The Oak Lawn Leaf is proud to wish our readers a Happy New Year. As we get ready to celebrate the end of 2015 and the beginning of a new year, we look back at one story from each month in 2015. The stories are chosen at random by our staff and aren’t necessarily our most popular stories (click on the underlined Headline to read the story):
January 2015: Village Blocked Trustee’s Email
The Village of Oak Lawn has blacklisted one of its own Trustee’s email accounts in an apparent attempt to prevent him from communicating with other elected officials, department heads, or any employee of the village for official business.
In an email exchange provided to the Oak Lawn Leaf, Village Manager Larry Deetjen admitted that he had blacklisted Trustee Robert Streit’s AOL email account from communicating with any village email address.
February 2015: Desmond Attacks Former Union 911 Dispatchers
Oak Lawn Trustee Tim Desmond (Dist. 1) is not backing down from his decision to fire 20 unionized village dispatchers and outsource the service despite the unpopularity of the decision and the reoccurring problems surrounding the privatized services.
March 2015: Attorney General Says Village In Violation Of Law
After almost six months, the Illinois Attorney General has issued a determination letter to the Village of Oak Lawn finding that the Village did not conduct a reasonable search for records pursuant to a request under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
April 2015: 39 Percent Increase In Burglaries Leads To Lower Crime Safety Rating
The Village of Oak Lawn was rated in the bottom half of communities for safety in both violent crimes and property crimes in 2013 and based on documents obtained by the Oak Lawn Leaf those numbers will be worse for 2014 due to an increase of burglaries by 39 percent from one year to the next.
May 2015: Deetjen Urges Board To Lobby Against Tax Freeze
Village Manager Larry Deetjen surprised friends and foes recently when he urged Mayor Sandra Bury and Village Trustees to lobby local legislators to vote “against” a property tax freeze despite the village’s long standing agreement to not raise property taxes.
June 2015: Utility Tax Increase To Be Used for X, Y or Z?
In a stunning admission that the utility tax recently instituted by the Oak Lawn Village Board may not be used for the stated purpose, Trustee Alex Olejniczak (Dist. 2) stated that the village could use the money to pay pensions after Trustee Robert Streit (Dist. 3) suggested securing grant funds for the road projects rather than raising the utility taxes on home electricity and heating bills.
July 2015: Oak Lawn Staff Highlights Their Economic Development Work
The Village of Oak Lawn recently updated Mayor Sandra Bury, the Board of Trustees and the general public with an economic development report detailing the new businesses that are opening in the village, Stony Creek Promenade developments and even new home construction occurring within village limits.
August 2015: Oak Lawn Audit Finds Lack of Control on Drug Forfeiture Funds
An Audit of Oak Lawn’s financial transactions in and out of the Drug Forfeiture Fund supports criticism of the village’s use of the funds and the failure of key village officials to properly account for the funds and follow proper procedures.
September 2015: Trustee Requests Reports; Police Chief Admits Burglaries Increased
Oak Lawn Village Trustee Robert Streit said that his request for all police reports has not been honored despite an 18 month old memorandum from Village Manager Larry Deetjen stating that all village trustees would receive every police report created in the village.
October 2015: Oak Lawn’s Village Manager Blasts Kolb Administration
Oak Lawn Village Manager Larry Deetjen attacked several Kolb administration developments, often raising his voice and speaking directly to the camera in what appeared to be an agitated tone, as two former Coalition Party stalwarts sat silently without commenting.
November 2015: Oak Lawn Denny’s “Unlimited” Trouble Ends Up Pancaking Two Into Grand Slammer
Unlimited Pancakes at Denny’s apparently doesn’t mean unlimited for friends and family. After all, this isn’t a wireless company that wants your business. It’s a restaurant best known for late night dining and grand slam breakfast options.
December 2015: Mayor Offers Olive Branch On Appointments
In stark contrast to the previous appointment process used by her administration, Mayor Sandra Bury announced at the most recent Village Board meeting that she was asking all of the Trustees for their recommendations for appointments to the many commissions and committees.
Let’s hope that 2016 is just as exciting.