The mayor’s request at the most recent village council meeting to hire a liquor adjudicator makes some sense given his role as the unofficial greeter to the business community. Anthony Calderone wears many hats as the most powerful man in this small town and one of the hats he wears well is that of a liaison between village government and local business.

By ordinance, he also serves as the liquor commissioner. He alone holds the authority to issue new licenses and revoke those that are abused. Fines and suspensions for violations are also meted out at his discretion.

Given the incredible number of bars and restaurants in Forest Park, it’s no stretch to imagine the awkward look on his face when, after warmly welcoming a new entrepreneur, he has to enforce a stiff penalty or suspension. It’s even possible he could find himself sitting across from a campaign donor at one of these hearings since a number of license holders are also Calderone supporters.

Add to the mix the mayor’s numerous connections through his private sector gig, providing security services as the founder of Illinois Alarm, and it’s plain to see that conflict abounds.

But those are not the reasons he gave for wanting to hire an independent adjudicator. Instead, it appears Calderone wants to continue to collect the $10,000 stipend as liquor commissioner, and avoid being the bad guy while somebody else does the heavy lifting.

There were questions from the council that went unanswered with respect to funding this new position. We suggest the pay be drawn from the liquor commissioner’s salary, thus avoiding any new expense to the taxpayers.

Be thankful, be gracious

Along with the onslaught of commercialized values the public is bombarded with each holiday season, there’s a quieter, albeit less exciting, call that also goes out this time of year. Cold weather, coupled with the celebration of family and prosperity, can make for a dismal season if you’re lacking in these areas. Charitable groups that often spend their entire year trying to connect the less fortunate with America’s bounty will surely turn up the volume on their message these next few weeks. We would encourage everyone to lend their ear.

A group of children in Forest Park are donating food to a local pantry thanks to the organizing efforts of a local church. No doubt, the parents in these families had a hand in teaching this lesson of humility and grace. Though we don’t all have our parents looking over our shoulder encouraging us to do the right thing, here’s hoping we were listening.