John Doss was 15 years old when he got a job painting parking meters for the Public Works Department in Forest Park. He has since spent his entire life working for that office.
Doss, who’s never held another full-time job, received unanimous approval from the village council Monday night to replace the department’s director, Bob Kutak, when Kutak resigns the post July 1.
“It’s going to be hard to replace Bob,” Doss said. “He’s a good worker, a great boss, a great friend of mine. We grew up together.”
Doss, 41, grew up in Forest Park and has lived in the village his entire life. He is the son of a former Forest Park police officer.
After working for the Public Works Department during the summers in high school, Doss joined the department full-time after graduating from Proviso East High School. He has spent much of his career working in the forestry department. Since 2006 he has held the assistant director’s position, and has worked full-time for the department since 1985.
The Public Works Department has 17 full-time employees and a $7 million budget.
The two commissioners who share oversight of the department, Marty Tellalian and Mark Hosty, praised the appointment at Monday’s meeting.
“He seems comfortable in that chair already,” Hosty, commissioner of the department of Streets and Public Improvement, said. Doss attended the June 9 council meeting in Kutak’s stead and was seated with the village’s other department heads.
“He brings a lot of positives to the position,” Tellalian, who serves as commissioner for the department of Public Property, said.
The unanimous decision to promote Doss to the director’s seat was apparently less contentious than the decision several years ago to appoint Kutak as the head of the office. In 1999 Kutak was promoted to lead the department of Streets and Public Improvement, however, that office was merged with the department of Public Property several years later. It was after that merger that council members found themselves split over who should be in charge.
Despite the council’s united front on Monday, Tellalian expressed reservations about the pending appointment just days before the vote. Doss’ name appeared on the council’s meeting agenda that was released Friday. Tellalian said then that there was a “difference of opinion” as to whether Doss should get the nod.
“Mark [Hosty] and I feel differently,” Tellalian said Friday.
He said he would prefer to conduct a more exhaustive search and that he was willing to look both internally and externally for the best candidate.
Prior to Monday’s council meeting, both Hosty and Village Administrator Mike Sturino declined to comment on the selection process that identified Doss as the department’s next director.
Mayor Anthony Calderone said Monday that Doss brings valuable experience to the position.
“I’m happy and excited for John Doss,” Calderone said. “He’s been a good employee for the village of Forest Park for a good number of years.”
Doss was elected to the Park District’s board in 2007 and has been active in recreational programs in Forest Park. He has served as the men’s basketball league director and has refereed in the cooperative basketball program.
Doss said he wants to build on Kutak’s work in the department and continue the village’s reputation for prompt snow removal during the winter months.
Doss said he is mindful of the difficult financial situation in the village and will be looking to save money wherever he can.
“I’d like to start saving a little money; improve some of our streets,” Doss said. “Other than that, just try to do as good a job as Bob has for years.”
Forest Park Review intern Jacob Boyer contributed to this report.