The Oak Lawn Board of Trustees discussed the future of the village owned newspaper as one Trustee poked fun at himself after promising to eat his “Florsheim” shoes if the paper lost any money.
Trustee Alex Olejniczak began the discussion by producing a plastic fork and knife seemingly willing to keep his promise to eat the Florsheim shoes on his feet. However, he quickly explained that he wouldn’t be eating his shoes but instead would be eating a cake in the shape of what fellow Trustee Robert Streit confirmed was in a box for a size 10 triple E shoes.
Olejniczak quickly advised the board that he would not be eating his shoes and instead would be sharing the cake that he commissioned from a baker in Hometown. Olejniczak defended the content of monthly newspaper but admitted that the cost of the newspaper was too much for the village. John Canning, who is paid $3,000 a month to produce the newspaper, told the Trustees that it would probably take another year to break even, contradicting his statement at the start of the project when he said it would take two months.
After losing $71,000, Olejniczak was not in the mood to eat Florsheim shoes or continue to publish the newspaper with significant losses. Mayor Sandra Bury expressed support for the newspaper noting that during her recent campaign she had received a lot of compliments about the paper.
In a comical moment, after Trustee Tom Phelan and Clerk Jane Quinlan had weighed in against the newspaper, Bury asked Trustee Robert STreit for his opinion. Streit had opposed the newspaper from the beginning and noted that while saying he didn’t want to “gloat” or get into the real reason the paper was published for the last year. He did note that his position had not changed and he would support ending the publication. After a long discussion, with Trustees Bud Stalker and Terry Vorderer arguing for the newspaper to continue in its present form, the board voted 4-2 to immediately cease publications.
Then the other shoe dropped. Olejniczak produced a mocked up copy of a newsletter, also entitled “Oak Lawn Matters” that would be printed on glossy paper and only be published three times a year. The cost for that publication was estimated at $13,250 a publication that would be covered by $13,000 in advertising for each issue. The board didn’t vote on the matter but it is expected to be a topic in the future.
In the new newsletter, a half page ad would cost $1,500 while a quarter page ad would cost $750 for an advertiser. Olejniczak expressed confidence that enough businesses would advertise.