It is New Year’s Day today. As thousands of village residents are sharing their New Year’s Resolutions, we don’t expect village officials to do the same. Instead, we’ve taken the time to provide these Village Officials some resolutions for 2015 to create a better Oak Lawn. We admit that it would have been nice to tie this up in a nice ribbon with 12 resolutions or one for each month. But, last night was New Year’s Eve so we can be excused.
HERE ARE THE RESOLUTIONS:
- To be more transparent in providing records. Trustee Desmond touts “ideas” for jobs programs but never provides records of the success of such programs. It has been long rumored that the much ballyhooed intern program with unions has only resulted in one job. The village is paying staff to run this program so it makes sense that it get a better return on investment than one job. The fact that numbers are hidden makes one think that the program is only be used to further someone’s political career. If you want to use Village Tax Dollars let the people know what the results are through actual records.
- To provide real support to village employees. In Chicago’s Mt. Greenwood area, volunteers have tied blue ribbons on trees to show support for police officers apparently in contrast to protesters downtown who marched against perceived police brutality. Oak Lawn officials had the bright idea to do the same thing to show support for cops. A more appropriate sign of support for Oak Lawn’s police and firefighters may be to protect their lives with professional 911 emergency communications. It truly is the lifeline for the first responders.
- To stop the anti-government employee rhetoric. Ironically, the blue ribbon on a tree idea from the 19th Ward came from people who said that they wanted to show support for the police after hearing so much anti-government employee rhetoric. Oak Lawn leaders have been at the forefront of the anti-employee rhetoric led by Village Manager Larry Deetjen, Mayor Sandra Bury and her political brain Tom Phelan. How many times will they fight the firefighters in losing court battles? How many times will they blame pensions for their own fiscal mismanagement? We are sure the employees will love those ribbons while they continue to hear that their “greed” is the problem.
- To Listen to the People not Our cronies. Complaints, we mean concerns, about 911 Emergency Communications services have been summarily dismissed by the people in charge. One Trustee famously said that he had not heard any complaints another called them just “concerns”. By now, they’ve heard quite a few unless they’ve been out-of-town for 10 months. Instead of fixing the problems, we mean concerns, they have hired a former Police Chief to keep a lid on the complaints and planned a public tour of the facility. Demanding competency may be too much to ask but ending the political sideshows like tours would at least be a start to trying to solve the problems, complaints or concerns.
- To End Insider Deals and Demand Public Bidding on Contracts. Insiders who give Mayor Bury thousands of dollars in campaign contributions shouldn’t be the only ones considered for contracts paid for by tax dollars.
- To Serve and Protect. As detailed by our report yesterday, burglaries are up in Oak Lawn. Despite the facts, the administration has dismissed ideas to increase police patrols, add police officers, or even redeploy some officers from behind the desk and put them back on the street. In fact, in last year’s budget, five people were cut from the police budget and let’s not get started on the number of firemen now on the payroll.
- To Quit Changing the Rules. Recently, Mayor Sandra Bury refused to place the issue of the 911 Center Performance on the agenda even though three Trustees said they wanted to discuss it at a meeting. Bury told Trustee Carol Quinlan that two Trustees must request it in writing. But wait, the same Mayor had previously passed a rule stating that any Trustee could place an agenda item on the Committee of the Whole agenda. So, what is the proper way or does Quinlan have different rules to follow than pro-Bury Trustees? Having different rules for different Trustees reeks of unfairness.
- To Protect Oak Lawn Businesses and Taxpayers. Mayor Bury, a small business owner, is fond of saying “Shop Oak Lawn” which is great. However, she also took a “leadership” position in favor of extending the Illinois State Income Tax that would have cost Oak Lawn taxpayers $36 million dollars and probably led to more local businesses going bankrupt. Actions speak louder than words.
- To Be Prepared. Some Trustees and Mayor Bury have mocked other Trustees for being prepared at meetings and reading notes. It sounds similar to the classroom where the lazy kids think that the industrious students are nerds for doing homework. Voters expect their public officials to read the material and to come prepared to discuss the matters and ask questions. Mocking those that are better prepared than yourself does nothing but shine a light on your own failures. Stop it and prepare.
- To Treat Oak Lawn Tax Dollars like Your Own Money. $28 million dollar giveaways to developers is something you expect in the Town of Cicero not Oak Lawn. In the past it has been unheard of until this year. The developers may be great guys but we know some great guys and women in Oak Lawn that could also use that money. At first, Bury and her Trustees denied the giveaway. Then they said everything was in an open meeting. Then they said that Mariano’s is great for the village. While it was done in an open meeting and Mariano’s is a great addition, the fact remains that the village didn’t have to give the developer the $28 million dollars. These are the same people who throw their own quarters around like they are throwing manhole covers. Treat the tax dollars like your own this coming year.