Tim Gillian announced his plan to retire as Forest Park’s village administrator way back on Nov. 23. He gave the mayor and the village council two months notice of his plan to depart on Jan. 29.

Now it is Feb. 24.

An ill-considered plan to save $10,000 and not hire a professional search firm is spitting back at the mayor and village council with too few candidates having responded to the posting on Craig’s List. OK, we’re kidding about Craig’s List. But the amateur effort at recruiting leaves Forest Park with a reluctant and on-call village administrator who’d rather be flying his airplane than parachuting into problems at village hall.

Here’s the latest on the process.

A few thoughts:

  • This mess is disrespectful to Tim Gillian who has given his all to Forest Park in so many ways over so many decades.
  • Forest Park has no bench. This is a small and stretched staff that does not readily offer up an interim administrator.
  • Switching gears at this point to hire a search firm makes Forest Park look cheap and directionless. Commissioner Dan Novak was right on this issue from the start. Hiring a search firm was the obvious decision.
  • We still worry that someone, most likely Mayor Rory Hoskins, has a candidate in his back pocket he’d like to slide in.
  • Forest Park’s ridiculous Council form of government will prove again to be a major impediment to hiring a legitimate manager. It might have worked great in a farm town in 1910 but it is not any way to run a municipality in 2021.
  • There are other people at village hall lining up to retire. John Doss in public works will be gone this summer. The next administrator should have been in place to shape her leadership team. As always Forest Park needs to take every opportunity to add talent from the outside.

This mayor and council will never have a more critical decision to make than the hiring of a village administrator. So far this process has been a total botch.