May 8 is likely to be a significant day for Forest Park. The current village council will meet for the last time and the newly elected officials will be sworn in and seated. It should be a festive affair with great salutations bestowed for the exiting council and great expectations and well wishes for the new one.

I have one expectation for this event. When the newly elected officials are assigned to take over the various departments that run the village, the process to choose them is done out in the open in front of all of us in attendance and beyond. Why is this important?

All of the departments are sophisticated and have uniquely different functions. The perceived and recognized top village department is “Accounts & Finance.” The commissioner that takes this spot is also the vice mayor and will take over if the elected mayor cannot fulfill his or her duties.

It should be noted that each department has a paid employee that runs the day-to-day functions. The role of the commissioner that oversees a department is that of a practical observer and advocate for the department and should not meddle in its daily operations.

When it’s time to nominate who will oversee what, some commissioners may seek a particular department or nominate a fellow commissioner to a certain department. Once those desires are declared, we, the public, need to know why and how this appointment will be beneficial to the village and its residents before any vote is taken. In other words, a discussion of the merits needs to take place.

I have observed several village councils change hands over the years and in most cases who got what job was a done deal before the vote even took place. The players followed a script imposed by the majority without discussion.

This time I am really hoping it will be different however I am not sure. Last week I tried 4 times over 4 days to arrange a meeting with Mayor (Rory) Hoskins. He never acknowledged my calls. Please Mayor, conduct a transparent discussion.

Steven Backman
Forest Park