The Village Managers Association's (VMA) process was as open and inclusive as the participants could have wished for! At the start of the Selection Committee process, there were 60-plus people in attendance. Anyone who left the VMA organization did so on their own volition and were not thrown out or asked to leave. For the first time, I spent 12 weeks participating in the process. This led to the selection of a slate of excellent candidates: for President of the Village Board, Diana Carpenter, for Trustees, Ray Barbosa, Dorothy Reid and Mas Takiguchi, and for Village Clerk, Sandra Sokol.
When the meetings first took place in early September of 2004, I was new to the process, so I entered the proceedings with a little trepidation and uneasiness. However from first meeting to the very end I was made to feel a part of the process and I was included as a full participating member in the various deliberations. I experienced treatment that was respectful, kind and my opinions were valued. At no time was I made to feel that I should pack up my marbles and flee the premises. I was encouraged early on to invite others that I know to the proceedings.
To suggest that the VMA process was somehow "closed" speaks volumes about the mind-set of the VMA's detractors. I strongly urge us to get back to discussing the issues?#34;not the process, or personalities!
I have found that the VMA members are very intelligent, inquisitive, involved, cordial, thoughtful, respectful of others, and well versed about the challenges that face the Village of Oak Park. Likewise are the Oak Park First (OPF) candidates. I urge your readers to visit www.oakparkfirst.org and to give their support to the OPF slate of candidates on April 5th.
Ernest J. Moore, Jr.