Ex-Oak Park village manager gets $125K in severance pay

Village president admits that two sides agreed to 'change in leadership'

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By Marty Stempniak

Staff Reporter

Oak Park's now-former village manager, Tom Barwin, has already been gone for a month, but he stands to collect another $125,058 from taxpayers following a decision on Monday.

The Oak Park village board met for an hour and a half Monday night in private to discuss "personnel," according to the posted meeting agenda. Afterward, they OK'd the severance payment in a 5-0 vote with trustees Bob Tucker and Glenn Brewer absent.

Before the vote, Village President David Pope read from a brief prepared statement, praising Barwin's work on environmental initiatives. No other board members commented during the five-minute public meeting.

For the first time, Pope admitted that the two sides had agreed to part ways. The village board was in the middle of its routine annual performance review of Barwin before he publicly announced his resignation from the job after five and a half years on Feb. 21.

"Earlier this year, the village board and Tom met and reviewed the current status of village operations and progress," Pope read from his statement. "We agreed at that time that a change in leadership was appropriate and would enable Tom to pursue future interests."

Pope said the payment includes nine months of Barwin's final base salary, which was $165,411. In addition, he's getting 36.1 hours of unused vacation time. The total severance payment would've been higher, but the village subtracted dollars for Barwin's health and life insurance.

Afterward, the village president declined to answer questions about the payout, instead referring to his statement. He said terms of the separation payment were spelled out in Barwin's most recent employment agreement, which he could not provide a copy of Monday night.

In an interview last month, Barwin echoed similar circumstances leading to his departure as the ones described by Pope. Barwin said he's had his antennas up for about a month or so and was picking up signals from elected officials that it was time to part ways with Oak Park.

At the time, Barwin said he was not leaving to accept a new position elsewhere, and he plans to stay in Oak Park after recently signing a two-year lease to rent a Frank Lloyd Wright coach house. Both he and elected officials refused to say whether the village board forced him to resign, and stressed that he had no plans to retire.

The village board is attempting to set an aggressive timeline to replace the former village manager, whose last day was Feb. 29. If all goes smoothly, they want to hire a search firm by early May, start conducting interviews in mid-July and possibly extend a job offer to a candidate in August to start in early September.

Meanwhile, Oak Park has appointed its head of parking, Cara Pavlicek, as interim village manager.

On Monday, trustees also gave her a pay boost for taking on the added responsibilities. With that, her salary will increase from $96,900 to $125,000 until a permanent manager is appointed.

Pope expressed confidence Monday in Pavlicek's ability to lead the village over the coming months.

"The steps following such a change are never easy, and the decision to make such a change obviously presents challenges for all parties involved," Pope read from his statement.

"At the same time, we have appointed a very capable interim village manager in Cara Pavlicek, and are now undertaking the permanent village manager search process. The village board appreciates Tom's contributions to our village and we wish him well in all of his future endeavors."

Reader Comments

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Posted: April 11th, 2012 2:15 PM

I think you should receive their resignations by next week.


Posted: April 11th, 2012 11:25 AM

@facts...you are wrong check out the Oak Leaves article:http://oakpark.suntimes.com/news/11678717-418/barwin-contract-set-stage-for-resignation.html The village board(of idiots) arranged the package for Barwin. Again i state my disdain for the board and hope they all resign in shame.


Posted: March 31st, 2012 10:44 PM

No need to look any further for a new Village Manager. We now have sorority sisters running village hall.


Posted: March 30th, 2012 11:22 PM

Thanks Greg for all your comments. I hope everyone can learn from your insight. It is greatly appreciated.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: March 30th, 2012 7:48 PM

We know what money buys when Pope spends tax payers money, but don't tax payers deserve the report that they paid 225,000 dollars for that was a deal between Lesner's wifes friend, Lesner, and Barwin. Since Pope wanted everything shut up for the camera rolling, I would also put Pope in the group.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: March 30th, 2012 7:45 PM

Is Lesner still around handling the money of taxpayers? I certainly hope not but if he is, he can be fired when the new change comes to Oak Park. I have mentioned at least two times when the story broke during the meeting on Oak Park's channel, I happened to meet a very qualified professional who told me Oak Park is not large enough to use the 1 million plus software. It cost me nothing for that information. Why doesn't Oak Park want the analysis from the woman who took tax payers money?

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: March 30th, 2012 6:47 PM

The ZDNet article's following summary could apply to the village's large scale planning, development and TIF districts. "For small organizations such as Oak Park, this lack of implementation sophistication is quite understandable. After all, these folks don't have a large IT staffing infrastructure and are not experienced with large implementations."

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: March 30th, 2012 4:01 PM

The PeopleSoft Fiasco continues to be a big subject of discussion on WJ Comments. Viewpoint vary all over the place and can be caustic. It would be nice if the subject were to go away, but it can't. Piecemeal pieces of PeopleSoft are still in use at the village. Chaos has eased, but has not gone away. A report was written in 2009 regarding about the OP-PeopleSoft issue by ZDNET. They are one of largest corporation providing support the the Information Technology Industy. The article written by one of it experts is totally objective, cites names, and provides a balanced report. The report can be found at the URL below. I urge anyone who is interested in the PeopleSoft issue to read it. http://www.zdnet.com/blog/projectfailures/oak-park-il-cancels-peoplesoft-implementation/1304

It's Who You Know  

Posted: March 29th, 2012 10:33 PM

Is it a conspiracy if it is true that the Assistant Village Manager went to school with the newly appointed Interim Village Manager who was fired from Downers Grove,and if the newly appointed Interim Village Manager hires a new Iterim Parking Manager to replace her position who went to school with her and whose contract wasn't renewed as City Manager of the City of Antioch?

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: March 29th, 2012 8:13 PM

Cont... The new change will take pride in Oak Park, fix Oak Park, and do it all without any secret meetings and totally irresponsible spending on individual projects with tax payers money.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: March 29th, 2012 8:11 PM

Cont... Be Careful, why can't you send a clean up crew to clean all debris away, remove the rotten railroad ties and patch the parking lot and level it out. You are an embarrassment to Oak Park, and to all the visitors and residents who use that parking lot and use the L to come and go from Oak Park. Since you refuse to clean up Oak Park, you now know why there is a new change building that will change the face of Oak Park for the residents and the visitors to Oak Park. Cont...

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: March 29th, 2012 8:09 PM

Be Careful, how much did you spend on South Marion street? Why don't you fix the parking lot that looks abandoned just 150 feet to the West on South Blvd. There's a sign that says enjoy you time in Oak Park. That's a nice greeting but where they are parking is in terrible condition, and the railroad ties being used on the North of the lot are rotting away, and partially block the sidewalk. There is a pile of debris 8 inches thick on the sidewalk under the railroad ties. Cont...


Posted: March 29th, 2012 2:30 PM

Conspiracy is a harsh word. I'll be gentle & say that many of Oak Park's non-downtown streets are...not streets I would want to be sipping hot coffee while driving on. Heh.

OP Resident  

Posted: March 29th, 2012 2:27 PM

No, there's a conspiracy to fill potholes by replacing asphalt with brick in a four square block area of downtown Oak Park and ignore needs in the rest of the village.

Be Careful  

Posted: March 29th, 2012 2:06 PM

You sound as if there is a vast conspiracy NOT to fill potholes in Oak Park.


Posted: March 29th, 2012 12:48 PM

Be Careful is afraid of the vast conspiracy to get potholes filled. 'Cause if word gets out...they might get filled?! How about maybe we're all on the same side to improve Oak Park? If "the other side" wants to steal a few talking points, awesome. If what needs to be done gets done, the need to talk about what isn't getting done goes away. lol

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: March 29th, 2012 12:38 PM

I agree with Q. For over a year now, people have been expressing their views on this site. We don't always agree, but their is a sense of openness among most of the posters. We can disagree and still be Post-Friends. The key to the conversations has been transparency -- we don't hide information from each other. We don't slander each others posts. We are transparent and honest. Everyone can participate in the work of FOP. Even spies.

Be Careful  

Posted: March 29th, 2012 12:01 PM


Q from Oak Park  

Posted: March 29th, 2012 10:58 AM

Be Careful, you are thinking like you own party. This is a new Oak Park, and everyone is open to knowing everything. There is no more hiding, like you are use to.

Be Careful  

Posted: March 29th, 2012 10:52 AM

I plan on joining the group for change just to be on the inside for the other side. I will know what the message will be before anybody else. Watch out.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: March 29th, 2012 9:26 AM

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois, Barwin may have been the nice person you describe but he should not have waited so long to tell Pope he was not in agreement and let the W.J. know and take his stance. That type of leadership is a person with integrity and the results may have been the same of him resigning but he would have resigned knowing he took a stance on his beliefs.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: March 29th, 2012 9:23 AM

Mike S from Oak Park, facts require proof. Prove it with your facts that Barwin is silly .

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: March 29th, 2012 9:00 AM

There is a new email address for those interested in getting involved in the 2013 elections with a group looking for change. EMAIL changeoakpark2013@yahoo.com IF YOU WANT TO BE INVOLVED. I'm sure we'll start with email conversations and then decide when it's time to meet.


Posted: March 29th, 2012 7:20 AM

John, I agree w/almost everything you say until you lost me at the VM position not being political. It's essentially the executive branch of govt & has way too many powers to not be checked by voters. Yes, if we had a mayor, he'd hire someone like our VM. But that person would then report to the mayor, not the legislative branch! I agree it's not worth the effort to change, currently. Easier to elect a new Board.

Donald Trump  

Posted: March 29th, 2012 12:26 AM

Your Fired

No way  

Posted: March 28th, 2012 11:47 PM

There's no way Silly is Barwin. Grammatical and spelling mistakes abound in Sily posts!

Mike S from Oak Park  

Posted: March 28th, 2012 11:30 PM

@Murtagh. You are mistaken. Yes Barwin is a nice guy, but the fact is that all the things that you have complained and disagreed and fought about on this board were his. You blame the board by mistake. Barwin was in fact posting comments as Silly and Laughing. That is a fact. If you don't agree with Silly's comments, you don't agree with Barwin. You just need to know that.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: March 28th, 2012 11:07 PM

Mike - I am from the school of thought that you can disagree with someone and have a beer immediately after. Yes, I have had disagreements with Barwin, but more frequently I have agreed with him. One thing about Barwin is that you could have a good conversation with him and exchange ideas. He is a true gentleman who took a lot of hits for the board. I wish I felt the same about most of the board members. Barwin's resignation was the result of board interference in his responsibilities. It was also an opportunity to stick Barwin for the board's mistakes in hope that we all would blame him during the 2013 elections. Ain't gonna happen. Life is not black and white particularly when politics are involved.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: March 28th, 2012 10:40 PM

OPRF Dad - Yes, the $25,000 checks could of been a firing offense. The backstory to the PeopleSoft fiasco was the "Just Get It Fixed" direction from "above". PeopleSoft had a total meltdown. Not only could it not generate reports for the board, accounts payable was overpaying and double paying due to systems malfunctions and account receivable had lost complete control on money owed to the village. Those "above" were aware of the problem, but did not vote to allocate funds for a fix. That was left to the VM to use his $25,000 discretionary fund. Yes, the board could have fired the VM, but that would have brought out the fact that those "above" was aware of the meltdown and wanted it fixed.

Mike S from Oak Park  

Posted: March 28th, 2012 10:39 PM

@ Murtagh. Don't you know that the Barwin you defend is Silly/Laughing that you have spent the last several years arguing with! Now you are defending him under a massive misunderstanding of who you are talking about.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: March 28th, 2012 10:23 PM

One note on my previous post. The President with the support of the board makes commission appointments. The Village Clerk has an administrative support role on commission affairs and appointments but no vote on commissioner selection.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: March 28th, 2012 10:19 PM

Time For a Change - I apologize if you think I was implying that you were confused. I did not target my post at you. As far as the Village Manager position, I have put up a previous post that show the VM's duties. None of them are political. To some degree the titles President and Mayor are the same. The big difference between a Mayor/President and a Village Manager is the extensive specialized education and certification for the VM. A President/Mayor requires no specialized skills or certification for his/her responsibilities. Even in a Mayor form of government, there is usually a Village Manager reporting to him. I agree with your third sentence re the VMA - the VMA does exploit it position as "selector of board candidates" to attempt the influence the public on policy issues. My experience is that the VMA executes that capability through the board members, not the village hall or the VM. In addition, the village's commission are appointed through the board and the village clerk. Commissions have limited interaction with the Village Manager or people he manages. It is usually limited to acquiring information. My opposition to a change in the form of government at this time is the time, energy, and manpower required to accomplish such a massive task. My focus is on finding independent candidates and helping them get elected. Ultimately, a board, current or new (2013) would have the responsibility to make a government change decision.


Posted: March 28th, 2012 10:11 PM

The $25,000 thing is where Barwin shot himself in the foot - cutting a single contract for over $100k into littler contracts of less than $25k so he didn't have to get approval. The board should have fired him for cause then.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: March 28th, 2012 10:00 PM

The Village Manager is not a political position. It is a management position with clearly with defined responsibilities. What follows is from the Oak Park Website "VILLAGE MANAGERS DUTIES" The primary powers and duties of the Village Manager, as stipulated in state law and outlined in the Oak Park Village Code #Enforces all laws and ordinances within the Village. #Attends all meetings of the Board of Trustees and may take part in discussions, but has no vote. #Recommends for adoption by the Village Board any action that may be deemed necessary or expedient for the welfare of the Village. "Appoints and removes all Village employees. #Exercises control over all Village departments and divisions. #Prepares and submits to the Village Board budget estimates for the current fiscal year. #Authorizes the purchase of equipment, material, supplies, and services, not to exceed $25,000, necessary for Village operations. #All purchases and contracts in excess of $25,000 or construction contracts in excess of $10,000 must have the prior approval of the Village Board and must be secured through competitive bidding or be authorized by a bid waiver. #Prescribes rules and regulations regarding the conduct of all Village employees. #Performs other duties as prescribed by state statute, the Oak Park Village Code, and any ordinance or resolution adopted by the Board of Trustees.

Harrison Street Neighbor from Oak Park  

Posted: March 28th, 2012 9:50 PM

Bricklicious hasn't been down to the Art District on Harrison St in a while. First, it has been in place in it current form for more than 4 years. But, you may recall that some buildings crumbled down here last year at Lombard and Harrison. Still not fixed. I see it as a direct result of the Village not paying attention, because they were distracted with other areas. The businesses are surviving, but there has been little help from VOP. I guess brick pavers in DTOP are just more important.

Time for a Real Change from Oak Park  

Posted: March 28th, 2012 9:39 PM

JBM: Oh , I understand the difference. I'm not at all confused. I just don't think that the Village Manager model works at all. And I think that the VMA exploits that fact to do whatever the hell they want without regard to the needs of the Village or its taxpaying residents.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: March 28th, 2012 9:26 PM

The Village Manager form of government is not to be confused with the Village Managers Association despite the fact that both emerged in the village together in the 1950's. OP had had a referendum to change to form of government due to corruption by two parties - The Dems and the Reps. The referendum was passed, the Dems and the Reps were voted out, and the VMA became the only political party in the village. Since then, the VMA has won 97% of the seats is has run for. Why? Power, Organization, and Money. From the start there were residents that were unhappy with the VMA advantage. In his book "The Evolution of a Village" by David Sokol, a former VMA elected trustee, he wrote about the 1950's, "The VMA process - with wide citizen involvement in nomination and supporting candidates had its problems and its critics. In view of the lack of primaries associated with the non-partisan selection process, this caused some members of the community to feel that the new VMA, which continued to win most elections for years to come, failed to see that elections reflected the most democratic method. So once again, progressive ideas of reform created issues about the preservation of control by the elite." Sixty years later, the same problem exists. The VMA stranglehold on the board candidate selection makes it difficult for other slates or independent candidates to run for office. Who's get the blame for the undemocratic approach to OP elections? The voters - OP has one of the worst records for voter turnout in local election in Illinois.

JED from Oak Park  

Posted: March 28th, 2012 9:22 PM

Love it... So, did you vote in the last local election? If not, it's not your government. Participate in the process by voting, standing for election. or shut up.

Love it  

Posted: March 28th, 2012 9:15 PM

It's our govt we should run it ourselves.


Posted: March 28th, 2012 7:47 PM

(contd) neglected areas of Village governance, I suppose I think they should be taken to task for that. Ultimately, it's wrong on so many levels, but a bad form of government that our grandparents saddled us with is less changeable than the type of leaders & their style of leadership. Hopefully that will come to the front next Village election. My vote goes more "average resident who wants a better block" than executive type leadership with a focus on, say, business or programming.


Posted: March 28th, 2012 7:46 PM

I think that's a substantive issue that needs to be discussed though is whether it's better that a resident leads the Village or whether we really do want a professional city manager coming in. Leftovers? Maybe. But I'm in favor of more democracy & transparency in govt esp at the local level. It's our govt we should run it ourselves. IMO Oak Park should sink or swim via our own residents, not outsiders. Do I trust the current board?You're saying they're ultimately in charge so if they've...


Posted: March 28th, 2012 6:19 PM

We are better than 4 years ago. New vibrant Down Town. New Harrison Art District. New Roosevelt Road. New North Ave. New Bike lanes, new midweek market, net net more new businesses, more new restuarants, new and improved parks, schools solid, crime at 39 year low, more pedestrian friendly, solar panels installed at Village parking lot, more green sustainable projects, safer streets due to more traffic devices and signs, safe school routes for students, smart economic development in progress.

Real Change  

Posted: March 28th, 2012 5:42 PM

"The current system is flawed -- the idea of electing unpaid officials to hire a professional to run the village is absurb and lacks real accountability." Officials are paid: not full-time pay but not totally unpaid either. I'm willing to bet every town people wish we mirrored (on the comment board) has the same form of government. There is plenty accountability ingrained in the form.The board chooses how the form is implemented not the manager. Some cities want strong managers and some don't.

just another joe  

Posted: March 28th, 2012 5:37 PM

contd. All the issues you address are the responsibility of the board i.e. the sole employee of the board is "free to make poor decisions, mismanage the Village, slack on resident concerns, leave problems unaddressed." What you're saying implies we don't trust the board to manage its employee so he/she should be elected by us as well, despite us not feeling that the current officials are being accountable to us by managing that one employee. Won't happen and will result in a 2nd rate manager.

just another joe  

Posted: March 28th, 2012 5:33 PM

Kyle, you'd only get the leftovers from other towns . Who is going to move to a town anticipating a career after they've lived there a year? Almost no one. So then you're speaking of limiting the position to residents? Won't work. Towns hire managers across the country in national searches and somehow we can expect to have the best possible candidate already living in town without a competitive process. The citizens indirectly check the vm by way of his/her boss, the board, that they elect.

Seriously Silly from Oak Park  

Posted: March 28th, 2012 4:16 PM

@Silly: Based on a variety of measures, OP is a substantially worse place today than 4 yrs ago. Higher taxes, worse schools (down 3 principals), lower home values, many more foreclosures, fewer businesses (e.g., Borders, Lane Bryant), VOP operating at a projected deficit, parking garages crumbling (and higher fees), flooded basements, unaccountable Board, no Village Manager, more crime in my neighborhood, open air drug market at McD's, imminent housing project...oh, but we have brick pavers.

Time for a Real Change from Oak Park  

Posted: March 28th, 2012 4:09 PM

Let's avoid all of this and vote the current form of gov't out of existence in the next election. I suggest a referendum eliminating the Board and installing a single, accountable Mayor (elected position with a salary) and a (unpaid) city council representing the various areas of OP (think alderman, but without corruption). The current system is flawed -- the idea of electing unpaid officials to hire a professional to run the village is absurb and lacks real accountability. Throw the bums out!


Posted: March 28th, 2012 3:45 PM

Joe, you're right that's the intent. The de facto result, however, is an unelected, unaccountable official who is left free to make poor decisions, mismanage the Village, slack on resident concerns, leave problems unaddressed. The whole day-to-day operation is left up to the whims of somebody who may not have any idea what we want as a community. I'd at least feel better if there was a requirement for the VM to be a resident for a year prior to being hired. Keep it in the community.


Posted: March 28th, 2012 3:45 PM

Not sure who is running. How can anybody talk of records. I just know that Oak park is a better place today than it was 4 years ago and the roof is all around us.

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: March 28th, 2012 3:40 PM

Like I said Silly (Brick). It's a personal choice. I do hope to run in the future when the kids are older. Keep Regardless of what you say (and how classlessly you say it), If you weren't threatened you would let this go. Why are you scared if the incumbents records are rock solid?

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: March 28th, 2012 3:37 PM

Patricia, the gadfly who criticizes your commitment to the community is not able to prove that she has ever volunteered locally, served on a citizens committee or even spoken publicly at any board meeting. She hides in the shadows afraid and alone. She show no interest in engaging in the public discourse and chooses to bully and ridicule those who express an opinion, post a comment or share information. Many of us have been targeted for the type of abuse that feeds her frenzy. Best to ignore her

just another joe  

Posted: March 28th, 2012 3:36 PM

Kyle: A vm on the ballot defeats the purpose of council manager which is to have the vm answer to the board. In theory, the board worries about politics and playing to the people and the vm is "free" from the pressures of not being reelected to make wise decisions. Doc walsh: you'll never get an established village manager without a contract, someone else already said it they're public sector CEOs. Now if you want some untried kid fresh out of grad school then no contract is


Posted: March 28th, 2012 3:33 PM

I suppose no one on the board has children or other time commitments. You now the phrase.....Put up or _ _ _ _ up.

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: March 28th, 2012 1:50 PM

Silly (Brick), as I have said before and will say as many times as you question my commitment, there are many ways to be involved in the political process. Many ways to propel change. For each of us, level of involvement is a personal choice. I'm not going to allow you to bully me quiet because I'm prioritizing giving my evening time to two very deserving pre-school children who need their mother present. Not working is not an option for me. Not running for political office is.

Paris Hilton from Neverland  

Posted: March 28th, 2012 1:35 PM

...LOL...says the pinhead hiding behind her monikers! Aren't you tired of being a lapdog licking at the crotch of the Board? If you can pull yourself away from your computer and from servicing the various Board members, perhaps others can do the same.


Posted: March 28th, 2012 1:14 PM

I love the Murtagh /O'shea tag team that is "as involved as you can be", but not running? No time. Just time to talk the talk. Well now its time to walk the walk. Stop hiding behind your various screen names and occasionally show up with your real name and your FB certified status. BHU. Boo Oak Park

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: March 28th, 2012 12:48 PM

For everyone who wants a change in Oak Park's government for responsible spending of tax payers money go to https://sites.google.com/site/concernedmadisonoakpark and contact the webmaster. Patricia is handling the website.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: March 28th, 2012 12:35 PM

I Foolishly replied to a Bricklicious question - Yes that is Silly - Since it is relevant to what ROP has to think through, I am transferring to the string from the 2013 Election Taking Shape in Oak Park String. Posted: Wednesday, March 28th, 2012 8:33 AM BRICKILICIOS POST - Should we all prepare ourselves to be schooled in what we "should" talk about and how we "should" vote by John Murtagh. Im sure if any Oak Parker's dont see it Johns way, we are all a bunch of fools. I think there will be a lot of "outside of Johns" world issues that should and can be addressed. My 1st question to John will be what will his ROI be if his candidates lose? JOHN BUTCH MURTAGH REPLY Illinois REPLYPosted: Wednesday, March 28th, 2012 8:59 AM Hi Brick - good questions. Without question, views that I have expressed will be challenged. So will the views of others. In my view we are attempting to bring more openness to the village board and the discipline to follow the tenets of our form of government - VM responsible for day to day issues and the board providing direction to the village with strong, clear, and consistent policy decisions. Position on issues should be the responsibility of candidates who emerge. To do anything else would be the adoption of the VMA style. To succeed we have to commit to a 100% transparent, non-partisan approach. The ROI is a high quality, objective, village board that understand the implication of decision and seek assertively the view of residents before committing the village to programs. The $ ROI cannot be quantified or forecast now, but will emerge within a few months. Finally, leadership of any organization fighting for better government must be committed to consensus in developing a plan.


Posted: March 28th, 2012 8:41 AM

@Q. t he twitter account is @oakparktoday.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: March 27th, 2012 11:19 PM

John Butch Murtagh, contact Patricia O'Shea at her website. If we contact her, then she can contact us all and we can take the next step towards improvement in leadership for Oak Park. https://sites.google.com/site/concernedmadisonoakpark/

RayRay the Sith  

Posted: March 27th, 2012 10:03 PM

@You Have No Idea - never underestimate the power of the Dark Side of the VMA.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: March 27th, 2012 9:13 PM

ROP - Great to see the energy for making the 2013 board elections meaningful, fun, and rewarding. It's exciting to see action underway, but we need to slow down a little and do some planning. First, while many of us are WJ Comments friends, we don't really know each other personally and in many cases we don't have real names. I see no reason for people to give up their anonymity at WJ Comments, but we will have to reveal our true identities without alerting all the antagonists and spies at some point. Second, we need a simple set of objectives. My view is that a referendum to change the village's election laws is not useful. The results of an advisory referendum this year would go to the current board for consideration - that does not help us or the OP voters, Second, there is nothing wrong with the village's form of government - Village Manager. The problem is board members have usurped the VM's authority. Third, my view has been that we want to form a support unit to help identify candidates and provide them with help in getting on the ballot. We are not forming a political party or a VMA selection process. Our first step should be to begin chatting about the three issues above and keep getting new ideas how to get started. Ready, Set, Go!


Posted: March 27th, 2012 8:33 PM

Get those piggy banks out b/c the key ingredient to wining any election is Moola! Plain and simple. I will bet anybody on here that whoever you get will lose. Any takers? Must be a certified candidate(s).

T.J. from Oak Park   

Posted: March 27th, 2012 8:25 PM

Is there any chance that OP Village Hall sits on a giant sinkhole? Or it this just wishfull thinking?

T.J. from OP  

Posted: March 27th, 2012 8:23 PM

Once again the village was generous with taxpayer's money. Two weeks for every year Barwin worked for the village would have been appropriate. If something different was in his contract, whoever wrote it should be taken to the wood shed.


Posted: March 27th, 2012 8:23 PM

Is there any reason why Ms. Pavlicek couldn't simply be interim VM & then in a situation like this the name of the Board's next preferred VM choice be put on the local election ballot as a voter choice in the spring municipal elections? I believe the Board has referenda power, right? We're going to the polls anyway.


Posted: March 27th, 2012 8:06 PM

Are we using the same consultant in this new search? Here's a tip. Do an online search yourself to see if there is any "dirt" on the person you are considering hiring. It can save a lot of headaches and money. The board is really clueless about selecting Village Managers and Interim Managers.

doc walsh from wooddale  

Posted: March 27th, 2012 7:41 PM

why is a contract required to be a village manager can he not be hired as a regular employee lets give ita try

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: March 27th, 2012 7:25 PM

I know someone very capable of putting the type of website that would be required to keep people updated, provide videos, and have a voter count on it too. I know people don't want to spend money on anything, so if people can at least come together and make plans for change, I will work out the website with the webmaster.

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: March 27th, 2012 6:58 PM

Yeah...I don't do websites for a living and it was a free tool which limits design. If there is someone more able and willing to do it I'd be happy to take on a content author role.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: March 27th, 2012 6:53 PM

People for change in Oak Park, go to Patricia O'Shea's website to start planning a new change for Oak Park's board. Here contact the webmaster goes to her and it is on the left side at the bottom of the first column under the name, Home. Everyone on here who want change needs to start coming together and Patricia is offering a very good way to get started. Contact her and spread the website address to others.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: March 27th, 2012 6:50 PM

You have an ok website Patricia but needs better organization. Just trying to find the contact webmaster was difficult, but I certainly appreciate how sincere you are about making things happen. People like yourself are the one's who make a difference.

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: March 27th, 2012 6:42 PM

Very few things worth doing are easy. And that's IF the secret "people" are intimidating which they're not - not to me anyway. With a vision, leadership, and people willing to spend some time getting the message out, just about anything can be done.

You have no idea!  

Posted: March 27th, 2012 6:32 PM

The naivete to think that the outrage and enthusiasm of a few intelligent people making comments on a page, where many of the comments are goofy VMA plants, signals an ability to defeat a party in power for 60 years really signals positive change might never come to this Village. Changing the form of government would not stop the special interests. You have no idea who these people are, or how far reaching and influential their network extends into politics and business.

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: March 27th, 2012 6:30 PM

@OPRF Dad and anyone else interested in working on a website, I can be reached at https://sites.google.com/site/concernedmadisonoakpark/ at the "Email webmaster" link.

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: March 27th, 2012 6:28 PM

@ Bricklicious: Silly, I get that people organizing scares the tuna salad out of you, but no need to make false accusations. As I've said before, just because you post under all kinds of monikers doesn't mean everyone does.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: March 27th, 2012 5:30 PM

OPRFDad, you will be the one with the reasonable solutions and be able to say what needs changing. Patricia O'Shea, if you are Irish, you have a natural in for Chicago politics so Oak Park will be a simple task for you, so you are the person who will say what you need regarding information.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: March 27th, 2012 5:28 PM

WOW, you have a good name for the new movement. Oak Park Today, OPT. You come up with good ideas but we shouldn't count on you getting things done or replying to questions. I asked earlier if you could make a twitter for the name but never responded to that question but have been back on so you have to stay as one of the idea people because this new Oak Park requires replying back to the citizens of Oak Park. That's what will make it great.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: March 27th, 2012 5:26 PM

OPRFDad and Patricia O'Shea, you are onto something really good with using a website. People like websites, it's like entertainment, some reason we enjoy the WJ postings. With the website, people in Oak Park could all vote on what they like and the board can then make a decision on what they will vote for. We can get great input from residents. Why hasn't this ever come up as an idea with the Village. Maybe the reason is they don't want people to know what they do. Let move this forward.


Posted: March 27th, 2012 5:24 PM

bricklicious - no, I can't admit it is a good design. I HATE BRICKS. Now, if it were pavers, I might have a different opinion. D200 is right up there on my list of places to audit when I am king. They blow money like it is going out of style.


Posted: March 27th, 2012 5:22 PM

Patricia, I'm in.


Posted: March 27th, 2012 4:49 PM

Look who comes out from behind the veil? FB verified and all. Oohh

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: March 27th, 2012 4:38 PM

OPRF Dad, Sounds similiar to what I put together for the Comcast project. I could easily do this with content creation support (probably needs a few people, each assigned to a different subject matter item). It's the type of thing I can do at night after the kids are in bed.


Posted: March 27th, 2012 4:34 PM

You actually bring up a good point, Bricklicious, but I would differ in my conclusion. It isn't about how much money is spent per se. It is about priorities though. You're right that we're never going to agree on what deserves 1st attention. Which is why we need some "meta planning." Not about development. About basic services. Do we even have a master street cleaning schedule, for instance? I've seen a sweeper maybe once. There is always debris.


Posted: March 27th, 2012 4:31 PM

Stupid brick project? Cant you admit its good design? Take any before and after pics? These bricks are ultimately better for the environment too. Spend a little now to save later. OPRF DAD- Will join my BHU for Oak Park? Boo Oak Park? Are you at all concerned about the MILLION$ that dist 200 has piled up?


Posted: March 27th, 2012 4:23 PM

CROP - Citizens For a Responsible Oak Park. Get an intern from Concordia/Dominican who is tech saavy, have him/her create a web site, and put together a grass roots campaign advocating fiscal and moral responsibility at the Village, OP Township, and the school districts. The web site can host village/district meeting materials, keep a running tally of all OP spending, focus on the next stupid brick project and generally keep people aprised of the objectionable OP shenanigans.


Posted: March 27th, 2012 4:16 PM

Doesnt govt come down to prioritizing? You cant fix all the problems this year. You can attempt to fix most of the problems eventually, but new ones arise. There will always be problems. Overall I'd say Oak Park does a good job of balancing money and projects. Not everyone will agree on how much money should be spent on what projects. Its been that way for all of time. How do I spend other peoples money. Gov Quinn raised State income taxes just to give to pension plans. ILL still in debt.


Posted: March 27th, 2012 4:15 PM

Done, my understanding is that switching to another style of municipal govt under home rule would simply be a matter of local referendum. Get the signatures and put it to a vote. Isn't that what got us this to begin with? My main concerns have become A) whoever day-to-day operations is, it needs to be subject to voter approval B) residents need a rep in the Village govt that belongs to them to vote in/out. Not sure the form matters so much as it is about putting in leadership w/better vision.

Done from Oak Park  

Posted: March 27th, 2012 3:49 PM

What are the chances of getting rid of this form of government? Would OP be better off with a "mayor" and "aldermen"? Maybe that would become a similar disater?


Posted: March 27th, 2012 3:39 PM

and John Murtagh likes the guy. Isn't that reason enough. I really like John Murtagh's ideas.


Posted: March 27th, 2012 3:37 PM

so was his salary and all village salary's. Your point? He's a professional and professionals get severance.

doc walsh from wooddale  

Posted: March 27th, 2012 3:31 PM

why shoule he get severance pay this is all taxpayer money


Posted: March 27th, 2012 3:30 PM

From the article above:...the payment includes nine months of Barwin's final base salary, which was $165,411. In addition, he's getting 36.1 hours of unused vacation time. The total severance payment would've been higher, but the village subtracted dollars for Barwin's health and life insurance..........terms of the separation payment were spelled out in Barwin's most recent employment agreement


Posted: March 27th, 2012 3:07 PM

@facts, are you getting tired of this yet? I am: http://www.oakpark.com/News/Articles/03-30-2010/Village_manager_holds_off_on_raise,_bonus but i am still waiting for your facts, silly facts! viva OPT In!


Posted: March 27th, 2012 2:59 PM

and just in case you can't follow the logic, performance evaluations and raise tend to go along with the annual employment contract...


Posted: March 27th, 2012 2:58 PM

@facts, here is another article that seems to indicate that the time for a raise was in the spring, this one is from June 2011 http://www.oakpark.com/News/Articles/06-21-2011/No_raise_for_Oak_Park_village_manager and your facts again?


Posted: March 27th, 2012 2:52 PM

@facts: all i have is the article stating that the board was preparing for barwin's annual review: http://www.oakpark.com/News/Articles/02-14-2012/Board_prepares_for_Oak_Park_village_manager_evaluation which to me indicates that his employment contract was due for renewal in march or april. what "facts" do you have? or are you just being Silly and Laughing while once again having no actual facts?

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: March 27th, 2012 2:50 PM

ROP - The Tom Barwin Affair is atypical of the board activities in the last decade. Tom was brought to OP at a time that OP budget was 10M in the hole. He stepped up and made the manpower and services cuts that all employees and residents hate. Under his leadership, the budget was brought back into balance. During his stay, he led the OP Green movement and was the guy on the ground who ensure that projects got done. While he did an excellent job there was friction with the board from the start. OP has a Village Manager form of govt. That is; the VM is the Chief Executive Officer. This did not sit well with members of the board who felt they had the right to make the day to day decisions. So,they forced Barwin out. That is their prerogative, but their responsible is to make decision based on performance; not politics. There is no question in my mind that the board decision was based on the hope that they could place blame for its bad decision on him in order to deflect criticism of the board's performance. Why? Four incumbent seats will expire this year and they will face a new election next spring.


Posted: March 27th, 2012 1:49 PM

Its sounds like Boo Oak Park.


Posted: March 27th, 2012 1:48 PM

I really really hate bricks. They may look nice and last 10x's longer than asphalt, but I do hate them. I want to start a group called Brick Haters United. BHU for Oak Park. I will ask Mr.Murtagh, Miss O'Shea and Mr Coughlin if they would like to be the founding member's with me.


Posted: March 27th, 2012 1:44 PM

Wow, They are paying him less than they would have if he stayed until his contract was up. I am glad you want change, but lets hope the change is a tad bit smarter than yourself.

Another Idea  

Posted: March 27th, 2012 1:37 PM

Eliminate all party tickets - candidates get elected on their own merit. Sounds like a fantasy that would require voters to pay attention instead of blindly voting but I can dream, can't I?


Posted: March 27th, 2012 1:22 PM

I wonder if Tom Barwin would consider running for the Board or for President.


Posted: March 27th, 2012 1:04 PM

Its all the bricks fault

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: March 27th, 2012 12:51 PM

WOW, you are very good at marketing. Very clever to bring in the twitter. Can you set that up as Oak Park Today? We can all start joining in on twitter and it will build. Let me know before Pope reads this and takes the twitter handle.


Posted: March 27th, 2012 12:39 PM

how about V M Ain't! hmm, on second thought bad grammar is not a good way to start. What about OPT, for Oak Park Today! We can have the tag line OPT In! OPT In for a new future, OPT In and vote, OPT In for Business, OPT In for Schools etc etc. twitter account set up Oak Park Today.


Posted: March 27th, 2012 12:10 PM

Might I suggest something that is not just anti-VMA & maybe oriented towards solving neighborhood problems? Maybe a Facebook page or Twitter hashtag to keep the conversation going...I'd love to see an ongoing, resident-reported list of issues/problems on a block by block basis.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: March 27th, 2012 12:04 PM

WOW, we need a group name. ROP, (Residents for Oak Park), or something that is catchy. There are very good posters on here. Enuf is Enuf, OPRF Dad, Jim Coughlin, John Murtagh. They are very close to each other and have good views.


Posted: March 27th, 2012 11:35 AM

@Q...a start up group, like the VMA was long ago when they started. Sounds good to me. We have some vocal people on these comment pages, so the movement has started.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: March 27th, 2012 11:29 AM

Excellent WOW, we need to form a group of people who want to bring Oak Park back to having board members and especially a President who will serve the citizens of Oak Park, and improve the quality for residents. We can make it happen.


Posted: March 27th, 2012 11:27 AM

Hi Q. I vote in every election, and did not vote for any of the current board members.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: March 27th, 2012 11:08 AM

WOW and ZING, you have to vote to get rid of these people, and the number one leader is Pope. Let him take his leadership somewhere else. Dump Pope because the rest of them follow what he says. Dump the board members who don't show up to vote on board decisions too.


Posted: March 27th, 2012 10:35 AM

@ wow - good point. And can I apply for the parking meter attendant job? $96k a year is not too shabby. The Board is impulsive and lack discipline. Whoever suggested dumping the Board for a mayor was on the right track.


Posted: March 27th, 2012 10:32 AM

OK, it is official - i hate our village board, every last one of them and i hope that they are all voted out of office. i can't help but think they are all idiots. the board could have waited a couple of months and not renewed barwin's contract, but they fired him and it cost the tax payers $125,000.00. can we have a vote of no confidence for the board and have them all removed from office?


Posted: March 27th, 2012 10:23 AM

While the package may be in order, it is somewhat difficult to say whether the amount is appropriate. Barwin made $164,500 per year. He's receiving the equivalent of about 9 months salary continuation with the $125,000 payout. Severance in these situations ranges from 2 weeks per year of service (or 12 weeks for Barwin - rounded up) to a year (publico private sector). Presumably, the severance comes with a waiver and release of claims. If not, then the Village definitely over paid.

Dooper 58 from Oak Park  

Posted: March 27th, 2012 10:07 AM

Clearly, Barwin was fired which is, of course, the board's perogative. Dave is correct, the package is in order, very common, and is likely less than it could have been. Not pleasant, but part of the cost of doing business. Let's hope the board gets this next hire right.


Posted: March 27th, 2012 10:04 AM

A negotiated resignation - i.e., they were going to fire him but he resigned. That certainly deserves severance.I hope the Village consulted outside resources to determine whether the amount of severance is reasonable - but probably not.And the approach to Pavlicek is questionable. The Village should pay her a provisional stipend for the additional duties rather than increasing her salary. The salary (1) is hard to claw back, and (2) impacts benefit costs.

Dave from Oak Park  

Posted: March 27th, 2012 10:00 AM

If he was let go, which it's looking more and more likely, then a severance package is in order. Do I like it? Not really. But it's no uncommon and it's fair.

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