One is an outspoken resident, a member of Citizens Unite in Forest Park (CUinFP), and an active attendee at village council meetings. The other is more soft-spoken, a resident who has actively been looking for a way to use his financial expertise to benefit the community he loves.
Last week, these two men”Jerry Webster and Andre Marshall”were appointed by Mayor Anthony Calderone to two open spots in village government.
Marshall, 43, was appointed to fill Dan Danielson’s vacant seat on the library board.
Danielson left almost a year ago, after 13 years on the board. Marshall will serve the remainder of Danielson’s term and will be up for reappointment to a full six-year term in 2008.
He is a 1996 graduate of Robert Morris College, where he studied accounting. He also has a masters degree in curricular instruction from Concordia University, which he obtained in 2001. He is married, with two children, and has lived in Forest Park since 1991.
“Andre had offered to serve on the finance committee but that committee hasn’t been operating for some time,” said Calderone. “He never had the opportunity, although he had the willingness and desire to do it. When this opportunity came up, because Andre seems like a person
with some passion to help the community he lives in, he stepped right up and
was willing to invest his time to improve all the services that the library has to
With his financial background and the library’s current situation, said Debbie King, president of the library board, Marshall was a natural fit.
“We needed someone with a good grasp in financial knowledge,” she said. “It was a perfect fit in that sense. He has really done his homework to see if it is a good fit for him and it allowed us to see if he is a good fit in terms of an asset for the board.”
For Marshall, who has been attending library board meetings since December, the biggest challenge facing the library is “the budget cuts”when you lose staff you need to come together with new plans.”
To deal with this, he said, he plans to volunteer for the finance committee on the board and, possibly, for the policy and procedures committee.
“I would like to look into the various referendums possible to get money to help with the shortage,” Marshall said. “We lost a full time and a part timer to help with that situation, we can try to find the money by working diligently with the village council and going from there.”
Webster, 57, who was appointed to the recreation board, said his desire to serve comes mostly from his active involvement on the other side of village government, especially during the dog park discussions.
“When they did the dog park thing, [residents] had a chance to voice [their] opinion so I thought I would go and see if
improvements could be made or something could be done and I got interested,”
He began to attend recreation board meetings and was soon a regular there, as well as in village council meetings. Eventually his interest translated into his involvement with CUinFP, an outspoken watchdog organization in Forest Park.
“It is your town, they work for us. It is our government, they should respond to our needs, and this, I feel, is a little bit that I can do,” he said. “Instead of sitting on the sidelines carping, I wanted to be in there trying to make a difference.”
A resident for almost 12 years, Webster said the biggest challenge for the recreation board is communication.
“I know one of the things that was discussed in the last meeting was trying to work together with the park district,” he said. “I think they could work more
closely together than they do. Both have good facilities and maybe they can do
things together for the kids in the village
because the kids really don’t have much
Webster will be a definite asset to the board, said Commissioner Theresa Steinbach, the village council liaison with the recreation board.
“He knows all the projects that are under consideration and he has an opinion that should be heard,” she said. “I think he views issues from a different perspective than the current board members, so the more ideas and opinions that can be heard the better.”