Don Harmon has faith in Springfield politicians to do the right thing. He told a gathering of constituents, Friday morning, that he was "optimistic" genuine fixes to the state's pension plan will be made and before an actual "pension crisis" comes to pass. From his statement to a large crowd at the Business and Civic Council at the Carleton Hotel, it would seem that we have different definitions of a crisis.
Even as it voted to approve modest raises for its administrators last week, some members of the school board at Oak Park and River Forest High School seemed to be moving toward "a new philosophy" for compensating the school's leaders.
Most elected boards have a project that defines their term in office. More than the routines of budgeting and hiring. Apart from the endless distractions which jump up and bark for a board's immediate attention. These are singular, notable projects, often something botched in the past that has come round again. A project threading together themes and frustrations which brought at least some of those officials to office.
The election of Anan Abu-Taleb has been the headline over the past 60 days. But the arrival of Peter Barber as a village trustee, directly from his fine service on the District 97 elementary school board, is also proving notable.
River Forest has a flooding problem. And it is not just the Des Plaines River. Basements in the village, particularly on the north side of town, flood regularly during heavy storms; they have for years. They will continue to flood because the century-old storm sewer system just doesn't have the necessary capacity.
Two weeks ago in this space we urged the two local school districts and the village to open discussions about ways to share human resource services. In a weird circumstance, all three entities are without, or about to be without, personnel directors.