First reported 7/10/2009 10:04 a.m.

From an applicant pool of more than 30 people interested in being Forest Park’s next municipal administrator, a former village council member and political ally of the mayor is among the four finalists to be interviewed for the job.

Tim Gillian, a longtime village resident and childhood friend of Mayor Anthony Calderone, is expected to meet with the full council later this month to discuss the position.

For 12 years, until 2007, Gillian served alongside Calderone as a member of the village council, and the two supported one another’s campaigns. Calderone and commissioners Marty Tellalian and Mike Curry comprise the subcommittee responsible for selecting the finalists.

“I thought there were four candidates that deserved a second interview,” said Tellalian, who was elected in 2007 and did not serve with Gillian. “Certainly there was not agreement on who should be picked.”

Commissioner Rory Hoskins, who also won election in 2007, said he is “committed to keeping an open mind” as to who should ultimately be hired and could not speak to the likelihood of Gillian winning the job until he has a chance to conduct his own interview.

“I wouldn’t call it a surprise,” Hoskins said of Gillian’s selection.

The commissioner said he is interested in hiring a candidate with management experience. Gillian is a former paving contractor and currently works as a flight instructor. He was re-elected in April to a four-year term as a Proviso Township trustee.

“I don’t think it’s fair to really focus on Tim,” Hoskins said of the Review questioning whether Gillian is receiving undue favoritism.

When he walked away from his council seat in 2007, Gillian said that years of bitter discord soured him on Forest Park politics, but lately his interest is renewed. His application to hold the village’s ranking administrative title is born of a desire to serve, he said in an April interview.

As of July 9, Gillian said he had not heard from the municipality – formally or informally – whether he was still in the running. Village officials confirmed for the Review that Gillian is a finalist. The names of the three other finalists have not been disclosed.

“I have received no official notification of my being a finalist for that job,” Gillian said. “That’s good news, but unless there’s something in my mailbox today, I have received no official notice.”

Calderone declined to comment on the hiring process for the village administrator’s position, stating that the newspaper already had its story.

“There’s nothing more that I can add to that,” Calderone said.

Curry, too, declined to talk about any specific application for the job. Asked whether social and political relationships with members of the hiring body ought be taken into consideration, he said, “Everything should be considered by the council.

“I want someone who has common sense and is going to make good, smart decisions in the best interest of Forest Park.”

Council members said they hope to meet with the four finalists July 22 and July 29.