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Council members may be nearer to filling what is proving to be a crucial vacancy at village hall as the application period for hiring the next village administrator comes to a close. An estimated 30 prospects were culled, according to elected officials, and now the process of weeding through résumés begins.

“There’s a wide range and there seem to be some strong candidates,” Commissioner Marty Tellalian said of the applicant pool. “I’m pretty pleased – with what you can tell from a résumé.”

Alongside Commissioner Mike Curry and Mayor Anthony Calderone, Tellalian will assemble a list of finalists for the vacant position. Those applicants, likely no more than a handful, will be called in for interviews with all five of the council members.

The hiring process was first discussed in January during a contentious meeting in which council members appeared to jockey for greater political and administrative authority. That power struggle has continued to dominate the way in which elected officials interact with one another.

During the council’s Feb. 23 meeting, further details of the hiring process were agreed to, such as conducting phone interviews with out-of-state applicants before paying any transportation costs.

“After reading through the résumés there are definitely a couple that jump out,” Commissioner Mark Hosty said.

Former village administrator Mike Sturino left Forest Park in mid January after taking a job in the private sector with the transportation industry. Prior to Sturino’s departure, the tone of village council meetings was more congenial and there was no indication during those public sessions that a power struggle was brewing. Mayor Anthony Calderone, whose authority as a three-term mayor appeared to be regarded by council members as a matter of fact, has lately been besieged by rivals, particularly commissioners Rory Hoskins and Curry.

Just prior to the close of the deadline for applicants, Feb. 20, Curry said he had not reviewed any of the résumés at length. The names of candidates will not be revealed, and Curry declined to comment on whether he was familiar with any of the applicants.

“I can tell you my number one criteria would be common sense,” Curry said during Monday’s meeting. “I wouldn’t want to hire someone with a Ph.D. and no common sense.”

Calderone, too, said he had not yet reviewed any of the résumés.

Several commissioners had expressed an interest in finding an interim village administrator, however, it does not appear that proposal is gaining any traction. It was not mentioned Monday.

The council has not set a firm timeline to interview applicants and make a hiring decision, though several in the group have said they would like to make a decision by early spring. In the meantime, budget discussions for fiscal year 2010 have begun, and department heads are preparing their requests. It is not clear whether a village administrator will be hired in time to assist with the budgeting process. The current fiscal year ends April 30.