Once again, Forest Park has bounced its village administrator. Moses Amidei lasted not quite 2½ years. Over three decades that’s about the average tenure of any Forest Park administrator whose birth certificate doesn’t read Forest Park, Illinois.

Forest Park, with its ridiculous “commissioner form” of government, was dragged into hiring a village administrator in the first place and has never been comfortable with professional leadership in that role. That’s why so many have passed through the position and why the last time an administrator search took place, a former administrator said he couldn’t imagine why a trained pro would even consider applying.

But even by Forest Park standards, the firing of Amidei seems odd. Mayor Rory Hoskins, who hired Amidei from a very thin pool of applicants in 2021, says the silence is necessary as this is a personnel matter. OK.

Yet it is troubling that, after its meeting Monday evening, Forest Park has no timeline to search for a replacement, appointed no interim administrator and sort of implied that duties would be divvied up among department heads. 

It all sounds quite similar to the structure of a commission form of government where the mayor and commissioners run departments, the mayor is in ascendency, and Forest Park is run like the one-stoplight town this form of government was created for a century ago.

This is a pivotal moment for Forest Park Commissioners — who know better — to speak up. Citizens need to pay attention.

Full STEAM ahead

As promised, Forest Park’s public schools opened the school year with brand new STEAM labs at both Field-Stevenson and the adjacent Forest Park Middle School. And each new space will come with a newly hired and specially trained teacher who will focus on the science, technology, engineering, art and math components that make up the STEAM curriculum.

More than just the subject matters, it is the hands-on and interactive learning approaches that distinguish this innovative program. And the new spaces — each reclaimed from other uses in the building — are built to allow such collaborative learning with lab space, an amphitheater space for student presentations and a quiet room for students’ projects to be created.

The STEAM plan is a major component of Supt. Elizabeth Alvarez’s overall turnaround strategy for a district working to put a floor under enrollment while also building engagement with students and families. 

While there are still a few minor design elements to be completed, the district gets points for getting these complex projects done on time for the new school year.