Oak Park holding meeting Thursday for public input on village manager search

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By Anna Lothson

Staff Reporter

The first special meeting for the public to officially weigh in on the process of hiring Oak Park's next village manager will be 7 p.m., Thursday at village hall, 123 Madison St.

Leading the search with the village is Slavin Management Consultants of Georgia, the firm selected earlier this month for recruitment and selection efforts.

Thursday's special meeting will follow a similar format of the typical public comment portion during a board meeting. Commenters will be provided 3 minutes to share their thoughts.

Village board trustees have expressed the importance of engaging the public in the process, including the possibility of involving various stakeholders from across the community.

Slavin will receive up to $21,490 for its work. This number breaks down to $13,865 in professional fees, while the remaining $7,625 is available for possible expenses incurred during the process.

The board expects to have a candidate hired by Sept. 1.

Email: anna@oakpark.com Twitter: @AnnaLothson

Reader Comments

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Comment Policy


Posted: June 8th, 2012 12:21 PM

To have legitimate excuses is OK, but how can you then complain about the process and not participate? If theres a will, theres a way!


Posted: June 6th, 2012 9:05 AM

Like I said on the pigeon issue, I have young kids who go to bed around the same time as evening meetings. When it comes to local politics vs making sure bedtime goes smoothly, my kids win.

@ OP Res  

Posted: June 6th, 2012 8:24 AM

OP Res, its admirable that you showed up to talk at the meeting regarding the hiring of the next Village manager. Wasn't there TONS and TONS of interest? I thought at least I'd see Kyle there. VOP must be doing something right!

OP Res  

Posted: June 4th, 2012 1:21 PM

It's admirable Silly that you have the stamina to continue this solo campaign against anyone who has constructive criticism on Village decisions. It must be hard standing alone. Why don't the people you so vehemently support support you publicly?

@ epic  

Posted: June 4th, 2012 12:41 PM

"useful place for community dialogue."? Is that what you, Coughlin,Murtagh,O'shea, Barsotti, Les, etc... are doing?

I wanna be like John Murtagh  

Posted: June 4th, 2012 12:33 PM

JBM-"Transparency was used in the 2010 election because residents and taxpayers put pressure on the village leaders to be more open. " I beg to disagree. Were you part of the campaign that came up with what their platform would stand for? Where was the transparency in the campaigns of Louis and Lynn? Pressure from the residents and taxpayers? Show me the proof of this please.

epic lulz  

Posted: June 4th, 2012 12:24 PM

It's sad to see that the WJ forums are still a mass of SILLYness. If only the WJ bothered to enforce their own rules, this forum could actually be a useful place for community dialogue. As is, it's just a never-ending flame-fest. Sad.


Posted: June 4th, 2012 11:43 AM

Again, putting words in someone's mouth.


Posted: June 4th, 2012 11:37 AM

Funny how he added context(after the fact)! Context or no context he cant say with 100 percent conviction that the trustees that were elected have not made things more transparent? It seems to me that JBM wants every ounce of everything to be emailed to him and all in village. Get real.

OP Res  

Posted: June 4th, 2012 10:20 AM

From my read, he was responding to you using his words out of context.


Posted: June 4th, 2012 10:02 AM

Of course, it must have been taking out of context. Ha Ha The back peddling and the apologies will follow. I am not sure why JBM continues and then tastes his foot yet once again!

Could it be possible?  

Posted: June 3rd, 2012 9:41 PM

That low turnout was the result of: a. the fact that turnout is almost always low b. most people found out about it the day before


Posted: June 3rd, 2012 5:25 PM

I hope Mr. Slavin will dig really deep before he selects candidates. We do not need another towns problem.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: June 3rd, 2012 2:56 PM

I try not to reply to "Silly Posts" but when my name is used in a WJ Post Address and my statements are distorted, I have little choice. I did write "MY SOLE PURPOSE IS TO REMIND VOTERS THAT THEY DID NOT FULFILL THEIR COMMITMENT,...." The context of the statement was that a lot of people complain about Oak Park current financial rut and the despot approach to government, but do not take action by voting. In the last two local elections, more than 80% of registered voters (4 out of 5) did not vote. We all have a right to complain, but true commitment occurs when those complaining also participate in electing the people that represent them.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: June 3rd, 2012 12:36 PM

Q, Personal attacks do not contribute to a civil public discourse. The forum works best when there is a free and open exchange of ideas and opinions. I generally try to ignore the fools and tools but will object when the rules are violated.

I wanna be like John Murtagh  

Posted: June 3rd, 2012 10:09 AM

Heres some positivia "MY SOLE PURPOSE IS TO REMINDVOTERS THAT THEY DID NOT FULFILL THEIR COMMITMENT."......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... John Butch Murtagh. 6/2/2012 Come out TODAY to Day in our Village and see what VOP is doing well. :-)

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: June 2nd, 2012 10:07 PM

Jim Coughlin, if people posted to the rules, etc., it would not be entertaining. It's the engagement of people that make posting websites like this popular. No one is making you reply to the person. It's up to you.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: June 2nd, 2012 9:25 PM

The gadfly is out of control. How do her attempts to bully and ridicule people contribute to a civil discourse? She continues to violate the rules of conduct as detailed in the comment policy by posting personal and meanspirited attacks. Enough with this nonsense!

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: June 2nd, 2012 8:13 PM

Bully that is. Even my iPad doesn't like the word.

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: June 2nd, 2012 8:10 PM

Silly, you're a negative nasty bulky. Not sure how you think your behavior is justified. I demand more from my preschoolers.

I wanna be like John Murtagh  

Posted: June 2nd, 2012 4:38 PM

Go drink some wine on Marion St.and see why VOP is doing something Wright!! You are so off base again. Par for the coarse I guess. My original point is that you cant have one with out the others. A great Oak Park is an all inclusive Oak Park. They all work together for the good of all in the community. Wake up John and stop being the town Grinch.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: June 2nd, 2012 4:09 PM

They are not all the same. There are six different taxing bodies in Oak Park Village. Each taxing body has it owns board, policies, tax levies, own employees, etc. They are each totally independent of the others. In fact, they sue each other once in a while. My comments referred to only OAK PARK VILLAGE which is responsible for police, fire, refuse collection, etc. In my opinion each of the other taxing bodies are outperforming Oak Park Village.

I wanna be like John Murtagh  

Posted: June 2nd, 2012 3:46 PM

Arent they sort of one of the same? U so funny. Maybe what you are saying is that the Village is way out of sorts but everything else is A OK? U even funnier.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: June 2nd, 2012 3:14 PM

"Quote from I Wanna - "There are reasons why Oak Park has a great Park District, and great Library, and school system etc....Not everyone is living in 1970." My reference was to Oak Park Village. I agree that the park district, DP97 and D200, the library, and Oak Park Township have moved into the 21st Century. They are the organization that realize that change is impossible to avoid.

I wanna be like John Murtagh  

Posted: June 2nd, 2012 2:09 PM

"MY SOLE PURPOSE IS TO REMINDVOTERS THAT THEY DID NOT FULFILL THEIR COMMITMENT."....................................................................................................................................................................................... John Butch Murtagh. 6/2/2012

I wanna be like John Murtagh  

Posted: June 2nd, 2012 2:04 PM

There is a reason why Oak Park is thriving and better off than most surrounding communities. There is a reason why you cant find parking in DTOP and the streets and shops are full of consumers. There are reasons why Oak Park has a great Park District, and great Library, and school system etc....Not everyone is living in 1970. Another example of how YOU are out of touch John. Its time for you to get into your time machine and travel.

I wanna be like John Murtagh  

Posted: June 2nd, 2012 2:02 PM

How much did you make on your Tax returns last yr? Do I care. Should I care? NO. Should I call you out for not being transparent? By your thinking YES. Get over yourself. There is a thing on most peoples shoulders called a head with a brain in it and not everything in the brain is seen or heard by most. Oh Noooo

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: June 2nd, 2012 1:38 PM

Transparency was used in the 2010 election because residents and taxpayers put pressure on the village leaders to be more open. It did not change government life in OP. Transparency is a major component of vision. It is impossible to be visionary if the vision is cloudy and the constituency is left out of its components. The vision of our village's elected government officials seems to be to maintain the Camelot-like days of the village in the 20th Century. That is despite the fact that the 21st Century is massively different in terms of the lifestyle, income, values, needs, etc. The first step in making change is to scrap the old ways to make room for the new. To do that the village gov't's culture has to become more transparent and communicative. That requires leadership. If the leadership is headed in a direction that does not match its constituency,change cannot occur. We need to be talking about what OP will be in 2030, not what it was in 1970. A chat with Johnson, Salzman, and Tucker is a start, but is not a answer.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: June 2nd, 2012 12:19 PM

John, it would be interesting to hear from trustees Johnson, Salzman and Tucker on their efforts to improve transparency and accountability.

I wanna be like John Murtagh  

Posted: June 2nd, 2012 12:12 PM

"My sole purpose is to remind voters that they did not fulfill their commitment." Like many other things with campaigns, promises are made and promises are kept and broken. Maybe somethings are more transparent than they were prior to their arrival? Maybe somethings are not? I love it how you think everyone's criteria should be JBM's criteria when we cast our next votes. You seem to want to know everything and want everything to go your way. Sorry Charlie, life just doesnt work that way.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: June 2nd, 2012 11:13 AM

MOP - Transparency as an election theme was introduced by the Johnson, Tucker, Salzman ticket in 2010 by the VMA. My sole purpose is to remind voters that they did not fulfill their commitment. "I have no..........."

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: June 2nd, 2012 10:10 AM

Why does the gadfly spend countless hours on this forum complaining about John Murtagh? She resorts to using an endless variety of screen names to post her weird little rants but it's always just the same old gibberish. Kinda creepy.

MOP-Murtagh's Oak Park  

Posted: June 2nd, 2012 9:23 AM

The transparency Butch wants is called getting elected. Then you make every decision and know everything. Try it on for size. I'm sure I'll get your typical rehearsed answer of " I have no intention of running...." Then why do you spend countless hours on this forum complaining and bickering?

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: June 1st, 2012 10:37 PM

Last week there was an opinion piece promoting Oak Park as a great for retirees. It works for me! And who would want to live in Florida as long as Rick Scott is governor? Mandatory drug testing program that directly benefits his family's business. Voter suppression that results in denying a ballot for 91 year old WWII vet. Who wants to be part of that mess?

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: June 1st, 2012 7:13 PM

Harold Florida in the summer? No Way.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: June 1st, 2012 5:50 PM

Harold, explain, if you are able, how you've demonstrated a positive use of your free time by posting a comment that attempts to bully and insult another individual. Offer a constructive criticism or find another way to address your anger issues. This forum is designed to promote a public and civil discourse.


Posted: June 1st, 2012 5:40 PM

Hey John, maybe people just aren't interested in hearing you rant? Your ego allows you to believe you are the all knowing, but you're a grumpy old guy with too much time on his hands and a computer. What happened to old people moving to Florida and playing shuffle board?

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: June 1st, 2012 3:30 PM

No offense, John. I believe you have posted comments regarding Tom Barwin that I interpreted to mean you were somewhat in his corner. Perhaps you were speaking of him personally and not professionally. It really isn't relevant to the question about why he was not rehired and I should have not mentioned in my comment.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: June 1st, 2012 3:18 PM

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois, why 150,000 dollars to fire someone. You just go up to the person and you say pack up your stuff, your help is no longer needed. The only thing the village needs to do is pay for the moving expenses in to Oak Park and if it doesn't work out, pay the expenses out of Oak Park.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: June 1st, 2012 3:15 PM

Ray Johnson from Oak Park, thank you for taking note of what the condition has been on South blvd. for several years and not that you have responded about it, it is in your control to try and get it fixed. Mark your calendar when you contact Jim, and then write down the excuses you get.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: June 1st, 2012 3:14 PM

Jim - I'm fond of him? Is that why you think I wrote the post? I am not the only person who has brought up the question of the circumstance surrounding his removal. I call it a removal because the village paid $150,000 in a buyout. The issue is transparency and fiscal responsibility, not personalities.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: June 1st, 2012 3:11 PM

Thanks Ray, but the generous offer of more time was not offered at Monday's. The agenda stated that taxpayers could talk for 3 minutes with a total limit of 30 minutes. That is 10 people would get an opportunity to speak. There was no mention of a two hour meeting on the agenda or any of the meeting announcement materials that I saw. On May 21, I was one of three people who wished to use the three minutes allotted by the board for public comments. The first two people used 15 minutes. My written comments exceeded three minutes and I was immediately cut off by the Board President. No one asked how much more I had it my statement (about 30 seconds), and no board member suggested that I be allowed to finish the statement. I will believe that the board is generous with the comment speakers when I see it.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: June 1st, 2012 3:04 PM

John, there are unanswered questions why Tom Barwin's contract was not extended but I wonder if the board may have simply lost confidence in his ability carry out their directives and questioned his adminstrative skills. You recall that Barwin was not able to offer much of an explanation or provide even basic details to justify his ill fated plan to skim 10% off the top of the electric supplier savings. The PeopleSoft fiasco, his poorly researched proposal for a Lake Street trolley system, the issue of unpaid property taxes on the house he rented, and several other missteps did not demonstrate that Barwin was capable of being an effective executive. At times, he seemed unprepared to respond to board inquiries or meet deadlines. I know you are fond of him and agree that the Village board should share some of the blame for the way things worked out.

Ray Johnson from Oak Park  

Posted: June 1st, 2012 2:40 PM

@ John Murtagh: For future reference, we can suspend our rules related to the limitation on public comment and had you asked to speak last night, I would have gladly recommended we allow more than 3 minutes. With only 2 members of the public in the hall and a meeting scheduled to go from 7-9pm, additional time could have been alotted. As for the parking lot concerns, residents can forward issues like these to publicworks@oak-park.us. I'm happy to advise DPW of this particular concern.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: June 1st, 2012 1:42 PM

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois, what you are saying is that we should remove the board and village manager and let the citizens run Oak Park. Why not get rid of people in charge if they are not doing a good job. The parking lot and side walk on South blvd., across from the Marion Street L entrance is a ghetto and no one at the village will fix it. Instead of taking on the entire process, try to get just a parking lot fixed.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: June 1st, 2012 1:27 PM

Transparency - VM Barwin resigned in February, at the beginning of the fiscal year. To get his resignation, the board gave him a $150,000 buyout. That buyout led to the hiring of an interim VM at a cost of an estimated $100,000, and a VM search cost of about $25,000. And the public knows little about what happened behind close doors. One thing is certain, VM Barwin did not want to retire. He wanted to continue working in OP. Where's the Transparency that the candidates in 2010 touted. The search for a new VM is showing the same lack of transparency. Residents are given 3 min. to tell the board what characteristics they want. The village leaders (elected officials, business leaders, and selected citizens) are interviewed individually regarding VM characteristics over three days. Who (names) are the people being interviewed individually? How and why were they chosen? Selecting a VM is the most important decision a board makes. It should have transparency.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: June 1st, 2012 12:31 PM

Kyle, glad you know what parking lot and sidewalk that is looks like a ghetto in Oak Park. It's obvious building and property inspectors are told not to site the village. Why are they allowed to get away with fixing the property and allowed to fine property owners. It's time the village fixes up their own property and setting the example for property owners. W.J. must not think doing a story on it is worthwhile or are told to leave it alone.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: June 1st, 2012 12:27 PM

Jim Coughlin, Kyle has a good approach. Choices by village residents could be done on the computer and each of the selected candidates could do a 3 minute video on why they think they would be good for Oak Park.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: June 1st, 2012 11:37 AM

Q, it's really been a hit or miss process involved in hiring a village manager for Oak Park. We've been fortunate to have some outstanding and professional adminstrators lead the Village but also have had to deal with a few characters who were not up to the job or used the position to engage in some rather questionable activities. Regarding the current search, I do have confidence that the firm hired to oversee the recruitment will be able to present some qualified candidates for consideration but do wish that there had been a sincere effort to fully engage residents and property owners. The trustees just don't seem interested in that approach.


Posted: June 1st, 2012 9:09 AM

Q & John, I think the process should be the other way around, IMO...I'd like to see the Board narrow a list down to, say, 3-5 potential VM then turn the decision over to residents as to which one seems best. If residents didn't agree w/any of the 5 perhaps a "no confidence" option could be on the table which would send them back to the search. And BTW, that sidewalk/parking lot is bad. But, frankly, I think the "new" other side is just as ridiculous as a flat, open expanse of blacktop.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: May 31st, 2012 11:35 PM

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois, that was a lot of work to get people together and then start adding up what is important and getting it to a point to agree on. I think the village manager hiring is best left up to a competent board who know what the villager manager is suppose to be able to do. Of course you first need to get a competent board with a president, because this group can't get anything done that is beneficial for Oak Park.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: May 31st, 2012 11:32 PM

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois, go on South Blvd., and check out the parking lot across the street from the Marion street L entrance. You will find that the railroad ties and concrete is crumbling and is a safety problem for people walking on the sidewalk. The village has not fixed that and it has been like that for a few years. 5 million for Marion street and now the killing of Pigeons is what they are interested in.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: May 31st, 2012 11:12 PM

Q - I don't know anything about the parking situation on Marion.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: May 31st, 2012 11:10 PM

Q - In an earlier life I participated as a resident in two school superintendent hirings. The process was bringing residents and parents together to complete a survey about what their expectations were in a new superintendent. The next step was for those participants tor form in small groups and bring the consensus lists to a reasonable amount. The results were presented to the board including a two way Q&A session in which the board and the group could ask and answer questions of each other. When that was completed, the board and consultant prepared a profile of the characteristics that best serve the community That is vastly different than giving unprepared residents three minutes to express their viewpoint.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: May 31st, 2012 10:56 PM

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois, I don't like had the board and Pope spend money, but when it comes to deciding who the villager manager will be really can't be something that citizens show up and say yes or no and undecided. There would never be a village manager hired, but if you want to change the hiring to voting in a village manager, then that's a possibility. John, do you know if the village will ever correct the condition the village parking lot across from Marion st. "L".

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: May 31st, 2012 8:34 PM

New Village Manager Community Input for the village board was held tonight. Two residents attended the twenty minute meeting. The low turnout will be blamed on the WJ for being late getting the message out, despite the fact that the agenda for the meeting was published last Friday and there were ample posting about the meeting on WJ Comments. The weather was lousy and that is always a good excuse. I had decided not to attend the meeting due to the 3-minute rule for residents. The 3-minute game is always demeaning and there are little or no replies from the board. I had also decided not to even go to the meeting. But I did. The recruiting consultant opened with high praise for our fine village, and explained the recruitment process. Pres. Pope then asked if anyone (of two) wished to speak. Both persons declined. My reason for not speaking was the preamble that Pres Pope on the 3 day tour that the consultant was making. During the tour, he would be interviewing the board members individually, members of the staff, the school district leaders, other taxing bodies, business people (public or non-public),and non-titled individuals selected by Pres. Pope. It was then that I was certain that I would not do the frantic three minutes at the podium while the board members watched to see that I did not exceed 180 seconds. It would be a waste of time. The board will choose a VM privately, just as the last VM was dispatched privately. That's the way things work in OP.

Dan Haley from Wednesday Journal  

Posted: May 31st, 2012 10:08 AM

Tonight's public meeting on the manager search was part of our story on the search process in the May 23 issue of the paper. Didn't make it into print this week and should have.

Ray Johnson from Oak Park  

Posted: May 31st, 2012 9:50 AM

I should have added, anyone not able to attend tonight's meeting can simply email comments to the full board via board@oak-park.us. Thanks

Ray Johnson from Oak Park  

Posted: May 31st, 2012 9:48 AM

@ Taxpayer Jeff: We made a public announcement of the May 31st meeting at our last regular board meeting on May 21, followed by communications from the Village to those signed-up for e-news. You are correct in noting that I too don't recall the local papers placing this item in the newspaper last week.

Taxpayer Jeff from Oak Park  

Posted: May 31st, 2012 8:51 AM

After all of the effort that went into selecting a search firm, you would think they would give people more than days notice about an important stakeholder forum.

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