Crossing guards have thankless job

My wife Joann Golden has been a crossing guard for 13 years on the corner of Randolph and Desplaines. In that time she, like all the other crossing guards, are on their corners in all kinds of weather conditions.

They keep their eyes on the children to and from school. They break up arguments between children, which otherwise could result in fights. They listen to their problems and try to advise them to do the right thing.

They make sure their jackets are zipped, their hats are on, shoes are tied and that they have their books.

While doing all this they watch for anyone or anything unusual and the ever present traffic problems. Most of them know the parents.

For this, Forest Park gives them a small salary, inadequate uniforms and no benefits of any kind; no hospital insurance, no paid sick days, no paid holidays. Zip.

Joann was hit by a car a couple years ago on her job; she got nothing from Forest Park for this, not even a card. Her only other income is a part-time job at Blue Max.

I’ve been ill and in need of surgery and have a small social security check. Being a senior, I do have medical insurance, but not for Joann.

My point is this. If anyone is thinking of being a crossing guard, you’d best think twice because you’re on your own. Joann will keep this job if they let her because we need the money.

Jim Golden
Forest Park

Intent clearly stated

The Nov. 28 edition of the Review contained a cover article entitled “Phantom appraisal is result of misunderstanding.” In this article, Village Administrator Mike Sturino states that, contrary to the approved minutes of the council’s Jan. 8 meeting, there never was an appraisal for $4.6 million nor was that figure used as the basis for setting an asking price. While it may be true that there never was an appraisal for $4.6 million, the previous village council thought the appraised value was $4.6 million when they approved the selling price of $4.3 million. In fact, at the Jan. 8, council meeting, Mayor Calderone clearly states that “The appraised value is $4.6 million.” In addition, Commissioner Hosty in part justifies the $4.3 million selling price by stating that “the number being offered is less than 8 percent below market” and that the village is only discounting the value by $300,000. When a statement is made about the maximum allowed discount, which is 20 percent of market value, Village Attorney Mike Durkin responds “20 percent would be $920,000” which is 20 percent of $4.6 million.

There is absolutely no question that on Jan. 8 of this year, when the village council approved the selling price of $4.3 million, they, and we, were told by Mayor Calderone that the appraised value was $4.6 million and the discount being given to the YMCA was $300,000. If this was an error, no one present from the council or staff corrected this error.

I can understand why none of the commissioners corrected this error if the previous council was given the same conflicting appraisals that have been given to the current council. The problem then, as now, is that we really don’t know the market value of the property being sold to the YMCA. Officially, the property is being discounted $1 million. However, as I presented at the Nov. 13 council meeting, I think the discount is much greater than $1 million and much greater than the maximum of 20 percent allowed by law.

Village Administrator Mike Sturino was also quoted as saying the approved minutes of Jan. 8 were “mistranslated” and blamed the error on the village clerk. Further, Mr. Sturino is quoted as saying “That is the problem when you try to write too specific minutes of meetings.” The minutes of Jan. 8 are completely accurate and the problem is not too many details or “mistranslations.” The problem is that incorrect statements were made. The minutes are correct and are now being used to identify the incorrect statements made at the meeting.

Unfortunately, at the recent direction of Mayor Calderone, future council minutes are to reflect a record of what was done and not what was said. For years, the minutes from village council meetings included the substance of the council discussion but the Nov. 13 minutes have much less detail and largely contain only a record of what was done. I tried to amend the Nov. 13 minutes to add basic information but no one would second my proposed amendments to these minutes. Fortunately, the Open Meetings Act may require that the village council minutes include the substance of the discussion. And even if not legally required, for the sake of open government, I will continue to ask my fellow commissioners and the mayor to support minutes which provide the basis for our actions. The residents of Forest Park have the right to know what actions are taken by their village council and why.

Commissioner Marty Tellalian
Forest Park

Thanks for the party

I would like to thank the Howard Mohr Community Center staff for helping our son celebrate his seventh birthday. For those of you who don’t know, the Community Center offers fantastic birthday parties for children, at an incredibly reasonable rate. The Community Center staff–Patty Marino, in particular-will customize a party to suit your child’s interests. For our son, that included hot dogs, cake, ice cream, kick ball, dodge ball, football, video games, balloons and party favors for all guests. Simply put, he and 15 of his buddies had a blast. The best part is that my husband and I didn’t have to do a thing! I strongly encourage you to check out the Community Center for your child’s next birthday party.

I also want to thank the entire Community Center Clubhouse Day Care staff for supporting the children of Forest Park. It is a great feeling knowing that our son has access to a quality after-school program that he loves attending. The staff is great, and the counselors are terrific role models for the children. In short, the Community Center is a great place for children and a wonderful resource for all of Forest Park.

Nancy Hoehne
Forest Park