A fractured village council remains so after another split vote surrounding the newly hired administrator, Tim Gillian.
Gillian was awarded an 18-month contract during Monday evening’s council meeting, the terms of which were hashed out in the days following his Aug. 24 hire. Both his contract and his employment with the village came on 3-2 votes with commissioners Marty Tellalian and Rory Hoskins in the minority.
Absent from the decision on Gillian’s contract, however, was the fiery rhetoric that had been offered by the commissioners in the weeks and months leading up to Gillian’s selection as the top administrative official at village hall. Neither Tellalian nor Hoskins voiced any objections to the contract being offered, but both voted against it.
Asked afterward about his vote, Hoskins said he objected to five specific paragraphs in the contract. Language in those sections, he said, give Mayor Anthony Calderone license to “micromanage” the position. However, Hoskins said that voicing his concerns would have been a frivolous exercise.
“It’s been a 3-2 vote the whole time,” Hoskins said.
In negotiating with Gillian, Calderone said that at no time did any of the elected officials object to the terms being discussed. The council met once to discuss Gillian’s salary and benefits.
“Nobody asked me any questions about the contract,” Calderone said.
According to a copy of the contract provided by the village, Gillian will earn a base salary of $90,000. That figure falls squarely into the advertised salary range of $80,000 to $100,000. Gillian’s compensation package also includes a monthly cellphone stipend of $100, unrestricted use of a municipal vehicle, and gas money.
Another $3,500 a year will be set aside to cover any travel expenses Gillian may incur while attending conferences and workshops. Use of that fund is at the sole discretion of the mayor.
Vacation time, insurance coverage and retirement contributions will be provided in accordance with the municipality’s employee handbook, according to the contract.
Commissioner Mike Curry, who championed “common sense” as a prerequisite for the job, praised the new administrator’s contract as a significant cost savings when compared with what was paid former village administrator Mike Sturino. In 2007, Sturino signed a multiyear contract worth $125,000 in the first year.
Gillian, 55, is a lifelong resident of Forest Park and previously served 12 years on the council from 1995 to 2007. He has no background in public administration and did not attend college, but helped run a multimillion-dollar family-owned paving company. In a recent interview with the Review, Gillian said it is his business experience and his time in public office that provides the bulk of his expertise.
Tellalian, however, has criticized Gillian’s hire as a cozy arrangement between lifelong friends. Calderone and Gillian have known one another since childhood and campaigned together for seats on the council. The mayor cast the deciding vote last month to hire his friend and political ally.
During that August council meeting, Tellalian described Gillian as an unqualified applicant who would never be hired elsewhere as an administrator.
In voting against Gillian’s contract, Tellalian did not retreat from his remarks, but extended a peace offering.
“I want to welcome Tim to the village and wish him all the luck and success that he can have,” Tellalian said. “He’s a member of the team now.”