River Forest township, village agree to meet

Administrative collaboration on table

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By Deb Kadin

Contributing reporter

Village and township officials could soon sit down to discuss how they may be able to collaborate on administrative and related issues. 

A meeting, which could take place sometime early this summer, may be the first time village and township elected officials will address the issue of collaboration in a public setting.

The session, set for June 16, will have to be postponed because of scheduling conflicts on the part of township officials, Village President Catherine Adduci said. No other date has been set.

It also would be the first time that officials would be speaking on a specific set of issues that, if considered, could lower the cost of government. The end result of discussions could be that Village Administrator Eric Palm and Township Supervisor Carla Sloan would take the results of these discussions and work toward a plan that they could begin implementing, Adduci said.

Excluded from discussion will be programs and services administered by the township or done in conjunction with Oak Park Township, said Adduci, who sent a letter to Sloan requesting the meeting.

Sloan, in an email, said she was pleased that social and other non-duplicative services would be off the table. "We are pleased that the village has taken us up on the idea of a joint meeting. This reflects great progress in communication and cooperation between our units of government," she said.

This session would be a follow up to Adduci's state of the village address, in which she urged a continuation of discussions between Palm and Sloan.

"With HB4425, Rep. Chris Welch's legislation on hold, and your most recent efforts to inform and educate our residents on township services, I believe this will be an opportune time for us to sit down and figure out how we can work together," Adduci said.

If talks take place, they would center on three topics:

  1. Merging functions including legal, audit, and human resources, among others.
  2. Moving township offices from the civic center authority building on Madison Street to village hall, allowing for better accessibility and information for residents, Adduci said.
  3. Broadening the scope of township senior, youth and mental health committees to look at their issues village-wide rather than just at concerns related to township's programs and services. Ideas generated by the committee may be passed on to the Council of Governments to put them into effect. The COG consists of officials from River Forest units of government and other entities who discuss village-related concerns. The sessions are closed to the public.

River Forest Trustee Susan Conti said the meeting would set out what the village had been purporting all along. "The village's contention has been that not only by collaboration with the township could we save money by adding efficiencies, but also that we can enhance services to the residents as well. Rather than operating in two separate silos, we can coordinate into a system that will be more beneficial to all the residents in town," Conti said.

Sloan said that "the absence of elimination discussions at this time offers hopes that we can enjoy a genuine collaboration with the village wherever possible. The township looks forward to conversations with the village regarding how our two organizations can continue to work together to serve our community."

What might have complicated efforts toward discussions recently was the introduction of HB 4425, which if it was approved in the General Assembly, would have allowed voters to decide by referendum whether all township services should be transferred to, and performed by, the village. The bill was introduced in January; Adduci was a strong supporter of the measure.

But shared efforts were frosty even before then – and afterward as well. In 2012, Palm, at the behest of then-Village President John Rigas, brought a proposal on consolidating services to the township board. Those talks fizzled before they even started. Adduci supported Rigas' move.

Just this past January, a discussion about the bill between Welch and village and township officials was unproductive.

This year, Palm and Sloan talked for about 90 minutes this winter; discussions also were unproductive. In late February, rather than take the township up on its offer to meet, the village board endorsed further talks between Palm and Sloan, feeling they might prove more productive. No talks were ever re-scheduled.

An attempt to bring the merger idea into a public arena was shot down in May when Trustee Tom Cargie broached it during a special township meeting. Sloan, at the time, told Cargie that she did not think that meeting was the appropriate place to discuss it.

Reader Comments

19 Comments - Add Your Comment

Comment Policy

RF Acheivement  

Posted: June 14th, 2014 6:04 AM

Ms. Sloan -- on behalf of all RF residents -- which are your voters and bosses, we all look forward for you to sit down with the village. We are waiting --

Molly Hague from River forest  

Posted: June 10th, 2014 9:01 AM

The employment contract for the RFCCA Building manager is with the Township. The annual salary is $ 67,700.00 with 5 weeks vacation and 10 sick/personal days. And upon termination 8 weeks severance, if it is not "For Cause." Just the facts

Bemused Citizen from River Forest  

Posted: June 9th, 2014 11:53 PM

RFAdvocate - Given the opacity of the township's governance, I can understand your confusion but you should know that the township has been paying Chapelle's salary and benefits since 2000 despite his ghost payrolling. The more you know....

Oh My from River Forest  

Posted: June 9th, 2014 2:03 PM

Oh My, this is getting complicated. For a government that is 1% of our tax $ why is this a mystery and more importantly why is there such confusion. My guess is where there is confusion, there is something that might not be right.

Molly Hague from River Forest  

Posted: June 9th, 2014 1:52 PM

RF Advocate - you are just wrong. If you look at the budget the Township has drafted he has a salary of about $67,000.00 annually. The Community Center pays the township to cover his pension in IMRF, which I'm not sure is even legal - any lawyers want to explain this?

RFAdvocate  

Posted: June 9th, 2014 8:57 AM

Dear Bemused Citizen and anyone else confused by Mr. Chappelle's role in this. Mr. Chappelle is not a township employee but a River Forest Community Center employee. He is payed not through tax dollars but through grants and the money earned by the RFCC (which is also a not for profit) through the programs they run.

Term Limits from River Forest  

Posted: June 8th, 2014 8:16 AM

I think Romeo, Krawczyk, has been on the TS Board too long. Mr Dwyer, watching him at the Village Board table and at the Special Meeting of the TS is simply following someone's lead and is getting roped into the politics of the TS. We were hoping he would be the future not the past...10 to 15 yrs to study the TS issues sounds so old and in the past thinking. I voted for Dwyer bc you were supposed to represent us younger folk, what happened?

Walter  

Posted: June 8th, 2014 8:04 AM

All I said is that I hope they meet, our town could use more senior services. Towns like Evanston just made it happen, it seems to me our town can do the same. Whether it is one date or 3 dates, that does not matter. What matters is that both bodies does what is best for our beautiful town and meet and begin to offer more services.

Rocky Motives  

Posted: June 8th, 2014 6:37 AM

Why is the TS being directed in the background by Mr. Deady -- who is the TS attorney ($$$), He is mapping out the wants and egos of Ms. Krawczyk, Ms. Romeo & Mr. Chappelle ($$$). At what point will the TS trustees represent all RF constituents & not their own turf? Not to hard to agree to a date - Did the two Staff executives from TS & Village agree & float the date - lets not blame the Village? Who is trying to hide, feels like shady things going on? Answers are Needed - leave egos home.

Paying Attention from River Forest  

Posted: June 7th, 2014 10:16 PM

@Walter: Why assume the Township is the problem ? As I read it, the RF Village offered 1 date to meet, less than 2 weeks prior. Why not offer several dates, or provide more notice? Cargie and Romeo are too "emotional" - they both need to stay home from a meeting, or it wont't be productive. Everyone, let's think about what's best for RF.

Walter  

Posted: June 7th, 2014 3:34 PM

I am a senior and I do not know why the Township will not talk to the Village. We could use more services for seniors in RF and it would make a lot of sense if the two bodies get together. I think they will.

Bob Ru from River Forest  

Posted: June 7th, 2014 1:50 PM

The May 13th meeting, regardless of how Ms. Kadin wished to write about it, was not called to talk about collaboration between the Township and the Village. That was a Cargi ambush attempt. The notice of the meeting, posted 2 weeks earlier, said: "The informational session is being called to enhance residents' understanding of the township and the services it funds and directs." http://oakpark.patch.com/groups/announcements/p/river-forest-township-invites-community-to-may-13th-special-meeting

Concerned Citizen from River Forest  

Posted: June 7th, 2014 11:36 AM

@Mr. Ru, not sure you read the article, but the Village Board tried to work with the Township when the Township called the meeting on May 13 and the Village Board was told not to talk about collaboration. Now, you want to blame the reporter. The Township is a mess, it is time to clean it up!

Bob Ru from River Forest  

Posted: June 7th, 2014 8:56 AM

C. Citizen, the Township formally invited the Village to a joint Board meeting back in February. At the Village meeting at the end of Feb, Aducci wouldn't even entertain the idea, and directed Palm and Sloane to meet instead. Now four months later, Cathy throws out one date, (not two or three), rather than accept the Towship's initial invite, so she can have Ms. Kadin twist another story that the Township is refusing to sit down. Gotta milk this when you get paid by the story in a sleepy town.

Concerned Citizen from River Forest  

Posted: June 7th, 2014 8:04 AM

Once again the Township has scheduling conflicts. Why does the Township continue to avoid sitting down and talking about saving money for us? What are they hiding? Or, are they worried that someone or something might be exposed? As residents this might be the last straw, and we should take this Township mess into our own hands. Any thoughts?

Bemused Citizen from River Forest  

Posted: June 6th, 2014 4:54 PM

It's funny how Concerned Citizen mentioned the Township's 3 part time employees but neglected to mention Dick Chappelle, the Township employee who is paid full time but only works part time.

RF Achievement  

Posted: June 6th, 2014 7:11 AM

Ms Sloan and Ms. Adducci -- thank you both for finally acting of behalf of all RF residents and simply sitting down. Now -- PLEASE ensure that you will talk with all of your respective Trustees to ensure a civil and yet Productive meeting tackling head on the HOW to combine services -- and get on with what RF Needs and so sorely deserves. RF is a Great Village -- lets make it even BETTER.

Concerened Citizen from River Forest  

Posted: June 5th, 2014 11:04 PM

The Township has always been sensible. The village wants to close them down and have the park district take over their building and the Community Center. The Township's 3 paid personal work full time and get paid part-time.If the village has personal sitting around doing nothing they should be let go and save us tax-payers some money.

Finally from River Forest  

Posted: June 5th, 2014 10:27 PM

Finally, I do hope the Township comes to their senses and will talk with the Village. This will be a good thing for our town. Make it happen, please.

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