The main criticism Forest Park “leaders” pushed about Rory Hoskins this election was that he “didn’t accomplish much” as our commissioner. This line of attack is both deceptive and stupid as it exposes the core problem of our village government.
Here’s the deal: For the past 10 years or so, our commissioners only “accomplish” via mayoral approval. Indeed, accomplishments committed without mayoral blessing and a full transfer-of-credit to the mayor is called “grandstanding.”
After years of witnessing our village council meetings and backroom goings-on, grandstanding occurs when a commissioner does his job – you know, the job residents elected him to do as opposed to, say, being a bobble-head for great mayoral schemes.
What a quaint word this “grandstanding” is. I never heard it used much until I moved to Forest Park, where it appeared such a serious offense, I thought folks were confusing it with grand larceny.
Patrick Doolin and Terry Steinbach regularly grandstanded (aka, did their jobs) but those actions were declared “personal” by the Grandstander-In-Chief, Tony Calderone. You may be wondering why the mayor gets to grandstand with impunity? Shut up, that’s why.
Marty Tellalian also grandstanded (aka, did his job) and was punished by a 3-2 vote to transfer his elected duties to the mayor. But grandstanding never quite stuck to Tellalian and so the “3s” disparaged him as an “engineer” and “too detail-oriented” when he asked pesky questions like, “Where is the appraisal for the Altenheim property?”
Mike Curry tried to grandstand once (aka, do his job) as the duly elected Commish of Health and Safety, declaring from the dais his intention to finally have our ridiculous residential zoning code re-written. Apparently, Curry was not cut out for grandstanding (aka, doing his job) so he deserted his constituents and handed over his job to the mayor and the mayor’s newly appointed side-kick, Tim Gillian, both of whom knew where the zoning bodies were buried and were able, for the most part, to keep them that way. Curry was subsequently defeated in his re-election bid.
Chris Harris recently “pulled a fast one” (aka, did his job) by organizing the Altenheim Town Hall meeting without mayoral blessing, and the residents still thank him for his grandstanding (aka, doing his job.)
Are we learning?
And grandstanding (aka, doing his job) is exactly how Rory incurred the wrath of Calderone and his lackeys – way back in Rory’s first term when he grandstanded (aka, did his job) to get free computers for Betsy Ross students. Although the severity of Rory’s offense was eased when he shared kudos with Calderone and Hosty, the defense system was alerted.
When Rory had the audacity – as a decent human, as an active resident and as an elected official – to launch the Juneteenth Pool Party for our kids, Calderone went into full battle mode because children having squealing, wet fun is a Public Affair. I guess.
Forest Park’s commissioner form of government was never, never ever, constructed nor intended to support a Daley/Rahm wannabe. In fact, Illinois state law does not allow a small village to have a Mayor of Everything* (aka, MOE) or if you prefer the honorific, Mr. MOE.
We should work on that.
*Small Print: Please be aware that if any aspect of Everything turns out poorly, it then becomes the responsibility of a grandstanding commissioner, Chicago’s Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, or the media.