Low turnout as Oak Park seeks public input on manager search

Two residents in attendance don't share views


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By Anna Lothson

Staff Reporter

The Oak Park village board shifted its role Thursday at a special meeting held solely to allow the public to share thoughts on the process and prospective type of candidate needed as the next village manager

But with only two residents in the audience, neither of whom spoke, the meeting wrapped up in 20 minutes.

Village President David Pope encouraged those interested in sharing ideas do so through email at board@oak-park.us. Pope also encouraged emailing Frank Spataro, human resources director, at spataro@oak-park.us.

The sparse turnout didn't discourage Trustee Bob Tucker, who said he thinks it's difficult for people to comment on the issue without much context to react from.

"I do think it's hard for people this early in the process to know what's going on," Tucker said. "I don't think [the turnout] is an indication of the process."

He said he's received a handful of comments about the process via email, which he thinks is likely becoming the preferred method of sharing. He remains optimistic about the process.

"I think everyone is working to move forward as quickly as possible," Tucker said.

Robert Slavin, president of Slavin Management Consultants, attended to provide a brief summary and answer any questions. He spent the last few days in Oak Park executing the first steps of the process. The board will possibly have a draft proposal of what it wants to see in the search by the June 18 meeting to present to the public and the search firm.

Slavin said he'd soon be speaking with board members individually, village staff and stakeholders in the community — businesses, nonprofits and other governing bodies. His technique moving forward will be centered on following the roadmap the board and those groups provide, he said.

"We are going to adhere to [the criteria] religiously," he said.

Slavin said Oak Park was "real easy to sell," and said his firm will be using a combination of networking, advertisement, their databases and word-of-mouth to recruit the best candidates.

Email: anna@oakpark.com Twitter: @AnnaLothson

Reader Comments

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Comment Policy


Posted: June 5th, 2012 9:39 PM

One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.

OP Resident # 545 from Oak Park  

Posted: June 4th, 2012 11:07 AM

It's true. Tom Barwin is one of the four finalists for the Waukesha WI (pop 70000) City Administrator. All four had run cities smaller than Waukesha, but Barwin had by far managed the largest. Best of luck, Tom. It would be great for you to get that job, especially since you're such a big supporter of Gov Walker. I wish you both were in Illinois!

Diversity and Reality from Oak Park  

Posted: June 4th, 2012 10:33 AM


T.J. from Oak Park  

Posted: June 2nd, 2012 10:55 AM

Dear Tustees: When you do eventually make a contract offer please do one thing. Come up with a salary offer and then multiply it by 80%. In these difficult economic times I'm certain you can don't have to pay a premium to get who you want. Please for once don't overpay. Thank you and have a nice day.


Posted: June 2nd, 2012 9:07 AM

I suppose running a company by what the majority of its workers' wants/desires might make that company go bankrupt! Every so often, the workers might have desires and likes that will make the company a dollar-which in the long run WINS..Do whats right...... not always popular.

I'm not wastin'time no more  

Posted: June 2nd, 2012 8:34 AM

No one showed up because it is a pointless exercise. The board will look disinterested as they pretend to take the pulse of the people, and then they will choose some one they feel will do their bidding. The village manager is supposed to run the village and not be micro managed by the board. If the board wants the power lets quit wasting money on a manager and elect a mayor. What a waste of time.


Posted: June 1st, 2012 11:18 PM

@Ms. O'Shea. This has been the M.O. of local boards since I've been around. Yes, they preach "open-ness" and "community involvement," but that's only lip service and they circle the wagons with both indifference and omnipotence every time. I think that they generally mean well, but somehow it just never works out that way. And then they have their sycophants and court jesters like Silly and others - who take idolatry and slavishness to a new level!

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: June 1st, 2012 10:27 PM

Silly, is your multiple personality disorder flaring up again? As to showing up, after the interfaith dog and pony show where my direct questions about information sharing went unanswered I'm not interested. Not wasting my time with the smoke and mirrors put up by board leadership. Talk to me once they're out and I believe it's worth my limited time.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: June 1st, 2012 10:25 PM

That's little more like it, Harold. The final decision on hiring is the responsibility of the trustees but since the recruitment firm has already promised to seek input from a small but select group of citizens why not open up the process to include more residents and property owners? I hope you continue to participate in the discourse and realize that there are lots of people, including non-residents, who post on this forum. Check out the discourse when guns, religion,schools or politics is the hot topic.


Posted: June 1st, 2012 9:51 PM

Is it true that Barwin is a finalist for the Waukesha WI job?!?!?


Posted: June 1st, 2012 9:48 PM

Ha Ha Ha ha


Posted: June 1st, 2012 9:18 PM

This is hilarious. So many WJ blowhards, so little inclination to actually show up and have their voices heard.


Posted: June 1st, 2012 5:38 PM

Of course there's a low turnout. A few people on here rant and make it seem like everyone needs to be heard when in fact it's the same 5 people. Dooper is right, trustees are elected and given the responsibility; let them do their jobs or run yourself to do it.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: June 1st, 2012 3:36 PM

Kyle, I would endorse a online chat with the trustees that would allow a free and open exchange of ideas and opinions. It might be difficult and distracting to attempt during meetings when the board is engaged in business matters but would be a great benefit if we could count on it on regular basis. The public comment portion of the board meetings should continue but a chat forum would help to encourage citizen involvement.


Posted: June 1st, 2012 3:08 PM

Is there a chat function in the live-streaming of Board meetings? If e-mail seems to be a popular method of public comment, perhaps the ability to engage Trustees during the broadcast would be a great addition. (Or if it already exists, it needs to be advertised more.)

Dooper 58 from Oak Park  

Posted: June 1st, 2012 2:44 PM

The low turnout is fine. The trustees are elected to make decisions on our behalf, and this is one of them (albiet probably the most important). If the public delegates this responsibility solely to the trustees, then they also abdicate the right to complain about the choice after the fact, though that won't stop some people. Best of luck with the search, I know you will follow the process & hire the best candidate possible.

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