees regarding the wages, hours and other terms and conditions of employment, subject to ratification by the village council; to report periodically to the village council regarding the status of such collective bargaining; and to perform any other functions necessary to carry out such duties. (Ord. O-13-03, 4-28-2003)

B. Village Administration: In addition to the above duties, the village administrator shall perform such other duties as are herein provided:

The village administrator shall be the chief administrative officer of the village and shall be responsible to the mayor and to the combined village council for the administration and operation of all of the affairs and the departments of the village. As such administrative officer, and unless otherwise directed by the village council, the village administrator shall have the administration and control of all matters and things pertaining to the operation and maintenance of the properties of the village and of all departments of the village. He shall also have supervision of such other administrative agencies and departments and officers as may be hereafter created by the village council, unless the administration and control of such departments and officers is expressly delegated elsewhere. He shall perform his duties in conformity with the rules in the village. Specifically, but not in limitation of the above, he shall have the following additional powers and duties:

1. Recommend to the mayor and village council the appointment of all officers of the village who are required by law to be appointed by the village council and further recommend the removal or suspension of any such officer or employee when such removal or suspension shall be consistent with the best interests of the village.

2. The village administrator shall make or cause to be made all necessary purchases of supplies and equipment for all departments of the village and, for that purpose, the village administrator is authorized to make expenditures without approval from the village council that are consistent with the purchasing ordinance of the village1; provided, however, that all expenditures and payments, regardless of the amount, shall be subject to the confirmation or approval of the village council and to the limitations imposed by law, ordinance and/or budget or special appropriation, and pursuant to chapter 8, article A of this title.

3. The village administrator shall attend all meetings of the village council unless excused therefrom by the village council, except when his removal is under consideration by the village council. The village administrator shall have the privilege of taking part in the discussion of all matters coming before the village council and shall be entitled to notice of all meetings, regular and special, of the village council when required.

4. The village administrator shall investigate all complaints in relation to matters concerning village services and village administration.

5. The village administrator may, when requested by the commissioner in charge of a department, recommend the appointment and/or discharge of an employee in such department with supporting information regarding the reason for such appointment and/or discharge, exclusive of employees and officers of the police department and regular firefighters under the jurisdiction of the board of fire and police commissioners2.

6. The village administrator shall devote his entire time to the discharge of official duties.

7. The village administrator shall perform such other duties as may be required of him by the village council consistent with the statutes of the state of Illinois and village ordinances.

8. Subject to final approval of the village council, the village administrator may consolidate, combine or reorganize any departments under his jurisdiction. (Ord. O-53-00, 12-18-2000)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Provisio elections: April 2009

The bad news is that Karen Yarbrough, the State representative who defeated Eugene Moore, the machine politician, for Democratic Committeeman in 2006, has turned coat and is now allied with her former opponents, including Chris Welch, who runs the School Board like a family business.

An extensive documentation of the Welch regime (citing articles from local newspapers) can be found here.

That is also the site of the Proviso Progressive Party, and a voter would have to be crazy, lazy, or beholden to the incumbents not to vote for each and every one of them:

Theresa L. Kelly
Township Supervisor

William J. Daugherty Jr.
Township Clerk

C. Michael Montino
Township Assessor

Ivan V. Williams
Township Collector

Colin A. Brady
Township Trustee

Michael Sheehan
Township Trustee

Pat Doolin
Township Trustee

Lennel Grace, Jr.
Township Trustee

Kevin McDermott
Carlos Anderson
Rebecca M. Smith
Arbdella “Della” Patterson

John Simpson
Trustee of Schools


Voters might remember that the last time around, Welch ran a slate of candidates for the school board, their campaign literature attacked the status quo.

But then, after elected, they turned around and re-elected him as president of the school board.

Wasn't that clever!

This time, he's running two slates -- the one for township positions is called the "Township Advocates of Proviso". Their literature doesn't even pretend to be about reform - all they promise are perks for senior citizens. (and they have no website -- why bother -- the less voters know about them the better)

It's the same old culture of self-serving corruption that has made Illinois a national disgrace, and I suppose it will continue until citizens stop being depressed about it and actually go to the polls and become voters.


Regarding Proviso Township Trustee of School 39N -- I don't even know where that school is ! None of the candidates have a website -- and only one of them, John Simpson, has put anything onto the County Clerk website. So -- I guess I'll have to vote for him.


Regarding the Board of Triton College:

this article sufficed to convince me to vote against Glenn Stam and Mark Stephens.

Especially since neither one has offered any kind of rebuttal - on the paper's website or on their own.

Unfortunately, the two opponents,

Thomas W. Hagle
Marie J. Caronti

....have nothing to say as well.

Why can't they put something on the County Clerk's site ? Why can't they start their own blogs and discuss the issues ? Why should anyone believe that they will be any less self-interested than the incumbents?

(Caronti does have a comment posted after the Wednesday Journal article -- but it mystifies more than it explain. Who the heck is her mother-in-law ?)

All we've got are videos from the League of Women Voters, and Thomas W. Hagle didn't even bother to show up. (though I'll vote for him anyway)


Update on Election Results: Almost a complete disaster! But at least Kevin McDermott made it onto the School Board. He seems to be a smart, honest, committed citizen -- and I appreciate his efforts.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Mea Culpa

OK -- I voted for Rod Blagojevich -- twice ! -- and now I must seek absolution for my sin.

It's not like there wasn't plenty of evidence -- at least for the second election - that this was Mr. Pay-to-play --- but isn't a little bit of this acceptable ?

How else can anyone other than a billionaire run for a major office in America?

It's just that -- at some point -- the pay-to-player has to draw the line --- and some vision of public service has to trump the streams of income.

But this fellow just seems to be as shameless as a sociopath.

Maybe I should have voted for Judy Bar Topinka -- but I don't see how she can be separated from the state Republican leadership that gave us the big-time pay-to-play governors - from Thompson to Ryan.

The democratic system has really been failure in Illinois -- and who can be blamed except for us voters ?