Oak Park Village Manager Tom Barwin resigns

Top administrator's last day on the job is next Wednesday, Feb. 29


Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Show/Hide Gallery

By Marty Stempniak

Staff Reporter

Oak Park Village Manager Tom Barwin announced at a village board meeting Tuesday that he's resigning from his post after five and a half years on the job. Village President David Pope said after the meeting that Barwin had told the board last week that he would resign.

Barwin read a lengthy statement at the end of Tuesday night's scheduled meeting. In it, he touted his accomplishments since joining the village in August 2006, including a crime rate at a 39-year low, making village hall a more environmentally friendly organization, and battling through a tough economy while reducing staffing by 20 percent and trimming a huge budget deficit.

"I am leaving knowing we have not slipped during my watch and in fact made significant gains during tough times," he said. "I am comforted as I leave knowing the community is in very good hands to take advantage of the many significant opportunities which have been created over the past few years and are now in play."

Afterward, Barwin, 57, said he is not leaving to accept a new position elsewhere, and he plans to stay in Oak Park. He declined to say whether the village board forced him to resign, pointing to his prepared remarks, and said he has no plans to stop working.

"I'm definitely not retiring," he said. "My wife and I are going to evaluate our options. I'd like to do something to keep making the world a better place, maybe figure out a way to create jobs in America."

The village board was in the middle of its routine annual evaluation of the village manager's performance this month. Trustees met in closed session on Feb. 13 to decide whether Barwin should get a raise in 2012, but declined to comment following that get-together.

Last year, Barwin did not receive a raise to his base pay of $165,411, though he did get a one-time $4,135 performance bonus. At the time, trustees declined to say whether the manager received a favorable evaluation, though one board member singled out the Building and Property Standards Department as an area needing improvement.

Pope said late Tuesday that Barwin informed the board last week that he felt it was appropriate for him to resign. He declined to say whether the resignation was tied to the annual performance evaluation.

There are elements in the manager's contract that need to be worked through, Pope said. Board members are hoping to identify an interim manager in the coming days, said Pope. "It is possible, even likely, that the interim manager will be an internal candidate," he said. However, Pope said the village board had not yet settled on an interim manager. Barwin said his last day is Feb. 29.

Trustee Ray Johnson — who with Pope is the longest serving member of the board, at nine years — also declined to say whether Barwin was forced to resign, and would not comment on the recent performance evaluation.

"Clearly what he laid out was what he believes he's achieved, and what that opens up for him personally or professionally, he didn't get into, but this was his statement," Johnson said. "All employees' performance evaluations remain confidential matters, so I can't say anything about that one way or another."

Johnson said he expects the village to conduct a nationwide search to find a new manager, similar to the one they undertook to find Barwin at his last post in Ferndale, Mich. He expects the village staff to transition into new leadership smoothly come one week from now.

"There are some incredibly talented and dedicated staff people in place who have done great work, and will continue to do great work, so I'm very confident that whatever is in the pipeline will continue to move forward," he said.

Trustee John Hedges, himself a former Park District of Oak Park chief and interestingly an interim Oak Park village manager for a short while, acknowledged Barwin's long list of accomplishments, and said he thinks the village will find a new manager that continues in the same tradition.

"It'll take us a while to recoup, but I think we will," Hedges said. "We've always had a tradition of good managers, some strong in some areas, and some strong in other areas. I've seen a lot of them, and I've sure we'll find someobo0dy who will provide that leadership."

Publisher Dan Haley contributed to this report.

Reader Comments

102 Comments - Add Your Comment

Note: This page requires you to login with Facebook to comment.

Comment Policy

Christopher from Sarasota  

Posted: November 29th, 2012 10:55 AM

Mr. Barwin is making news down here in Sarasota Florida. I wonder why he resigned from Oak Park if he was doing such a good job according to this article. So what's up Oak Park let us in on who the real Mr. Barwin is please.


Posted: February 28th, 2012 5:30 PM

Of course silence isn't your approach. You sit behind a keyboard to get things accomplished. More laughter from down the hall.


Posted: February 28th, 2012 5:07 PM

@JC. I strongly believe that this person truly represents the mindset of many in the VMA and that's why they do nothing to silence her. But until they do, I intend on taking an "albatross" approach with this commenter - especially as she continues with her "sit down, shut up, or move!" remarks. Information, dialogue, and debate may not be what some people desire if it is critical to their actions, but "silence" is never a good thing. Just my opinion. And what's Harmon doing lately for Illinois?

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: February 28th, 2012 3:46 PM

@Unfortunately. I still contend that all of these weird posts are the product of a single individual. She never generates any support on the forum and instead has to rely on an odd variety of screen names to make her case. I cannot imagine any VMA official or board member giving her the time of day. We're in agreement that it would be a smart move by the party to disavow any connection with the gadfly and to publicly rebuke her antics. They may choose to do as we enter the next election cycle. If she is a voice for the VMA; people are not going to listen.


Posted: February 28th, 2012 3:44 PM

I am sure Unfortunately has been trying to vote out the VMA for 50 years. Low pitch laughing.


Posted: February 28th, 2012 3:42 PM

"I've simply had too much previous experience in OP..." Priceless!!!


Posted: February 28th, 2012 3:17 PM

@JC. I agree - and disagree. I strongly believe that "VMA party members and elected officials" are either behind these people or, by their silence, support what they have to say. I've simply had too much previous experience in OP to believe otherwise. I do, though, definitely agree that she has "certainly not been effective in promoting the party's positions." But, y'see, the VMA crowd is VERY "sensitive" to criticism and so, imo, secretly delights in the "gadfly" nonsense of their comments.


Posted: February 28th, 2012 2:44 PM

More people in Oak Park to vote? Just to have the same people who think they need every decision put to the voters. Whats the purpose? Why not just sit at home and make recommendations to the Village and Trustees through OP.Com? High pitched laughing.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: February 28th, 2012 2:19 PM

@Unfortunately. I've posted similar concerns regarding a lack of response from VMA officials to posts by Laughing/Silly. She is certainly not been effective in promoting the party's positions. Badgering people and demanding that they move out Oak Park if they dare to disagree with any board policies or decisions is contrary to any comment ever posted by VMA party members and elected officials. My guess is that they have chosen to ignore the gadfly. We should all do the same. Someone starving for attention should not be fed.

Paddy Boy  

Posted: February 28th, 2012 2:10 PM

Tommy Boy did a fine job! The house is still standin' and the pubs are still open for business! Good luck on your next assignment lad! (I hope Dan will accept this comment - he's been a bit touchy as of late.)

Slam Dunk  

Posted: February 28th, 2012 11:57 AM

The real question is why DON'T Oak Parkers vote in local elections? VMA'ers count on it. The same group of 4 or 5 thousand voters get them elected everytime. Next year is a local election year. Shut down the VMA by voting them out!


Posted: February 28th, 2012 11:27 AM

Why do we vote? If the residents should have their say in EVERY matter that comes before the board, voting means nothing. Get real and get over yourselves people.


Posted: February 28th, 2012 10:58 AM

@Laughing. Sigh, once again the VMA mouthpieces such as yourself/Silly and the other rabid dogs who slavishly follow the company line of VMA uber alles! - have told us peasants to, as you wrote "Now shut up and let the elected officials lead." I've frequently commented about this VMA demented dream of demanding that any one not enchanted by their "perfections" should either "shut up" or move!" The fact that no VMA bd member, etc has EVER publicly apologized or disagreed...concerns/saddens me.

What do you mean Good Riddance?  

Posted: February 27th, 2012 7:53 PM

It would be hypocritical to can him for interviewing somewhere else. He had a job when they interviewed him to come here.


Posted: February 27th, 2012 5:46 PM

Isnt the bottom line also: The residents need to stop running their mouths thinking they run things. The only thing they run is their ballot at the ballot box. Now shut up and let the elected officials lead. Christ almighty.

Good Riddance  

Posted: February 27th, 2012 2:31 PM

This guy is a parasite. The Village should have canned him when he interviewed for the job in Colorado. Instead, they continued to subsidize his housing. Bottom line: the Trustees need to stop tryng to run things.

Facebook Verified  

Posted: February 26th, 2012 12:06 AM

Gotcha John! I'd recommend the Journal contract with you to be the comment board moderator. You do such a good job at it now with no compensation :)

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: February 25th, 2012 11:12 PM

Facebook Verified - - I assume I am the John in your: "C'mon John. 'I find the hiring of a interim village manager without public discussion to be disturbing." Really? What would be the point of public discussion?" I asked when the board voted on the selection of the interim VM. The village press release announcing the appointment did not contain that information. Ray Johnson replied that the vote would be held next Monday night. That is; after the selection was released to the public. I checked and it is not on the agenda, so my question is still not answered. Ray also said there would be public discussion at the meeting. OP has a lot rules and procedures to follow. I was just checking to see if the board follows their own rules and procedures. Aparrantly not!!


Posted: February 25th, 2012 10:20 PM

Hello, are you out there Ray?

Facebook Verified  

Posted: February 25th, 2012 10:20 PM

C'mon John. "I find the hiring of a interim village manager without public discussion to be disturbing." Really? What would be the point of public discussion?


Posted: February 25th, 2012 11:26 AM

Ray Johnson, what are Ms. Pavlicek's major accomplishments since coming to Oak Park? Was Lisa Shelley considered for the job?

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: February 24th, 2012 11:21 PM

I find the hiring of a interim village manager without public discussion to be disturbing. My primary concern is not about questions that have surfaced about the interim's previous professional performance, but the board choice to use a Friday press release without any indicator that a board vote took place. The hasty and sloppy approach by the board will make it more difficult for the interim VM to establish leadership. A lot of people think that the board forced Barwin's resignation, that the board intent was to shift blame, and that the choice of a former village manager on staff for three years was a setup.

wrong answer CTT  

Posted: February 24th, 2012 10:28 PM

CTT, you don't seem too familiar with city management. There are cities much bigger than ours that have the same form of government but how a city chooses to implement the form is up to them. Your idea that a town of 50k people should have full-time aldermen is a far stretch from reality. Being an elected official in a town this size should not be a full-time job. The board does seems to stretch things out a bit i.e. meetings but that is more by preference than necessity.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: February 24th, 2012 10:12 PM

Baloney! You must be off your meds.


Posted: February 24th, 2012 9:26 PM

It is not nice for elected officials to call residents clowns.


Posted: February 24th, 2012 9:11 PM

Perhaps Marty will look into it and get back to us all.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: February 24th, 2012 8:48 PM

Fight the good fight but fight fair. I know David Pope has encouraged folks,including me, who post questions and concerns about his policies and decisions to contact him directly. He's even provided a phone number and can be reached via e-mail. If you're a whistleblower who can back it up; proceed with caution. Otherwise, you need to back off!


Posted: February 24th, 2012 8:45 PM

The clowns are at it again. Having conversations with them selves. I find it very funny. Hardy har har


Posted: February 24th, 2012 8:33 PM



Posted: February 24th, 2012 8:31 PM

Maybe the village board can hire an outside consultant to investigate and find him innocent like they did for Barwin and Chief Financial Officer Craig Lesner for the Peoplesoft consultant scam.


Posted: February 24th, 2012 8:30 PM

Perhaps some one will read it prior and check into it. Then we will talk.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: February 24th, 2012 8:28 PM

That's not enough, FOP. If you are able to prove what you are saying about David Pope; do so! The Village President has his critics and some of those issues are legit but to state he engaged in illegal actvities without offering any credible evidence clearly crosses the line. I expect the forum moderator is going to take action again and delete your post. You appear to be in violation of the forum guidelines.


Posted: February 24th, 2012 8:15 PM

Perhaps you should check the water bills for that property and when the were paid. Then leave me a note after you do that. But you wont because you know the is truth behind it. If you do I will be more than happy to apologize in writing but trust me I wont have to.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: February 24th, 2012 7:52 PM

FOP, I noticed that your previous post was deleted. That's an explosive charge you are making against David Pope. If you have any evidence that substantiates this claim it should be forwarded to authorities. It's unfair to Pope to imply that he engaged in unlawful activities without offering any verifiable proof.

FOP from Oak Park  

Posted: February 24th, 2012 7:01 PM

The board needs to realize we the voters elect them. They hired this moron and now are going to replace him with another. They need to be held responsible. The Board is going to replace him with a women who was fired from this role already with another Village and then sued them. Not for wrongful termination only breach of contract. We need to get rid of this Board I think they have lost touch with this community.

CTT from OP  

Posted: February 24th, 2012 5:58 PM

It's time OP realizes we have too many urban problems to continue this ice-cream-social-era village manager form of govt. We need full-time professional alderman elected from districts and a resident elected as Mayor. I recall that Mr. Barwin opposed the destruction of the Marion St. pedestrian mall but had to follow the board's direction. It has not, and will probably never, justify the expenditure of the $7 M Best of health and happiness to the Barwin family.


Posted: February 24th, 2012 3:58 PM

Not sure....

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: February 24th, 2012 3:52 PM

D-Silly. Do you think that in 2012 you might be able to muster one constructive comment? Just one.


Posted: February 24th, 2012 12:23 PM

Theres a reason why some people are retired and no longer working for the VOP. Thank God.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: February 24th, 2012 12:03 PM

Is Cara Pavlicek the Village Board's first choice to serve as interim village manager? I trust the trustees will proceed with great caution prior to making this appointment. We cannot afford a replay of her tenure in Downers Grove.

Frank Vozak from Oak Park, IL  

Posted: February 24th, 2012 10:39 AM

It is easy to be a village manager when the village coffers are flush as with every prior vilage manager but Tom Barwindistinguished himself by maintaining the quality of life in Oak Park when the money just dried up due to a modern depression. He made a point to actually know the citizens of Oak Park and what their concerns were and often stood up for the individual citizen and neighborhood over quality of life issues that others in government and worked to accomplish solutions.


Posted: February 24th, 2012 9:26 AM

I bet OP TAXPAYER is David Pope. Hahahahahahaha

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: February 23rd, 2012 9:52 PM

Jim C -- I agree with both your posts below. I also believe that Tom Barwin was a scapegoat for the village board. It was interesting that he did not mention the TIF Fund fiasco or Sertus in his resignation address to the board. Perhaps they were not affairs that he was deeply involved in. They were board driving 100% with the planning department and plan commission acting as loyal servants. A City Manager serves at the pleasure of the board. To keep his job he has to frequently suppress his opposition to board views, and just as frequently has to take the bullet for board mistakes. I sense that Barwin did plenty of both.

Happy from Oak Park  

Posted: February 23rd, 2012 9:38 PM

Barwin please hurry up and leave, your tenure has resulted in low morale, depressed and scarce employees. Take your posse with you including the former Downers Grove Village Manager (your secret spy) who was fired from Downer's Grove and her best college buddy Lisa Shelley, the former Public Works secretary (now deputy VM) who is evil to lower level staff and is no longer approachable because her head is ENLARGED!

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: February 23rd, 2012 9:34 PM

It is swell of Ray Johnson to take the role of Village Healer with his statement. "There are some incredibly talented and dedicated staff people in place who have done great work, and will continue to do great work, so I'm very confident that whatever is in the pipeline will continue to move forward," The statement is presidential, but he is not the board president. The statement sound typically heartfelt though it is hard to remember exactly what he did for OP workers, or for residents when for years he was hiding TIF, Whiteco ROI, etc.from his constituency. His reassurance that things (the pipeline) will go on is not reassuring at all. It is a neatly written statement which he should have saved for his next election.

T.J. from Oak Park  

Posted: February 23rd, 2012 9:13 PM

This is the best news I've read in a long time. Now if we could just get rid of Chief Tanksley we'll really be making progress. Let's hire someone who will fire Tanksley.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: February 23rd, 2012 8:37 PM

Share that information if you have it handy, Enough Already. I'm not arguing that the trustees have not made sincere efforts to control spending but it does appear that a significant amount of the cutbacks targeted employees who worked at the lower end of the pay scale and many of those folks belong to a union. A greater percentage of the upper management staff who receive the top salaries were spared. Shared sacrifice was never on the table. The decision makers will always seek to protect themselves. That's how it works in both the private and public workplace. There is no doubt that these are difficult times for working families and too many have suffered.


Posted: February 23rd, 2012 7:31 PM

The budget would have $275,000 more if the money had not been paid to a consultant at increments just under $25,000 to avoid needing the boards approval.

Enough already  

Posted: February 23rd, 2012 7:09 PM

James Coughlin, Do you know what Oak Parks budget is today vs what is was in 2006? Real dollars

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: February 23rd, 2012 5:47 PM

And yet the trustees will go on the record and state they are not anti-union and that all staff firings were necessary to keep Oak Park from a finacial disaster. Is that a fact? How did the board act to find other ways to keep people from losing their jobs? Did they enact an ordinance to prohibit awarding no bid contracts? Did they push for a moratorium on the hiring of outside consultants? Did they cut the fluff from the budget? Were personal services contracts with law firms renegoiated? Did the adminstration work with bargaining units to look for ways to control costs and save jobs? Blaming Barwin does not give us an answer. He was following orders.

sooperdooperpooperscooper from oak park  

Posted: February 23rd, 2012 4:01 PM

the board has its work cut out for them. with the exception of interim directors, each manager hired after Neil Nielsen has been more anti-union than the one before. Perhaps when the Wisconsin governor is recalled the board will hire him. definitely the direction things are going.

Artful Dodger from Oak Park  

Posted: February 23rd, 2012 1:39 PM

All the best to Mr. Barwin, but if the challenge of controlling viaduct pigeons without the benefit of a subsidy from the schools to the village in the form of the TIF is more than the village can manage, then perhaps it's for the best.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: February 23rd, 2012 11:37 AM

That's an explosive charge, FOP.


Posted: February 23rd, 2012 11:18 AM

If the board didn't fire him in '09 for overpaying a connected consultant $205,000 behind their backs, which caused the budget hole that was filled with the layoffs of 5 employees then what happened? Also you might want to add that story to the above "related stories."

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: February 23rd, 2012 11:02 AM

Barwin and the board did not offer any reason for his resignation, leaving one to only speculate. Since his resignation took place immediately after his performance review, and by reading between the lines of trustee comments, it appears Barwin was shown the door. Barwin always perceived Pope as his employer, not the village board, and it might be the board finally had enough of the lawsuits and controversy brought on by Pope / Barwin, and are taking measures to regain control.


Posted: February 23rd, 2012 10:36 AM

John Murtagh, clearly you dont know President Pope at all.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: February 22nd, 2012 11:28 PM

(cont) that board interference would never allow him the independence to use his professional skills to lead a village that badly needed leadership.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: February 22nd, 2012 11:25 PM

Brian - I don't think you are completely right about Barwin and Colorado. There is no rule or law that says the village manager, or any other village employee, must or even should tell their boss that they are interviewing somewhere else. To me telling your boss that you are interviewing is a kiss of death particularly in OP where loyalty is the primary qualifier for office. My personal view is that he interviewed in Colorado for two reasons - profession pride & advancement and an early recog

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: February 22nd, 2012 11:13 PM

OP Taxpayer - Re David Pope's skill set for Village Manager, Enuf has already identified the qualifications that he does not have. Besides that, brilliance is not a qualification for elected office nor is any particular business skills. Respect is a component but it should not be selective. Your use of the words "CAN respect people" is revealing and accurate. Pres. Pope is respectful to some and aloof to many. Smiles, pats on the back, and homespun comments are also not

Bell = Coughlin=Enuf  

Posted: February 22nd, 2012 9:43 PM

Hi there

Hope Springs Eternal  

Posted: February 22nd, 2012 9:16 PM

Mr. Barwin, have you been treated poorly? You had no idea what you were getting into, did you? In the words of former Village Manager, Lee Ellis, whose last words to the press before he left were "Now they won't have Lee Ellis (Tom Barwin) to kick around any more." That was under VMA rule, too. In the event you have nothing nice to say about these people who may or may not have canned you, there are plenty of ears ready to listen. Maybe you can help drive this cabal from rule.

Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: February 22nd, 2012 8:59 PM

Didnt Barwin, while under contract with the VOP forget to notify anyone that he was going to Colorado to interview for a job. Wasnt the explaination that he never wanted the job, but wanted to see that towns bicycle plan and wanted to take the travel expense off his federal income tax for job hunting a job he didnt want? Something close?

Inside with Insight  

Posted: February 22nd, 2012 8:25 PM

Lisa Shelley, the current Assistant Manager would be the logical and best choice. She has 10 years experience and the qualifications. Why bring in possible problems from another municipality when we have proven talent from within?

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: February 22nd, 2012 6:24 PM

A master's degree in public administration, with a min. 10 years of city manager experience in a community a similar population, budget and staff size to OP. Demonstrated performance in municipal budgeting / finance, human resource management & collective bargaining, information technology, risk management, grants procurement, economic development, land use planning, zoning regulations, and public works. Source: Int'l City/County Management Assoc. (ICMA).

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: February 22nd, 2012 6:12 PM

I trust that David Pope will have no interest in serving as Village Manager nor do I believe that he considers the board's business to be a "game". I do recall that in the past some trustees have expressed their concerns regarding President Pope's hands on approach relating to the day to day operations at Village Hall. Hopefully, that has been curtailed by mutual agreement. It certainly would be beneficial to recruitment process for the trustees to welcome input from residents, Oak Park businesses and local taxing bodies. This will be a crucial hire. Sadly, Manager Barwin's involvement in the PeopleSoft consultant scandal undermined his effectiveness and it was equally troubling to learn about the unpaid property taxes on the home he rented from taxpayers. Our community is at a crossroads and the new Village Manager has to be up to the task.

OP Taxpayer  

Posted: February 22nd, 2012 5:40 PM

What exact qualifications are you speaking of?

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: February 22nd, 2012 5:26 PM

Essentially, by micromanagement and hubris, Pope has been the unofficial village manager since Barwin was first hired. Although by ordinance Oak Park operates under the Village Manager form of government, in which the village board hires a professional manager to oversee the day-to-day operations, in reality, OP operates more as a Mayor-Council form of government, with Pope acting as mayor, and Barwin his chief of staff. Problem is Pope has no village manager qualifications.

OP Taxpayer  

Posted: February 22nd, 2012 5:02 PM

I would like to nominate David Pope as the new Village Manager. Your laughing I suppose. Why? This guy is brilliant and has a mind for business and can respect people. He knows the ins and outs of this community. He also knows the game that is played between the Village and the Board. Now if only David would entertain such an idea?!?!?!?

Cowboy from Cityville  

Posted: February 22nd, 2012 3:01 PM

Thank God. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: February 22nd, 2012 1:57 PM

John, you are probably right that Oak Park will be looking for village manager who has experience with planning and budget management. My suggestion that the board consider Peter Dame is based upon his performance while serving our Village as an assistant. He knows Oak Park and would be able to promote better intergovernmental cooperation among our local taxing bodies. That's been a goal of the current trustees but has yet to be achieved. That strange posting by "Horace" in response to my suggestion and the dubious plan to consider an internal candidate on an interim basis might be an indication that the search for a qualified replacement could be difficult. I hope not.

AT PRIVATE SECTOR from Chicago, Suburb of Oak Park  

Posted: February 22nd, 2012 1:55 PM

You work in the private sector where you know the risks of getting laid off. Some people worked for the village and had a slight amount of security with that, and didn't expect their heads on the chopping block. The bad hand the Tom was dealt also was a hand that was approved by the trustees, and trustees that are only held accountable by each election. I'm sure Tom will be ok though. Maybe he'll write himself a few $24,999 checks before he leaves on the 29th. See ya Tommy Boy

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: February 22nd, 2012 1:09 PM

Speaking of property taxes, Tom Barwin leased a village-owned house at 1041 S. Lombard Ave. during most of his stay in Oak Park. This property was listed as 'exempt' by the Cook County Assessor Office during his stay, and no property taxes were recorded as being paid. It is my understanding that any municipality-owned property leased for income is not exempt from paying property taxes. Why were no property taxes paid while being rented out to Barwin?

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: February 22nd, 2012 1:06 PM

Hi Jim - I took a look at how Grosse Pointe (5,400 residents, minimal industry, and a very high income per captita) is doing. Up to this year, they have been surviving the national recession by drawing down their reserves. They project that the reserves are about depleted. Negative reserves are projected for the next five years with a constant downward spiral. Grosse Pointe borders a economically challenged part of Detroit and GP has had a problem with white flight and foreclosures caused by the auto company's reduction in executive positions and pension reductions for retirees. Peter Dame certainly has had a trying task as city manager. My sense is that the GP board was the primary in choosing not to cut expense in the last few years. I believe the OP village board has to find a manager with significant crisis management and deep planning experience. The next ten years will require massive changes in OP government, if it is to retain its premier status.

Resident from Oak Park  

Posted: February 22nd, 2012 1:05 PM

You think things were bad and Tom had to ax employees? Wait for the new person. Does Rahm ring a bell. How about Pat Quinn. Times are tough and hopefully we become a leaner machine in the times ahead. As long as employees like the fool who posted below dont get hired, we are in good shape. Dont forget Tom's son is a multi millionaire. Not sure he needs a dime.

Dan needs to apologize  

Posted: February 22nd, 2012 12:58 PM

You owe Barwin an apology Dan. The Journal reports that the board knew last week. Now say you're sorry.

Taxes RULE!  

Posted: February 22nd, 2012 12:28 PM

He probably looked at his property tax bill and decided to get the heck out of Dodge!


Posted: February 22nd, 2012 12:07 PM

bbbbbbyyyyyyyyyeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee Tom!

WJ Comments Rules  

Posted: February 22nd, 2012 11:09 AM

FOP, don't be suprised when your comment gets pulled. Profanity is not allowed.


Posted: February 22nd, 2012 11:05 AM

I meant $25,000

FOP from Oak Park  

Posted: February 22nd, 2012 11:04 AM

I loved when Tom states nothing slipped on his watch. However he doesnt state that he was in trouble for approving $150,000 or so to be spent on a consultant at $25,00 a crack so he didnt have to bring it to the board for approval. OOOOOps that would be a pretty big slip you think. Way to secretly spend Tax Payer dollars TOM.

FOP from Oak Park  

Posted: February 22nd, 2012 10:56 AM

Now we need to see the PW Director and the HR Director step down and that will mean real change for this town. By the way terrible job on plowing and salting Village Hall during the storms. Someone should be held responsible for that.

OP Resident 43284 from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: February 22nd, 2012 10:54 AM

@Right On - You're probably right RE: scapegoat. There are several Trustees probably more deserving of this kind of public undressing than Mr. Barwin. The only people who can fire the Village Board are the voters and, with 10-15% turnout, that won't happen any time soon. PLEASE, people, vote in our local next election. Whether you support the current Board or against them, it sends a suprisingly apathetic message when such a openly vocal constituancy doesn't bother to show up at the polls.

Right On  

Posted: February 22nd, 2012 10:28 AM

Paul's got it right here. Barwin is a scapegoat. A shame.

Private Sector worker from Oak Park  

Posted: February 22nd, 2012 10:15 AM

To Prior VOP Employee...welcome to the real world. In the real world, the only job security is a happy customer. I'm a VOP taxpayer: you work for me & the other citizens. We've not been happy with the value our considerable taxes have brought in recent years, & Mr Barwin was doing his level best to satisfy us with the bad hand he was dealt. Before you ask, yes, I've also been laid off...twice in the last 7 years in fact. I get up, & try to do better satisfying my customers. Look in the mirror.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: February 22nd, 2012 10:12 AM

Where did that come from, Horace? Peter Dame served Oak Park well during his time working in the Village Manager's office and reports indicate he's doing an excellent job in Grosse Pointe. I have no idea if Dame would be interested in returning to our Village. He is a Michigan native. So, what's the real story, Horace? Is your opposition to Dame actually based upon some issue you have with me specifically or do you have a preferred candidate? What's "becoming clearer" for you is pretty murky.


Posted: February 22nd, 2012 10:02 AM



Posted: February 22nd, 2012 9:57 AM


paul from oak park  

Posted: February 22nd, 2012 9:48 AM

Having lived in a family where the bread winner served at the behest of local politicians I understand the nature of Village Manager service. I, too, liked Tom Barwin and thought of him as a thoughtful individual who thoroughly understood small community needs. If there were things he said that I disagreed with, I am fairly certain that he disagreed with them too, and was having to serve a board that demanded and controlled his statements. This is the board setting up for the next election.


Posted: February 22nd, 2012 9:41 AM

Why am I not surprised James Coughlin likes Pete Dame? Things are becoming clearer now. Not Bloody Likely James.

James Coughlin  

Posted: February 22nd, 2012 9:30 AM

I hope the Village Board will consider hiring Peter Dame as a replacement for our departing village manager. Dame previously served Oak Park as an assistant to the village manager and is currently the city manager in Grosse Pointe, Michigan.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: February 22nd, 2012 9:23 AM

Could Pope and Johnson be next? That would really be a change. Then next person will be hand picked to work for Pope and Johnson.


Posted: February 22nd, 2012 9:05 AM

Pot calling the kettle black Anthony? You accurately described yourself.

Anthony R. Shaker from Oak Park, IL  

Posted: February 22nd, 2012 8:53 AM

Good riddance. His superiority complex led to numerous lawsuits against the village during his tenure for failure to listen to opposing points of view. His main accomplishment was his unique ability to lie to one's face. Oak Park deserves much, much better.


Posted: February 22nd, 2012 8:47 AM

It is amazing the audacity of Barwin's list of "accomplishments." Barwin claims that under his watch the crime rate had dropped, though he has nothing to do with that fact. Maybe the Board finally realized that he overstated his accomplishments in previous positions and realized that they had hired the wrong face person for supporting the Board antics. Barwin criticized the schools and hide behind closed doors. In my opinion, he was never a very good manager.


Posted: February 22nd, 2012 7:46 AM

Its people like John Murtagh and O'Shea that, in my opinion, helped Mgr Barwin make his decision to leave. All they do is bicker, bicker and more bicker about how awful things are here for the last 10 years. Its nice to see Mgr Barwin state some of the things accomplished under his watch. Maybe John and Pat can listen and reevaluate their positions.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: February 22nd, 2012 12:24 AM

The June 3, 2006 WJ had an article written by Reporter Drew Carter regarding the hiring of Tom Barwin as village manager to replace Carl Swensen who was run out of town on a rail. Here are some quotes from that article. * Mayor Robert Porter "We deeply appreciate the key role Tom has played in the dramatic turnaround Ferndale has undergone over the past ten years, and the leadership and effort he has put forth to both move this region toward sustainable development goals and to diversify the transportation system." * OP Pres. Pope ""Tom Barwin's experience and personality are a perfect match for Oak Park." Trustee Ray Johnson * "Barwin transformed the Detroit suburb into "Fashionable Ferndale...." * Trustee Marsey "One of these special people who has the ability to master any situation." *Tom's quote about coming to Oak Park was "I am thrilled to be joining one of America's truly great and forward-looking communities." I do not know if Tom resigned in frustration after a year (2011) of village failure's, or he received a push from the board at the "Executive Session to Discuss Personnel; on Feb 13, 2012, but it is clear from the quotes in Mr. Carter's article that there is a story to be heard. That story should be heard before the village board begins a search for Barwin's replacement.

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: February 22nd, 2012 12:01 AM

@ Dan, I'm sure he didn't give notice today. Today was an announcement.

epic lulz  

Posted: February 21st, 2012 11:50 PM

While I'm happy to see Barwin go, I shudder at the thought of whom the current Board will select to replace him.


Posted: February 21st, 2012 11:01 PM

Whatever happened to giving two weeks notice? How typical of Barwin.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: February 21st, 2012 10:41 PM

City Manager Barwin served the village in one of the most tumultuous periods in OP history. He did a great job of keeping the running despite arriving after most of the money was spent (village reserves) and the rest committed (To the DTOP TIF.) I found him to friendly, reachable, honest, and direct. Despite the blistering he received, and some of the mistakes he made, he should have no trouble finding a new position. Best of luck, Tom.

Ghost of Zuppke from Oak Park  

Posted: February 21st, 2012 10:38 PM

...the Over/Under for comments on this article is set at 95...and, they're off!

OP Rez  

Posted: February 21st, 2012 10:31 PM

Sorry to see him go. Now we have to bring someone else up to speed with all the town jesters. Who else can they run out of here?

Facebook Connect

Answer Book 2017

To view the full print edition of the Wednesday Journal 2017 Answer Book, please click here.

Quick Links

Sign-up to get the latest news updates for Oak Park and River Forest.

MultimediaContact us
Submit Letter To The Editor
Place a Classified Ad