Forest Park commissioners and the Mayor had a testy exchange near the meeting’s end over Commissioner Rory Hoskins leaking the proceedings from a closed session to the Forest Park Review in which a $20,000 raise for Village Administrator Tim Gillian was floated by Mark Hosty and shot down by the other three commissioners.
Hosty defended Gillian’s term as village administrator, saying he was the best of the four administrators in the village’s history.
“He is a bargain, even if he did not get the raise I proposed,” Hosty said.
Gillian worked the longest hours of any village employee and had saved the village $1 million by negotiating with bonding companies and in labor negotiations with unions, Hosty said. He pointed out that Gillian was the 16th highest paid non-union employee in the village.
“I put out a number to start a negotiation and start a conversation,” Hosty said.
He had harsh words for Hoskins, who violated the agreement to keep closed-session topics, such as salary discussions, private. “I hope we will keep [future] closed-door sessions private.”
Hoskins responded that he was concerned that Gillian had never had a formal performance review. He said opinions differed on Gillian’s performance.
“There’s a purpose for closed session,” Hoskins said. “In this case we had a commissioner who for his own personal motivations was essentially prepared to take money from the village. And I don’t think I acted adversely to the village. There has been a strong reaction and a well-founded reaction.” Hoskins also complained that the village clerk had been asked to do a salary survey of village administrators in neighboring communities, including Oak Park, which has a larger population. Cara Pavlicek, the new village manager of Oak Park will earn a base salary of $150,000 with the option of performance bonuses after one year’s service.
Tom Mannix asked if Hoskins could be “reprimanded for violating the sanctity of closed-door sessions,” but attorney Michael Durkin said there was no binding censure for speaking publicly about closed sessions. Some municipalities are just better than others at keeping closed sessions secret, he said.
Mayor Anthony Calderone called the newspaper reporting “salacious” and “irresponsible” because no decision was made and Gillian had “not received one penny.” He said the public perception was that the raise would be “ramrodded down.”
“I’ve gotten feedback also and people talk to me,” Calderone said. “Certainly they would have every right to be outraged with that type of an increase. We didn’t take any action; all we had was conversations.”
Correction: This article has been updated to correctly identify Village Attorney Michael Durkin. The Review regrets the error.