“‘Transparency’ – that’s the big buzzword today,” said Mayor Anthony Calderone Monday night in another of his ill-considered bromides intended to suggest that he’s victimized by citizens, commissioners and newspapers who’d just like a straight answer.
The topic at Monday’s council meeting was the village’s policy on use of village computers and electronic communication devices. The policy was up for discussion and we’d bet our bottom dollar it might have some connection to the recent settlement of a lawsuit between the village and a former village council member who sued village government charging that her municipal e-mail had been hacked into.
We don’t know for sure because the terms of the settlement have not been divulged. Call us transparency-crazy, but when a village official sues the village and a settlement is reached, we’d like to know the terms. Was cash exchanged? Did anyone admit wrongdoing? Were changes in village policy agreed to?
Our Freedom of Information Act request has yet to be filled.
We credit Commissioner Marty Tellalian with asking the questions and taking the abuse from his colleagues over his impertinence.
“The facts of this ordinance will come out,” said Tellalian. “I don’t think it is very transparent.” Ah, that word again!
And Calderone’s astonished response? “What in the world do you mean?”
He means – we mean – show us the settlement. Explain what’s happening behind the curtain, Wizard.
These aren’t complicated concepts. The village belongs to the citizens. Citizens have chosen a handful of people to act on their behalf, in their interests for a fixed period of time. Elected officials are stewards of the public’s trust, not overseers.
We’ve said it before many times. Good things have happened in Forest Park over the past decade. Mayor Anthony Calderone gets a good deal of credit for the town’s growth and improvement. But he would do better if he could just get over himself.
We’ve been watching Calderone in action for multiple terms. We’re struck, though, by the observations of a citizen who says she has been to a grand total of three council meetings.
Amber Ladeira posted a comment on our Web site after attending Monday’s meeting.
“Mr. Calderone repeats himself gratuitously, speaks condescendingly, and really wants to be the person who gets to talk the longest and most tellingly at the public village meetings, which he seems to regard as his personal fiefdom.”