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)