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For the third time, the Proviso Township High School District 209 school board dodged a request by the state-appointed Financial Oversight Panel to hire a part-time finance director for the district. This time, board members refused to make a motion to discuss the appointment of a finance director even though three bids were on the agenda Sept. 18.

The district sent out a request for proposals in June and three finance firms responded. The administration recommended to the board that they accept the bid of Speer Financial Inc. for $13,500. Two other companies submitted bids of $20,000 each: Ehlers & Associates Inc. and PMA Securities Inc.

The oversight panel expressed frustration and said they were perplexed that the board had not moved on the hire.

“I’m confused that you wouldn’t vote on this. Three responses have died at the board level for lack of a motion,” said Craig Shilling of the oversight board. “These are all good companies, and one has a very good price.”

Board member Kevin McDermott said he had not made a motion to address the agenda item because he was not on the subcommittee in charge of finding the finance director.

Oversight panel members told McDermott – who the only board member who stayed to attend the FOP meeting – that the district would probably require $20 million in “life safety” repairs to facilities over the next few years and that a financial director would be able to help the district craft a bond strategy to pay for the repairs.

“It’s not good business policy to not have a finance advisor to help you with this,” said Chairman James Popernik.

Jean Lotus

Jean Lotus loves community journalism. She covers news, features, two school boards, village council, crime, park district and writes obits for Forest Park Review. She also covers the police beat for...