Ed Forsythe, a 17 year Jack’s Towing employee and longtime Oak Lawn resident provided a heartfelt plea to Oak Lawn’s Mayor and Board of Trustees claiming that the Chief of Police supported keeping Jack’s Towing as the village’s contractor.
Forsythe, speaking during the public comment section of the meeting, said that “word had leaked out that we lost it”. He noted that Village Manager Larry Deetjen had “raved about our services”. While Deetjen had recommended that the firm be replaced by two other firms that would split the work, he has acknowledged several times that Jack’s Towing provided excellent service. Likewise police officers and fire personnel have told the Oak Lawn Leaf that the towing company has been very responsive.
So, it may not have been that surprising when Forsythe told the board that he understood that Police Chief Michael Murray had told Jack’s Towing officials at meetings with the village that Jack’s was his (Murray’s) choice. Murray was reportedly one of four members of a committee chosen by Deetjen to review the proposals submitted by all the companies. Jack’s Towing’s contract with the village expired in October and the firm has been working on a “month to month” agreement. The other committee members to review the proposals were Deetjen, Steve Barrett, the village’s public works director, and Pat Connelly, one of the village attorneys from Peterson Johnson and Murray.
Forsythe said that Jack’s Towing only serves Oak Lawn and unlike competitors it doesn’t get tied up on accidents in other communities. Forsythe acknowledged that the original deal with the village was over and suggested that a new deal be made because the company had done a good job. Forsythe noted that he and the other employee, who also lives in Oak Lawn, would be out of work if the board followed Deetjen’s recommendation.
In the end, Trustees Alex Olejniczak, Robert Streit and Tim Desmond voted against the recommendation to change vendors. Mayor Sandra Bury joined the three against Deetjen’s recommendation after the vote stalled at three to three. Bury said that she wanted to look at the matter further and make sure the right decision is made. Deetjen and Jack’s owner, Mike Queenan, have disagreed over whether the village is entitled to certain fees and increases in charges since the previous contract terminated. Deetjen claimed that he had told Queenan that it was a possibility that the firm may lose the contract to another vendor.
Trustee Terry Vorderer, a former police officer, voted to change companies stating that the vetting process was thorough. However, as reported last week, the Village Manager failed to provide all the RFP responses to Trustees leaving many to wonder how Vorderer would know if the process was transparent and thorough.
Vorderer also claimed that he knew the owner, although he called him “Jack” even though his name is Mike, when Vorderer said that his only regret was that he wouldn’t be going out for any more beers with Jack.
The contract may still be lost according to various sources in the village. Village Manager Larry Deetjen has reportedly made certain demands upon the company and is awaiting an answer to his demands.