RF board tables Econ Commission appointees

Some trustees insist members should live in River Forest

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By Deb Kadin

River Forest trustees Monday unanimously tabled the appointments of seven people slated with the task of attracting and retaining businesses, as well as fostering development in the village's commercial corridors.

The appointments were pushed back after some trustees questioned their residency, saying that members of the newly-created Economic Development Commission should be residents of River Forest.

Over objections to the recommendations of three non-residents, trustees elected to wait until Oct. 28 to approve new members.

Recommendations came from Village President Catherine Adduci, who now will send the 15 applications back to trustees. After receiving their input, she'll then bring recommendations forward. Adduci has made the formation and work of the commission a top priority of her administration.

But she expressed surprise that trustees, particularly Carmela Corsini and Thomas Dwyer, would bring up the residency issue now, given that trustees unanimously approved an ordinance establishing the commission last month.

During that discussion, trustee Susan Conti, who chaired the ad-hoc committee, noted that members went back and forth about the number of members on the commission, as well as the residency issue, according to board minutes. Conti noted that they opened it up to non-residents in order to tap members who may contribute the most to the commission and River Forest.

Unlike all other village boards and commissions, membership to the Economic Development Commission is not restricted to River Forest residents. The commission's chair, however, must be a resident, according to the ordinance.

At Monday's village board meeting, Corsini said they pushed through the process faster than they'd have liked.

"We have not had enough time to evaluate this. We should give residents the opportunity to serve," she said.

After the meeting, Adduci said she still planned to recommend the four members of the ad-hoc economic committee, which was charged last summer with drafting the guidelines for the commission.

One ad-hoc committee member, Lou Vitullo, a longtime resident, sold his house and moved out of River Forest. Vitullo, who has a background in municipal finance, particularly on the question of Tax Increment Financing, would be vital to the commission's work, Adduci said.

A second non-resident, Cathy Yen, is executive director of the Oak Park River Forest Chamber of Commerce. Adduci said she's considering naming Yen as an ex-officio member. A third non-resident is Michael Murray, an expert in architecture and historic preservation, who Adduci said was trying to buy a home in town.

Other members of the ad-hoc panel included Nena Mass, Stan Tafilaw and Thomas Hasinski, an ad-hoc committee member who was recommended to serve as chairman. The seventh person was Tim Brangle, a senior associate at Chicago Consultants Studio, a development group that provides urban design and strategic development expertise on public/private initiatives.

He had been with Skidmore Owings and Merrill, an architectural and engineering firm based in Chicago.

Adduci said the choice of members was a difficult one. She said she spent a considerable amount of time looking over resumes, talking with people and examining the merits of each of the 15 individuals who applied. Adduci stressed that she wanted to ensure that members brought different skills to the panel.

"All were good, competent people," she said. "I looked at what the makeup of the group would be and wanted a mix of individuals who were skilled in different areas. We have a nice balance."

Reader Comments

9 Comments - Add Your Comment

Comment Policy

John from River Forest  

Posted: October 19th, 2013 7:30 AM

WHY would someone from OP -- supposedly, be trolling and taking time to comment on RF business. Come on? OP has enough problems, go comment on those boards and go help fix their problems.

Brad from Oak Park  

Posted: October 18th, 2013 11:51 AM

I think this process seems well researched, but I doubt there is that much of a political bent here as long as this committee is not paid to perform, and the members have no financial gains to be made by their decisions. The committee members appear reputable, I think the residency issue is a smokescreen for politicizing this process where it may not have been before. If we know the members each have nothing to gain, THAT should determine whether they are on the committee or not...

Jimmy from River Forest  

Posted: October 18th, 2013 6:16 AM

This whole thing reminds me of Chicago. Placing people into an important role, cause they were the 'BEST' we could find. Well, we in RF know that is not the case. What role the Trustees have in this, none. these were hand picked by da mayor. go figure the rest.

David Rechs from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: October 17th, 2013 9:26 PM

The article doesn't mention whether these are paid or volunteer positions, nor if there is a significant budget to their "project". On the whole I'd approve the members, they clearly have the skills and interests in the area.

Johanna Brocker from River Forest, Illinois  

Posted: October 17th, 2013 6:58 PM

we had a great group of people who wanted to do the work they applied they were chosen let's go with them there are many people in River Forest live other commitments and cannot spare time for this one let's not waste time we need to develop our business aspects and increase of our income.residency is not an issue in it we need people with a broad perspective we have a good River Forest governing group they can decide E RF perspective

RF Achievement  

Posted: October 16th, 2013 6:18 PM

I am flattered. I posted to this board yesterday at 4.57 pm, and someone else posts at 10:40, using my Name. Of all the names out there, why would they choose my name -- not very unique of them. Whats wrong, no creativity?

Tom from RF  

Posted: October 16th, 2013 7:09 AM

I agree with the first commenter, there are so many qualified people in this town, and we have to nominate people who have left. They may have great credentials, but what are the great credentials of all the people in town. What about them, and what does that say.

RF Achievement  

Posted: October 15th, 2013 10:40 PM

Now for the real RF Achievement comments....we want skilled and knowledgable people on our commissions. We applaud President Adduci for being transparent and reaching out to former residents and the Chamber....it shows real leadership. We need to stop halting progress for RF. If the Trustees can't vote on this simple decision, then they need to reconsider if they are ready to be a Trustee.

RF Achievement  

Posted: October 15th, 2013 4:57 PM

Glad to see this was tabled. Not anything against the people named in this article, but RF has many - many fine and distinguished people connected to business and development. WHY is the President of RF NOT reaching out to them?? We do not need a group made up of non-residents, architects and ex officio people from other villages. We got it right in creating a group - let's take the time necessary to go out and recruit the right people that LIVE in RF!

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