We’re not going to complain when a government body in Forest Park finds a way to extend Tim Gillian’s run of public service. So good for the park district announcing last week it was appointing Gillian to fill the unexpired term of Matt Walsh. Walsh left the park board recently due to growing job commitments as the interim village manager of south suburban Homer Glen.
Gillian would understand the intensity of such a job as he only retired earlier this year as Forest Park’s longtime village administrator. He took that role after serving eight years as a village commissioner.
Tim Gillian has common-sense instincts for good governance. He is plain spoken, rooted in Forest Park, and has been able, in recent years, to bridge whatever unspoken animus has long existed between the village and the parks. It’s there. We’re not sure why. But Gillian has worked to align the shared interests of the parks and the village, as evidenced by the long overdue transfer of management of the small pocket parks in town from the village to the parks. We are beginning to see the upside as those small gems are given purpose.
All that said, it wouldn’t be the Review if we didn’t note that Gillian’s appointment is yet another example of Forest Park’s insularity. Whether it is connection by blood or just long association, this village needs to actively seek out fresh ideas, new people, people of color, people with different last names.
So welcome back, Tim, and thanks for serving. But missing the opportunity via an appointment to make the park board more diverse is a loss.
Transparency is not a privilege
Residents of Proviso Township do not need to earn transparency from the current warped leaders of the District 209 public high schools.
Bowing to public outrage over its recent inane and impetuous decision to end live streaming of its rambunctious school board meetings, Rodney Alexander, president of the board, and his sidekick, James Henderson, the failing superintendent, reversed course and brought back access to the meetings.
Even while he was caving, though, Alexander could not keep himself from insulting constituents. “It’s a privilege, though. It has nothing to do with transparency … livestreaming is not a requirement,” he said.
Transparency is not a privilege in government. It is a central goal and purpose of government. Scared leaders limit transparency when their actions cannot stand up to scrutiny. That is where Henderson and Alexander and their dwindling number of supporters on the school board have brought this district.
And a note to the brain trust running this district: So long as those in the room have a cellphone in their pocket live streaming is going to happen, people will witness your belligerent antics, the cascading failures, and it will catch up with you.
Proviso Township High Schools are better than this.