After the Forest Park Village Council, Aug. 27, unanimously approved Mayor Anthony Calderone’s recommendation that Georgia Tsaganos be appointed Forest Park’s new village treasurer, Village Clerk Vanessa Moritz administered the oath of office.
Tsaganos succeeds Andy Collis, who died in July after serving for more than 25 years in the position, according to Calderone.
She lives in Forest Park with her husband, Vasilis, and their 12-year-old triplets, son Fotios and daughters Constantina and Petroula. Raised in Forest Park, she has been a resident since moving back in 2000. Except for a 10-year period, she has been a Forest Park resident her entire life.
Tsaganos described the position as “more of a signatory function” and an “as-needed position.” Calderone termed it as “ministerial” since full time staff members are responsible for the day-to-day operations.
“This is neither a full-time nor part-time position,” he explained. “It is a position wherein the treasurer is responsible for certifying all of the village’s receipts and expenses as well as certifying by signature other related documents such as plats of survey and documents associated with police and fire pension funds.”
Although she has worked in education since receiving her master of arts in teaching degree in 2011, Tsaganos has over 20 years’ experience in business, including in pharmaceutical sales with Fujisawa Healthcare Inc. and American Pharmaceutical Partners Inc., and as an event planner for Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises Inc.’s now-closed Ben Pao restaurant.
“It’s not like I don’t have the skill set,” she said. “Everything I’ve done except for my time in education has involved finance. I spent quite a few years in business overseeing multimillion-dollar accounts.”
Calderone explained that the treasurer is paid an annual stipend with a range between $2,500 and $3,500 annually. Tsaganos also will be bonded at village expense for $50,000.
She said her motivation is to give back to the community, not money or political gain.
“I believe in stewardship,” Tsaganos explained. “This is an opportunity to do my part for the village. This is not something to springboard into politics.
“This is my hometown,” she said. “I feel like I’m part of the fabric of Forest Park.”
She was approached about the position by Calderone in May, she said, but “didn’t want to do anything while Mr. Collis was alive,” noting she knew him since she was a child.
Tsaganos said she contacted Calderone after Collis’ death to see if there still was interest in her serving as his replacement and they “firmed things up in August,” leading to her appointment.
According to Calderone, Tsaganos was selected after consultation with Joe Byrnes, commissioner of accounts and finance. He said several names were discussed but Tsaganos was the person settled on and ultimately recommended for appointment, noting her resume “presented a well-rounded individual.”
Calderone said he did not act sooner since Collis was “alert, walking and able up until his passing,” even though he was confined to an extended care facility for two months.
“Because he was not incapacitated, I did not advance the name of a replacement until and after his passing although in planning ahead, Joe and I began the process of identifying someone to fill this required position,” he explained.
Tsaganos said she will “serve as long as the village needs me to serve,” though her appointment by law concludes with the end of Calderone’s term as mayor.
“I don’t see this position as serving the current mayor,” she explained. “I see the position as serving the village.”