VMA's 'closed process' doesn't put OP first

Opinion

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I am writing to illustrate a stark contrast between the New Leadership Party and the Village Manager Association (VMA). This contrast can be seen clearly in the way each group chose its candidates.

This year, the New Leadership Party caucus started with 100-plus people who responded to an openly advertised call for participants. The final slating meeting had over 60 participants from a broad spectrum of Oak Park. In contrast, the VMA broke with tradition, employing an "invitation-only" process that started and ended with about 20 insiders whose chief goal was to maintain the status quo. There were a number of people that participated in prior VMA selection processes that were excluded this year. Telephone calls and e-mails went unanswered unless you were one of the chosen few allowed to participate. Every Oak Park citizen had the right to participate in the New Leadership Party caucus. That's something that the VMA cannot claim this year.

While the VMA still claims to support good government, it's hard to believe this claim based on their actions. If the caucus is exclusive, doesn't it follow that any government resulting from it would be exclusive? Will the VMA slate really put Oak Park first? The VMA talks about good government, the New Leadership Party acts to ensure good government.

The VMA did not fully disclose these changes in the selection process prior to interviewing candidates. David Pope only found out about the "by-invitation-only" selection process after he withdrew his name from consideration. Even retiring Trustee Gus Kostopulos, a long term VMA member, publicly stated that this year's VMA selection process was very broken. In contrast, the New Leadership Party caucus began with an open set of rules, published on a website for the entire world to see, and followed these rules throughout the process. The VMA now stands for closed-door government based upon their closed-door selection process. The VMA withholds information, the New Leadership Coalition openly shares information.

The difference is clear. I am supporting the New Leadership Party slate: Bob Milstein for President, Greg Marsey for Trustee, Martha Brock for Trustee, Geoff Baker for Trustee, and Sharon Patrick-Layman for Clerk. I support them because they were chosen by over 60 of my fellow citizens in an open caucus that strove to bring the best candidates forward.

I ask that you also support the New Leadership Party candidates and bring responsive, transparent, and efficient government to Oak Park

Nile Wendorf
Oak Park

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