Oak Lawn Trustee Alex Olejniczak (District 2) attacked fellow Trustee Robert Streit (District 3) calling the latter a “wordsmith” and arguing that complaints by Streit, the firefighters and members of the public have been overblown by the choice of words.
Olejniczak, who is in his third and final term as a Trustee, calmly used a word that was repeated that night by several of his allies, including Trustees Terry Vorderer (District 4), Trustee Tim Desmond (District 1) and embattled Village Manager Larry Deetjen.
However, it was Olejniczak who went beyond labeling Streit as a wordsmith and insisted on warning viewers to be careful of what they hear and to be careful not to be misled by the words.
Streit said the whole attack by Olejniczak was insulting to the residents of Oak Lawn. “My experience has been that the people make up their own minds and to insinuate that they are misled implies that only Alex can understand the issues and no other opinions matter”, said Streit.
Olejniczak claimed that Streit’s description of the firing of 20 union 911 dispatchers was an example of wordsmithing. Olejniczak argued that the dispatchers were not fired when the service was outsourced because all 20 dispatchers had a chance to apply for the job with Norcomm, the private contractor that has come under fire for its performance.
However, only five of the twenty dispatchers were offered jobs. Streit told the Oak Lawn Leaf that Olejniczak is “not in touch with reality” if he believes the union members would agree with his description. “I’ve spoken to the dispatchers and I’ve listened to their stories. They believe it was pure union busting and that they were fired and so do I”, said Streit.
The Oak Lawn Leaf is printing the definition of wordsmith, which on the surface would appear to be a compliment.
However, Olejniczak left no doubt that he was not being complimentary when he said that Streit is a “wordsmith”.
Streit said that Olejniczak is the one playing with words and Streit said that the people will see through such a frivolous attempt to “dodge the real issues”.
He noted that Olejniczak was so petty that he argued over the use of the word “complaint” to describe the 46 problems cited by the Oak Lawn firefighters regarding mistakes made by the new 911 dispatchers. Olejniczak insisted that the problems were not complaints but only “concerns”.
“What’s the difference?”, asked Streit, who added that the problems are significant.
He said that Olejniczak can call the complaints whatever he wants but it is time to actually address the problems. “If the board and Mayor would put half the energy into solving the 911 problems that they put into trying to cover up the issues, we would have already fixed the problems”, said Streit.
Some of the 911 complaints have included residents’ complaining that ambulances were not dispatched to an emergency, a seven minute delay in dispatching an ambulance to the 95th and Cicero fatal accident, a complaint from the Evergreen Park Police, and multiple examples cited by firefighters in which ambulances were sent to the wrong address.
EDITOR’S NOTE: In order to make sure nobody can say we put words in Trustee Olejniczak’s mouth, here are his video taped comments: