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Bills stack up for building permit
My husband, Jim Angelo, and I bought a house in Forest Park in May, 2005. We purchased the property “As Is,” knowing that the garage and electrical had to be upgraded. This did not seem as such a daunting task at the time.

June of 2005, we went to the village and handed in all of the relevant paper work for the variance and building permits required to tear down and rebuild the garage. At that time we paid $150.

We did not make the July ZBA meeting and while waiting for the August ZBA meeting, Jim and I decided to go slightly larger. We met with Danley Garage Company and took some measurements and found we could go slightly larger and remain within our budget.

Danley drew up all the required paper work and we ran it over to Lin in the Building Permits Department. Unfortunately, we did not know that we needed a second building permit cover sheet stating that we had changed the measurements. We were approved for the original measurements by the ZBA board in August of 2005.

August 31 of 2005 we received our first bill from Forest Park concerning the garage. I called Jo Ellen Charlton and spoke to her about the bill. She told me that it was for running the notice in the paper, mailing all our neighbors information as to what we were doing, and other miscellaneous legal fees. We were not happy with this at the time, but Jo Ellen assured me that since all the paperwork had already been done, the next bill we would receive would be for less.

September rolls around and we’re back at the ZBA. The correct measurements are approved and we can start building. We receive the second bill from Jo Ellen around November 10, 2005. The bill is less than the first bill and we just pay it.

Jim and I have our garage built and we’re happy. January 21, 2006, we receive the third bill regarding the garage. This one is the most expensive and by far the latest.

I call Jo Ellen first thing on Monday, January 23. She tells me that she needs to speak with Michael Boyle about this bill. I looked up Michael Boyle’s phone number from the Forest Park website and called him as well.

Michael Boyle explained to me that the invoice was lost for the last three months in a file folder, and that the invoice is for mailing my neighbors, running the notice in the paper, and other legal fees, the same thing the other two invoices were for. He goes on to tell me that he’s working on lowering these costs and a better explanation of these costs.

My husband and I cannot in good judgment pay this bill until we have an acceptable explanation of why we are being charged $906.25 for what should have been a very simple variance.

We are asking for a detailed invoice with all of the costs broken down. Secondly, we have to put off the purchase of a much needed water heater and other home improvements because of this bill.

This also puts doubt into our minds as to other home improvements that we would want to do, but with an additional $900 charge tacked on to the building permit and variance we would not be able to start the new projects. We are trying very hard to be good homeowners and good neighbors in our new community.

Jim and I would also like to hear from other Forest Park residents who were also charged exorbitant amounts of money to get a variance. Please email us at stuccolow@gmail.com.

Monica Golant
Forest Park

‘In your face’ politics
Mr. Chris Welch is at it again”with his “in your face” style of school leadership. With the recent official actions at High School District 209 and, more recently, Bellwood Elementary School District 88 (where Mr. Welch is board attorney), the message being sent is “I’ll do whatever I want to do and any school administrator who opposes me is out of here.”

Those apparently opposing him include: former Supt. Greg Jackson; Asst. Supt. Kelvin Gilchrist; and now Supt. Willie Mack from District 88 (the latter being replaced by former District 89 Superintendent Drew Starsiak which is a real slap in the face)!

With these ousted superintendents go unproductive dollars to the tune of nearly a million dollars. Regular paychecks still flow to these three ousted individuals while, at taxpayer expense, they sit out their extended contracts! This money would be better spent serving our children.

And who’s next? Although Mr. Libka has put his signature on the line for these actions, some who have had previous dealings with him feel that this is not his personal style. It appears that he is being used, or is it a matter of just biding time to his own retirement.

And, to add insult to injury, one can only wonder how it is that Ms. Murphy, who assumes additional duties to cover for the ousted administrators, will not receive additional compensation. Could this be because she’s female?

If poor student performance was a reason for this action, why was this action taken now when test scores have actually risen, even if minimally so.

And if low test scores were the real reason why these administrators were relieved of their duties, it would seem to me more prudent and cost-effective to put the pressure on to hold them accountable for their performance”especially since we have to pay them anyway.

Or, is this not feasible because a plan is not in place to impact student achievement? Mr. Gilchrist’s current projects were “cancelled” so what replaced them? Mr. Libka was quoted as saying that he “can’t give details” because this is a “private personnel matter.” I beg to differ”this is a public education matter”about the future of our children.

As Educational CEO/Consultant, Mr. Libka is receiving a salary to provide the details! Since he “can’t give details,” perhaps he doesn’t really have a better handle on curriculum and instruction than the administrator he put on leave. And, yes, the public (including parents) does have an interest in the “details” and we are indeed “entitled” to know how this action will better serve our children.

Each decision made by the district should answer the question, “How will this decision help the students achieve”? The termination of these administrators has nothing to do with teaching and learning but rather their refusal to allow Chris Welch to continue to misuse tax dollars”appropriated for education”for contracts, political contributions, and jobs to secure his future!

Further, I agree wholeheartedly with District 209 board member Dr. Charles Flowers that this decision should not have been the independent decision of an “Educational CEO/Consultant” without board approval. The fact that Chris Welch has shown no outrage about this apparent abuse of power is evidence enough for me that he orchestrated the whole thing.

Where is the accountability? Did Mr. Gilchrist (and former Supt. Jackson) represent such a threat as to be barred from school grounds? Or, was there some type of unprincipled activity going on that they couldn’t agree with or support and this is why they were removed? It appears Mr. Welch is moving pieces on the chessboard and allowing district staff to be the scapegoat for his actions.

The recently signed 209 teacher’s contract carried a generous 19 percent raise over four years. Agreed, teachers should be paid a lot more than janitors, but where is the leadership plan to create the culture change necessary to improve academic achievement and to encourage parent and community involvement in student academic success. Since all of Mr. Gilchrist’s projects were “cancelled,” it appears that this action will leave a void and only perpetuate an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty”if not for the teachers, most assuredly for the administrators “left behind.”

Finally, it saddens me that this type of shenanigans is being carried out by those who are known to be Christians. Or is it that Lucifer is “in the house””at both 209 and 88″and he’s using the initials C.W. I do hope that the Attorney General is also in the house. Rest assured, the handwriting is on the wall for a property tax increase and/or another bond issue to be pushed down our throats.

As I drive through Maywood and see the village littered with “Gene” Moore and Chris Welch signs, it’s a painful reminder that these two are again “in your face” with their campaign to do more harm”at the Proviso Committeeman and State Representative levels. They both are running against Karen Yarbrough, who is running on a campaign of “unbossed” and “unbought” politics. Let’s hope that she can garner the support to prevail against these two individuals who are clearly operating in their own self-interest.

If anyone reading this letter is interested in providing support to a movement to clean up our schools, I would be pleased to hear from you at 344-3577.

Barbara Cole
Maywood