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Proviso Probe

Monday, August 10, 2009

Forest Park poised to politicize village administrator position

The Village of Forest Park has been without a village administrator since Mike Sturino departed in January, 2009.

Proviso Township Trustee (and former Forest Park Commissioner) Tim Gillian has emerged as one of the finalists for the position. See Forest Park Review (Josh Adams).

Steve Bachman of Citizens United in Forest Park created the following video to show how the four commissioners were united on getting a village administrator hired. Commissioner Mark Hosty called for someone "non-political". Commissioner Rory Hoskins agreed with Hosty and called for it to be done expeditiously. Commissioner Mike Curry also agreed and emphasized the village would work better with the position filled. Commissioner Marty Tellalian called for filling the position to have significant expertise.

In a later meeting Mayor Anthony Calderone said the candidate should, "The individual selected would not be an expert in any one capacity and has a heeping amount of good old common sense and diplomacy." [emphasis added]

Here's a anecdote about Gillian that shows his version of common sense.

I covered a Village of Forest Park meeting shortly after the April, 2003 elections which seated Patrick Doolin, Gillian, Hosty and Theresa Steinbach and Anthony Calderone as Mayor.

Hosty relayed a complaint from a constituent about the intake of overnight parking requests. The constituent complained that when she called the number to request overnight parking for her mother the message said if it was before 8 PM to call the police department instead. The police department told her to call after 8 PM.

The message made more work for the person requesting the overnight parking and the police department with no value added.

Calderone called the overnight parking number to test this (it was still before 8 PM). And the message did say what Hosty reported.

Calderone and all the commissioners were fine with changing the message, except Gillian. Gillian argued that if the message was changed constituents would just find something else to complain about.

I was a new reporter and didn't know any of these people (except for meeting Calderone briefly at a party once). So I approached Gillian during a break in the meeting to see if he'd softened his position. Sometimes people say stupid stuff and then rethink it. But Gillian stuck to his guns. He was opposed to changing the message because he was opposed to giving complainers what they wanted.

I talked with Hosty after the meeting. Hosty agreed that Gillian's statements on the issue were odd and he said of Gillian, "I don't know who peed in his Wheaties this morning."

"Common sense" is of course a bogus quality in this situation. What Calderone means when he talks about "common sense" is people doing what Calderone wants done. What Calderone wants is "common sense" and people who have concerns and objections are interlopers and the over educated.

And Gillian will do what Calderone wants, partly because they are friends and political allies. Also because Calderone is giving Gillian an exceedingly generous paycheck for a job that Gillian isn't qualified for (per the job posting). And a big part of the reason Gillian will allow Calderone to call the shots at the village is that Gillian is just lazy. He didn't prepare for meetings by reading materials when he was a village trustee. Calderone wants to be able to call department heads to tell them what to do and then hide behind the village administrator when stuff goes badly. Gillian won't mind taking the fall because he's not a professional municipal official looking to get another job someplace else.

Mike Sturino did the job with sufficient professionalism he could credibly apply for a job in some other unit of government. Gillian won't feel constrained this way.

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  • Well it's a done deal now!

    So you think we'll be able to get and keep Gillian's attention....what with his flight instructor status, his lake home, his Florida home, and goodness knows how many other distractions in his personal life.

    Forest Park is turning into a true joke run by jokers.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:13 PM, August 25, 2009  

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