Oak Lawn’s District Three overwhelmingly supported Trustee Robert Streit’s bid for Mayor last week but other districts did not follow suit as Streit faced not only Bury in the election but an onslaught from his fellow Trustees and at least three former Trustees who support the Mayor’s agenda.
Now, the question Mayor Sandra Bury faces is how to deal with Streit. Four years ago, Bury’s political adviser, Tom Phelan authored a mean spirited hit list that set forth in no uncertain terms a plan to punish enemies and reward friends. Streit was deemed an enemy.
Four years later, everyone is in the same place they were and some may believe that Oak Lawn hasn’t moved forward. One such person is Village Manager Larry Deetjen, who reportedly is working on outlining the Mayor’s agenda for the next four years.
Many won’t be surprised that the agenda includes continuing the battle with the fire department’s union over minimum manning. The union sat on the sideline during the race and other unions actually backed Bury so there isn’t a reason to not move forward with the agenda item after capturing a large majority.
Advocate Christ Hospital, which voluntarily paid almost $400,000 a year to the village for three years, is no longer on that proverbial hook but the administration would like to work out an agreement.
Deetjen has made it clear to employees, Trustees and even the Mayor that the board needs to come together. But Streit stands as the lone independent voice. While he lost the Mayoral election, he replicated his Trustee victory of 2015 by defeating Bury in his own district with at least 57 percent of the vote. The percentage is actually even higher because three of the precincts are split between districts and his popularity is much stronger in District Three.
That’s why its a problem if Deetjen and Bury intend to move forward without any opposition. Streit won his district in 2015 with a similar percentage of 55.4 percent even though he faced two opponents. He would be the odds on favorite to win again since his opposition have repeatedly failed to oust him from the position.
In Worth Township, Democratic Committeeman John O’Sullivan faced a similar dilemma when he chose to run for Township Supervisor. Instead of fighting, he made peace with Republican Committeeman Shaun Murphy, who was elected Assessor on a “coalition” slate of candidates last Tuesday. Ironically, Streit maintains a friendly relationship with O’Sullivan and Murphy.
Streit reached out to congratulate Bury last Tuesday. We asked him yesterday if he ever received a call back from his voice mail. The answer was “no”. At the Village Board Meeting on Tuesday Streit congratulated Bury, Trustees Terry Vorderer and Alex Olejniczak on their victories.
Everyone was civil. There weren’t any arguments or outbursts where one Trustee tells another that he’s mean or that he doesn’t like working with him. Everyone was allowed to speak. Sometimes, it appeared that everyone was even listening to each other speak.
There’s peace in the Township, maybe the village is next.