Progress, not cronyism must steer decisions
Big city access, small time charm. For the last 15 years, we have invested enormous amounts of energy and money building up Forest Park and promoting its benefits. Long-time residents dug deeper roots and many new folks made Forest Park their home because of those promises. We are in danger of gravely damaging our hard-earned reputation.
Today at 3 p.m. the final round of village administrator interviews convenes. From this newspaper we understand the council has chosen four finalists, including Tim Gillian. This situation is deeply troubling.
Gillian is widely recognized as a fine person and his service to the village as commissioner is unquestioned, but those qualities simply don’t translate into the specialized training and experience required for the administrator’s position. Most troubling though is Gillian’s deep personal and political involvement with the present mayor, which would necessarily question his judgment and actions as chief administrator. For those reasons he should not be hired.
As residents of Illinois, Cook County and Proviso, we know this scenario well and rightly call it a conflict of interest and cronyism. From Wikipedia: “Cronyism is partiality to long-standing friends, especially by appointing them to positions of authority, regardless of their qualifications. The economic and social costs of cronyism are paid by society.”
Forest Park is uniquely situated – geographically we link with Oak Park and River Forest but are technically in Proviso Township. For much of our history we have maneuvered this conflict through autonomy and self-sufficiency. In the late 1990s, we took strong steps to align ourselves closer to the culture and good governance of OP-RF, which included creating the professional position of village administrator and successfully rehabbing and promoting our downtown district. Residents, old and new, followed that lead and invested enormous sweat and equity into their homes. There is no justification to jeopardize those investments with a highly compromised hire.
If Gillian is hired, it will be an unnecessary step backwards and be perceived, at least, as an irrevocable move toward the tawdry practices of Proviso politics. In short, we can promote our town as charming and progressive ’til the cows come home, but no one will believe us. There is just no way to spin this.
All of us can respect Gillian’s wish to serve, but the administrator’s position is not the proper venue.
Despite the cold weather, over 50 Forest Park children joined the Forest Park Youth Commission for the second annual Youth Commission Pool Party on July 17.
This pool party would not have been possible without the support of many people. A big thank you is extended to Marty Tellalian and Cathy McDermott, both of whom generously donated a two hour pool party to the Youth Commission; to Sgt. Bell, officer Funk, and Rory Hoskins for helping supervise; and to the Forest Park Post and the Forest Park Review for helping with advertising this event. We would also like to thank the Park District of Forest Park staff for working with us to coordinate this event.
Mary Win Connor, chairwoman
Forest Park Youth Commission
Open for business
A couple of people we know have asked us if we are closing our business. Apparently there is a rumor going around about it. We would like our clients and everyone else interested to know that, no, we are not closing. We would not close without letting all our terrific clients know first.
We have a great staff that is working hard to service our clients to their best ability, as always. If you call and get the answering machine, please leave a message on our voice mail. We will respond as soon as possible. Since we have a receptionist only on Saturdays, and are pretty busy during the week, it is difficult for us to stop working on a pet to answer the telephone.
Patricia Littlecreek, president
Pat’s Pet Emporium, Ltd.
I am an old Forest Parker whose memory goes back a long way. I’ve been proud to have served the community in many ways, being involved with both banks at various times.
Over many years I served as a board member of both the Forest Park Chamber of Commerce and Main Street Redevelopment Association along with the Trages, among others.
Judy Trage, especially, gave of her own time, raising funds for various projects and giving generously of her time promoting Forest Park.
She was also instrumental in working with and planning the first of many Christmas Walks. The freezing cold never deterred her.
I take offense at the in-depth reporting of your article airing the personal troubles in relation to the closing of Trage Bros., a staple in our community.
Nancy Andro Walker Svoboda