The Village of Oak Lawn’s street resurfacing program, which has been reduced by 83%, added five streets to this year’s resurfacing program including 109th Street from Kostner Avenue to Tripp Avenue, where Village Clerk Jane Quinlan resides.
Quinlan, who has been Village Clerk since 2005, split from former Mayor Dave Heilmann in 2013 and endorsed current Mayor Sandra Bury. Quinlan has remained a staunch ally of Bury and controversial Village Manager Larry Deetjen despite various scandals and political missteps.
In 2014, the Village of Oak Lawn street resurfacing program budget was reduced under Mayor Bury and her allies from a three year average of over eleven million dollars to a current two year average of about $1.9 million dollars, which represents an 83% reduction in village street resurfacing. Despite the reduction, the village added five streets to the resurfacing list, including Quinlan’s street from Kostner to Tripp.
Other streets added to the 2015 resurfacing program were Normandy Avenue from 95th Street to 96th Street in the Village’s first district, 89th Street from 53rd Court to 55th Avenue in the 2nd district, 96th Street from Massasoit to Major in the third district, and 101st Street from Keeler Avenue to Kildare Avenue in the fourth district. The only district without an added street to the list is District Five, represented by newcomer William “Bud” Stalker. His predecessor, Carol Quinlan, who is not related to Jane Quinlan, complained repeatedly that district five was often overlooked in public works projects.
The public works committee is stacked with allies of the Village Clerk, including its chairman, Trustee Alex Olejniczak. The other members according to the village’s own documents are Trustee Tim Desmond (Dist. 1), Trustee Terry Vorderer (Dist. 4), and Trustee Michael Carberry (Dist. 6). According to the village’s website, the committee has only met two times in 2015 and were scheduled to talk about the expansion of the street resurfacing at the June 4, 2015 meeting. The website does not have any minutes for either of the 2015 meetings, even sixty days after the most recent meeting in June.
Trustee Robert Streit (Dist. 3) was removed as chairman of the Public Works Committee after Bury and her allies were elected in 2013. He said that there could be “valid reasons” for the addition of the streets that were on the list noting that the 96th Street repaving in his district was necessary. When asked if Quinlan’s street received preferential treatment, Streit said,”I can’t speak to that question but the figures do show that this administration has greatly reduced the number of streets to be done every year.” He added that every street that needs to be done should be a priority and he would hope that politics didn’t play a role.
“Certainly having the minutes posted and providing transparency on the issue would allow people to make informed judgments on the issue,” said Streit. Village Clerk Jane Quinlan’s office is responsible for posting the minutes on the village’s website. The Village of Oak Lawn has blocked the Oak Lawn Leaf from sending emails to village officials and the administration has continued to refuse to answer questions regarding public policy decisions.