The Forest Park Recreation Board came one step closer to getting out of its quorum quagmire on July 11 after the Forest Park Village Council voted unanimously to fill one of the board’s two vacancies, appointing leadership coach Heather Vickery.
The rec board is responsible for managing two pocket parks that are still under the village’s jurisdiction, coordinating and supporting volunteer efforts and advising the village on how it should handle its trees.
But the board’s past two meetings had to be cancelled due to a lack of quorum. Commissioner Jessica Voogd, who serves as the village council’s liaison on the board, said that the Review’s coverage of the quorum issue led to a surge in interest, and the council will fill the second vacancy after reviewing the applications for the remaining spot.
According to the resume submitted to the village, Vickery served as an event planner for the American Cancer Society, Special Olympics Illinois and W Hotels before becoming a business coach in 2014. She also founded and ran the Greatest Expectations Special Events and Weddings company from 2001 to 2019.
Vickery’s term, as well as the term of whoever fills the remaining rec board vacancy, will expire on April 30, 2026.
Voogd said that six people expressed interest in the remaining vacancy, though not all submitted applications. She said that she wanted to give them more time to complete the submission process. Depending on how long it takes, Voogd hopes that the council will be able to appoint the new member at either the July 25 or Aug. 8 council meeting.
During its July 11 meeting, the village council also appointed former Cook County Circuit Court Judge Cara Smith to the Forest Park Fire and Police Commission, which is responsible for recommending hiring, promotion and firing of firefighters and police officers.
Smith has had a long career in Illinois law enforcement, serving in various capacities in the Office of Cook County Sherriff, the Illinois Department of Corrections and the Office of the Illinois Attorney General. Most recently, she been serving as a director of the Illinois Supreme Court’s Office of Statewide Pretrial Services since September 2021. Smith served as a Cook County Circuit Court judge between 2019 and 2021.
Fire and Police Commission board members serve for three-year terms.
Several commissioners said that they were eager to fill other committee vacancies. Most notably, Ryan Nero, the commissioner of streets and public improvements, brought attention to the fact that the Safety and Traffic Commission, which advises the village council on traffic-related issues, has three out of seven seats vacant.
Appointments to Forest Park advisory boards and commissions are made by the mayor and confirmed by the village council. With the rec board vacancies, Voogd was the one who reviewed the applications and made recommendations.