Now that village commissioners have completed their home renovations and Mayor Anthony Calderone has got the village administrator he always dreamed of in his longtime friend Tim Gillian, perhaps in 2010 our elected officials could focus on actually running Forest Park.
The last 12 months have felt enormously like a train coming off the tracks. Years of negotiations for the new YMCA went poof. The Roos project collapsed. The building department imploded after being left looking loony by village commissioners who forgot to pull building permits. The imploded department looked ridiculous when a business owner built an addition that looked nothing like what had been approved. And the mayor embarrassed himself and the town when he ranted in response to a Review article on the business expansion by saying, “A roof is a roof albeit flat or peaked, walls are walls whether concrete or wood.” Unless the mayor is ready to pass an ordinance declaring zoning officially irrelevant in Forest Park he should learn to keep quiet.
Honestly, it’s felt like amateur hour in the village in 2009. But we’re willing to give officials a mulligan for the year. Yes, the entire year. The economy was lousy which certainly didn’t help on development. The village spent the year without an administrator and it showed.
But it is a new year. The challenges are real, there are messes to be sorted through, there will be opportunities to pursue, though the economy will offer no gifts. For good things to happen, Administrator Gillian will need to step up and run the operations of this town. We think he can do that. But for that to happen, elected officials, starting with his buddy the mayor, have to stop the shenanigans that keep diverting the effort.
The commissioners are divided. That’s been the case now for six years. There are reasons for this, the main one having to do with Tony Calderone coming down with a bad case of Mayor Daley disease, otherwise known as “Mayor for Life Aspirations Syndrome.” Too often he is sure he is right. Most often he assumes that those who disagree with him are against him. Repeat that cycle frequently enough and communication lapses, positions harden.
It doesn’t make for good government.
The next 12 months – all of 2010 – needs to be spent applying the lessons learned from 2009. If the lessons were actually learned. No excuses. No mulligans.