Elected state officials were entitled last week to exhale, to survey the patchwork, stop-gap, all-too-short, completely-unbalanced, status quo budget deal they struck and to feel momentary satisfaction. Compared to the purposeless morass in which all parties have been mucking about for 18 months, the temporary fix, the bipartisan pact represented some semblance of governing.

With social service agencies, schools and infrastructure extended a puny lifeline, however, there is no gratitude due our electeds. Instead they need to be whacked upside the head repeatedly so they know this is a totally unacceptable, minimal effort. No one should be congratulated for doing the very least possible.

Sure, we get it. Now we enter election season with no hope of getting anything accomplished until December or January. Anyone expecting notable shifts in the party make-up of the legislature in this election should just smile and spend down Mike Madigan and Bruce Rauner’s millions on dubious campaign mailers.  

Grandma’s social service agency will get paid, schools will open, roads will be paved. Still an utterly pathetic performance.

Down to earth

We first met Karen Rozmus, Oak Park’s environmental services manager, more than 30 years ago. Then as now, she was a Forest Park resident with a strong concern for the environment and a belief that individuals working in community were as essential to stewardship as any international accord.

That’s why Rozmus began writing her regular column on recycling in our Forest Park Review. Practical advice, collaborative approaches, and incremental thinking were the hallmarks of Karen’s plan to save at least a small piece of the planet.

Only a few years later, she was hired by Oak Park’s village government in the new position of environmental services within the public works department. And this is where the day-to-day, small-bore, always consistent magic happened. Collecting garbage grew into recycling, first paper, then plastic, then yard waste, then composting. She built relationships with businesses, apartment building owners, waste haulers, environmentalists, volunteer commissioners, homeowners. She solved their problems but always added a small step forward in what was right for the environment.

About the most approachable and down-to-earth person you could meet, we profile Karen Rozmus this week as she makes noises about a coming retirement. When that day comes, few people at village hall will have provided such exemplary and effective service.