Two new commissioners were elected to the village council after a neck-and-neck race that featured 11 candidates, whose vote totals were in some cases a fraction of a percentage point apart. The rookie board members are Chris Harris and Tom Mannix.
The village council now comprises Harris and Mannix as well as incumbents Rory Hoskins and Mark Hosty.
The addition of the two first-time electees changes a bitterly divided and contentious council that was controlled by a three-person majority led by Mayor Anthony Calderone.
Mannix, Hosty and Calderone could not be reached for comment Tuesday night, but were reportedly celebrating together at Healy’s Westside, which Hosty operates.
But if slates are any indication of how the new commissioners will vote, Calderone will retain his majority on the council. Hosty is a longtime, outspoken Calderone loyalist (they have served together since 1999) and Mannix was backed by the mayor during his run for commissioner.
“It’s an honor to … be re-elected,” Hoskins said. “Hopefully we can formulate a common vision.”
Recently, Hoskins butted heads with Calderone and his allies on the board.
“I’m willing to do what’s best for Forest Park,” Hoskins said.
“I’d like to think that free thought will prevail,” Harris said. “I don’t know enough about the mysterious Tom Mannix … [but] I would like to think that perhaps he’s open to the free thought of all things that are good for Forest Park.”
Throughout the campaign, Harris called for transparency in government and the economic redevelopment of Roosevelt Road. Mannix talked about a buy-local campaign, but for much of the race his biggest talking point was a push to separate from District 209 to bring a new high school to Forest Park.
The outgoing commissioners are Marty Tellalian, who was defeated in the mayoral race by 12-year incumbent Calderone and Mike Curry.
Overall turnout was low, but Hoskins led the pack with 1,356 votes (13.23 percent); Hosty grabbed 1,197 votes (11.68 percent); Harris had 1,194 votes (11.65 percent); and Mannix got 1,061 votes (10.36 percent).