Village names Grossman development chief

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By Timothy Inklebarger

Staff Reporter

The Village of Oak Park has named Tammie Grossman director of the newly-created Department of Community and Economic Development, according to a village press release.

She begins the position on Jan. 6.

Grossman, 50, currently serves as the village's manager for housing and community development block grant programs as well as interim director for human resources.

Village Manager Cara Pavlicek, who made the hire, said in the press release that Grossman's work in other departments "gave me confidence that she'll be able to hit the ground running in this important new position."

The newly-created position is part of the village's consolidation of its building, business services, housing and planning departments, in an effort to streamline economic development in Oak Park. The department consolidation was approved by Village trustees on Monday.

The village and its various economic development departments have come under fire in recent months for being ineffectual and slowing development in Oak Park. According to the press release, Grossman will serve as a liaison between the village and developers.

"It's more important than ever for Village Hall to speak with one voice on economic development efforts," Grossman said in the press release. "I intend to start a dialogue about how we can improve this process and build a stronger community in Oak Park."

Grossman, who has worked for the village for the last five years, holds a law degree from DePaul University and a political science degree from Northern Illinois University. During her time at the village, Grossman oversaw the creation of the West Cook County Housing Collaborative, according to the press release.

Prior to her time with the village, Grossman was executive director of Housing Action Illinois.  


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The New Guy from Chicago  

Posted: December 13th, 2013 9:59 AM

Mo-ooom you're embarrassing me in front of the Oak Parkers! Ha ha. Just kidding! Thanks for the shout out! Love you.

judy inklebarger from mckinney, tx  

Posted: December 13th, 2013 1:31 AM

I read your article and thought it was very good. Keep up the good work Mr. Inklebarger. I feel that you're going to go far in this business!! Take care of yourself and keep safe. Love, Mom

Django from Oak Park  

Posted: December 7th, 2013 3:13 PM

(Cont) the world, a force spiritual and able to shape the physical universe, but that that force is not something cut off, not something separate from ourselves.

Django from Oak Park  

Posted: December 7th, 2013 3:10 PM

"There was a third white destroyer: a missionary who wanted to replace all knowledge of our way with fables even our children laughed at then. We told the white missionary we had such fables too, but kept them for the entertainment of those yet growing up - fables of gods and devils and a supreme being. We told him we knew soft minds needed such illusions, but that when any mind grew among us to adulthood it grew beyond these fables and came to understand that there is indeed a great force in t


Posted: December 6th, 2013 2:58 PM

Wheres Mike Chen and Co when needed? Mike, are you tired of Florida weather yet?

Bill D.   

Posted: December 6th, 2013 2:01 PM

When will folks realize that the use of capital letters and exclamation points usually just make you look overexcited and, at best shallow, and at worst, a bit stupid? Because nearly every time they appear in posts here, the text of the message inevitably supports that conclusion.

Rob Breymaier from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: December 6th, 2013 1:51 PM

People can have honest disagreements about the organizational chart at Village Hall but there is no credibility to anyone saying that this position is patronage or other favoritism. I've worked with Ms. Grossman for a long time. Many times we agree. Other times we don't. Regardless, she is always honest, upfront, diligent, and factual in every situation. I know that in her job she always considers how she can best serve Oak Park. There are hardworking, professional, and passionate public servants. She is one of the best. I am confident that this is a very good move for our community.

A NEW HIGH PAYING JOB! from and she will do what!  

Posted: December 6th, 2013 7:24 AM

Inside patronage is killing the Village. Think if your a building inspector that just got this boss! She will not bring anything but more RED TAPE and BS>

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: December 6th, 2013 1:18 AM

Q, Here's a link to the proposed budget...

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: December 6th, 2013 12:07 AM

Bridgett, having a budget neutral can mean there is no increase to the 2014 budget but the position may have already have been included in the budget or money can be taken from another place and use it to pay Grossman. Positions are created and the Village Manager wouldn't just have her ready to hit the ground in the newly created position without creating a new pay rate.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: December 5th, 2013 11:42 PM

Q, While David Powers' dept may be responsible for distributing this press release, the content and the timing of its distribution is ultimately the responsibility of the Village Manager. And given that there was an agenda item regarding the name of the department, with four Board members each explaining the importance of the name, as Bob Tucker stated, "Properly naming that [the department] actually does send a message to the outside community," I am perplexed by all this.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: December 5th, 2013 11:33 PM

Q, According to Trustee Adam Salzman, at the meeting on Monday, this reorganization is "budget neutral." So this won't add any more dollars to the 2014 budget.

Django from Oak Park  

Posted: December 5th, 2013 4:37 PM

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela "I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for, and to see realized. But my Lord, if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die." RIP..... Our beloved Brother..


Posted: December 5th, 2013 3:33 PM

Smart as a whip, that Tammie is. Will she grow into the position? That remains to be seen, and how long will she get to do so. Housing Action Illinois, is an affordable housing advocacy organization, well-intentioned but provides no development experience to anyone who worked there. The West Cook Housing Collaborative doesn't live up to its name. With the exception of one apartment building in Maywood, about 20 houses were redeveloped in Bellwood, and Tammie had nothing to do with them.

Gary Schwab from Oak Park  

Posted: December 5th, 2013 3:28 PM

If we'd paved Marion with bratwurst, I bet the sausage manufacturers would have given us an award (and think of the smells in warm weather). Twenty years of giving money to developers and ignoring building codes and zoning have given us precious little. The current emphasis on showing potential "upscale" developers how much we want to bribe them and get out of their way leaves no effective voice for those defending either our built environment or real quality of life.

Gary Schwab from Oak Park  

Posted: December 5th, 2013 3:19 PM

The "1120 Club" on Lake Street has been plagued by structural and cosmetic problems, vacancies, and lawsuits from almost everyone involved (including the Village); unfortunately, its perpetrator went bankrupt. The wondrous Marion opening/repaving project (which was described as an international tourist attraction) needs the bluestone replaced where cars drive over it. It has, however won an award from a "brick pavers" association.

Gary Schwab from Oak Park  

Posted: December 5th, 2013 3:13 PM

As a result, we've gotten shoddy, ugly, expensive projects with costly structural defects. Think of our last 4 major construction projects: Whiteco's ugliness is widely accepted (and, no, the current design wasn't the result of complainers' efforts). The building pays less than 25% of promised property taxes, and the garage still needs major repairs. The Public Works Building was really expensive and very green, but didn't quite allow two heavy trucks to be parked close together inside.

Gary Schwab from Oak Park  

Posted: December 5th, 2013 3:06 PM

Subordinating planning (including historic preservation) and code enforcement to economic development is just what we shouldn't be doing. In recent years it's been made clear that staff with survival instincts shouldn't criticize or interfere with Village projects, including those of Village development partners. The Plan Commission and the Historic Preservation Commission have been shown that questioning such projects will simply get their recommendations overridden.

Paddy Boy  

Posted: December 5th, 2013 1:10 PM

Django my Dear Friend, while you were out of the country we appointed a Black Police Chief, furthermore we helped elect a Black President of the USA, who in turn appointed a Black Attorney General. Perhaps you'd be happier living in Cicero or Melrose Park?

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: December 5th, 2013 1:05 PM

The press release says her age but not the pay. This is just a press release from Dave Powers department.

TJ from OP  

Posted: December 5th, 2013 12:53 PM

Django, that was pretty unfair. I don't understand the personal nature of the criticism on this thread. If you object to the position - not needed, not well defined, whatever, direct those concerns to the village manager. Congratulations, Tammie, best of luck to you!

john butch murtagh from oak park  

Posted: December 5th, 2013 12:52 PM

Django - I don't recall ANYONE challenging or criticizing the village's hiring of Oak Park's budget and finance manager, James Harris last year. James is African American and masterful at his job. The new position required someone internally with specific experiences. Ms. Grossman is the former Housing Development Department, a department that will report to her in her new position. Your a bit over the top on this one!

Django from Oak Park  

Posted: December 5th, 2013 11:50 AM

Bet she's white...OP is no different thn any other, place in the Lilly white country, whites get the job cause they are whit.. such BS %uFFFDWhite%uFFFDprivilege%uFFFDisn't easy to understand. Books have been written about it. Lectures take hours just to introduce it. Seminars and%uFFFD discussions provide some skills for recognizing it.But it takes%uFFFDpractice probably a lifetimes worth to disentangle oneself from the%uFFFD habits and behaviors gained from centuries old systems and institutions


Posted: December 5th, 2013 10:33 AM

Shouldn't she be referred to as a "czarina" in the headline? Anyway, Tammie should be great in this role. If anyone can be successful in this position, it is her. Congrats, Tammie!

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: December 5th, 2013 10:24 AM

OP Dad -- you are correct if the consolidation of staff don't lead to more efficiency and productivity that result in reduced headcount.


Posted: December 5th, 2013 8:41 AM

Yet another unnecessary position.

John Murtagh from Oak Park  

Posted: December 4th, 2013 10:34 PM

Really - Yep, I disagreed with her on Madison Avenue housing and several other issues. I have also known her as a smart and hard working. Is she the best person for the job. I don't know the answer to that. I do know she deserves congratulation.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: December 4th, 2013 10:14 PM

Bridgett from Oak Park, thank you for explaining what the Grossman will be doing. Do you know how much the job pays and how much she was getting paid? The reporter of this story didn't ask questions. Dave Powers runs the pr for the village. You can find out who can't get the facts correct from him. Mistakes are getting very common in story writing because people just don't consider it important if they get things wrong.

Mimi Jordan from Oak Park  

Posted: December 4th, 2013 8:47 PM

Jim, I agree. WJ, hire Bridgett!

Village Voice  

Posted: December 4th, 2013 7:27 PM

Y'know, when I read the OPDC story this mornng I thought: "here we go... the usual well-connected Oak Parkers using their own lackluster performance as an excuse to help themselves to a healthy raise to provide the same lackluster results." And now this. A housing activist and grant writer put in charge of the village's economic development. The more things stay the same, the more things stay the same.

Jim Bowman from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: December 4th, 2013 7:12 PM

Where the readers would be without Bridgett, God knows.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: December 4th, 2013 7:05 PM

On another note... Both the Wednesday Journal and the Oak Leaves uses the title, "Director of the Community and Economic Development Department ." Both reference a news release. So whoever at the Village wrote the news release, just caused some considerable confusion, since that is not going to be Tammie's title.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: December 4th, 2013 7:03 PM

She personally wouldn't be issuing those things. She'll be overseeing four departments, about 30 employees--Building and Property Standards, Business Services, Housing and CDBG Programs Division, Community Planning Division.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: December 4th, 2013 6:50 PM

Bridgett, getting the permits, etc., is easy. You walk into Village Hall, look around for someone, and ask where is the permit section or license section. Do you know what she will be paid while waiting for someone to tell how to get a business license and permit? What else will she paid for doing while waiting for a possible business to show up in Oak Park? I just don't like wasted tax payer money and there has been certainly enough of that and it is still continuing.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: December 4th, 2013 6:42 PM

My understanding is that she will work with the businesses brought in, making sure they get proper permits, licensing, etc. But she will not be responsible drumming up such business. That will be the job of the outside entity, possibly a re-invented OPDC.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: December 4th, 2013 6:38 PM

Bridgett, does this Cara picked director have anything to do with bringing businesses into Oak Park, as discussed on Monday, which included Marty Noll saying it can cost 725,000 dollars and 500,000 thousand would be for salaries and the rest for 200,000 worth of other things?

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: December 4th, 2013 6:37 PM

Here's a link again to the agenda item commentary. I had a misplaced ")" at the end...

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: December 4th, 2013 6:34 PM

(cont.) one of the agenda items was to discuss this position including that actual name of the department. Here is the agenda item commentary And there was discussion about what to call this department, with some Board members expressed that "economic development" was not an accurate reflection anymore of what this person would do. So the Village Manager will come back to the Board with other title options.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: December 4th, 2013 6:33 PM

(cont...) Then the current Board, a few months ago, started thinking that maybe economic development would be better accomplished by an entity outside Village Hall. However, the Village Manager still wanted to have a director overseeing four already-existing departments, thus cutting down on the number of people reporting to her. And hopefully making things more efficient and streamlined. So at Monday's board meeting (cont.)

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: December 4th, 2013 6:32 PM

The history: The past Board in early 2012 approved a new position called "Economic Development Director." That position had not been filled. Then somewhere along the way, it was changed to "Community and Economic Development Director" with the idea of putting a few departments under this Director. See page 6 of this organizational chart : (cont....)

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: December 4th, 2013 6:31 PM

@Q, This position is within Village Hall. This position has nothing to do with OPDC or whatever outside agency is selected to head economic development.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: December 4th, 2013 6:29 PM

If this is really the position that was talked about on Monday, and Marty Noll said it can cost 725,000 dollars, and it wasn't created as of Monday, how could a deal like that be put together two day's later? If this is so, then where is that clarity in village government coming from? Of course this new made up position could be about something else. The reporter didn't do any kind of reporting.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: December 4th, 2013 6:26 PM

Bridgett, if Grossman is the big cheese of the newly developed department made up by Cara, are you saying that Grossman will be directing outside help? It says she will be the liaison between the village and developers. Does that mean she will be like the wizard behind the curtain who appears to the media if a deal is made? Maybe this position isn't about developing any business.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: December 4th, 2013 6:09 PM

I think there is confusion here, because of the title of the department--which is actually going to change. This new department will NOT be in charge of economic development. An outside agency will be in charge of economic development.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: December 4th, 2013 5:30 PM

Really? from Oak Park, don't expect any changes, just newly created positions for friends. Rob Cole was a permit clerk and moved into the position of assistant village manager. You didn't need experience then, and you don't need it now. You just need friends.


Posted: December 4th, 2013 5:30 PM

I know someone at village hall who thought they were in line for this job...anyone care to guess? It is refreshing to hear that status quo wasn't followed here. Good luck to Tammie.

Really? from Oak Park  

Posted: December 4th, 2013 5:26 PM

@JBM - surprised you are so excited. Tammie blindly supported the Grove Apartments, that you opposed. No surprise Breymaier is on board. This is not change. This is hiring someone with no experience in development. In his editorial, Dan Haley said we should be looking for someone with "Connections, some charisma, some political skills, an entrepreneurial bent, an understanding that Oak Park is both "special" and just the same." I don't see it with this hire.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: December 4th, 2013 5:16 PM

alberg from Oak Park, are you sure this is the position to make businesses know that Oak Park is no longer unfriendly and want their business. This can't be correct. This must be for something else. The reporter doesn't mention anything about it.

alberg from Oak Park  

Posted: December 4th, 2013 5:13 PM

Let me get this straight! On Monday night the Village Board agreed they need to proceed in a new direction to promote economic development, BUT NO ACTION WAS TAKEN. On Wednesday, Ms. Grossman was hired from the Village Staff for the head job after working in housing, planning and human resources. No commercial development experience was mentioned, but agreement was reached that the Village Staff was a part of the problem. I'm sure she is smart, but a little experience in the job would be nice.

Suzanne Vestuto from Oak Park  

Posted: December 4th, 2013 5:07 PM

Congrats, Tammie!!! You are a true asset to the VOP. To a brighter future for organizing housing & economic development in Oak Park.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: December 4th, 2013 5:01 PM

Tim Inklebarger, do some reporting. Find out what her pay was, what it is going to be, will her previous position be replaced, who thought up the new position, why it is needed and what should Oak Park tax payers expect in return.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: December 4th, 2013 4:56 PM

DCED DCOP OPDC Another newly developed position and it continues.

Rob Breymaier from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: December 4th, 2013 4:51 PM

I totally agree with John. This was a great move by the Village. Congratulations!

John Butch Murtagh from oak park  

Posted: December 4th, 2013 4:49 PM

Congratulations, Tammy. You're a big plus for the village. Regards, John

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