New Leadership Coalition members are certainly pleased with recent election results, but in many ways, they never quite expected to be so successful, said group member Julie Samuels.
Now, with the campaigning over, the group is looking at its role in village politics, including its future relationship with the trustees it helped elect.
NLC members say they are certain the group will be more "hands on" than the Village Manager Association (VMA). With the exception of the Gay Registry, the VMA has not, as a group, taken positions on particular issues facing the village board, said VMA president Gene Armstrong.
"One of the strengths of the VMA is that we bring together diverse groups. We are unlikely to be of one mind on any particular issue," he explained. "In the past we've taken the position that it is counter-productive because it would be divisive and time-consuming." Armstrong added that, taking strong positions may discourage some from participating in the organization's slating process.
That is one policy, among others, the VMA is currently re-evaluating, Armstrong said, but the group has not reached any final decisions on how the organization may evolve.
Meanwhile, one option the NLC is considering is "monitoring" the board, or regularly sending a group member to board meetings who would then keep the whole group apprised of village activities.
"We're going to the meetings to see how issues are being addressed, how effectively they're being run," Samuels said. "One of our platform goals was that some work should be directed to committees and commissions so the board doesn't have to do it."
Samuels emphasized that the group is "not telling them what to do," but said the NLC "will be there, to make sure trustees understand all issues and initiate action, and enable trustees to move forward on an issue."
If, for instance, an observer noted that meetings were continuing to be long, Samuels said a member of the group may contact a trustee about the issue. She also said the organization would offer assistance in researching issues.
NLC member Brian Farrar said he wasn't certain the "verb 'monitor' was correct."
"I don't think we're into that level of nuts and bolts. We have to pay attention to what the board does at meetings. I wouldn't be surprised if people who are involved with the NLC are attending meetings, just like anybody else," he said. "The concept that we will have people being stewards of the meeting, I don't think anybody's said that."
Farrar did say, however, that the NLC will be "arguing for a point of view."
"We were working to put candidates in place that had a specific point of view, embodied in the platform," he said. "Does that mean there's some sort of acid test for allegiance to the platform? No."
Trustee Robert Milstein, who was slated by the NLC as a candidate for village president, said he supports the organization attending meetings and remaining involved.
"I think what the VMA didn't want, and what we don't want, is some kind of litmus test. [The NLC] knows we're the policy makers. But you can't just elect four people, close up shop, and disappear, after working passionately on these issues," he said.
Trustee Geoff Baker, who was slated by by the group. said he welcomes anyone attending meetings, no matter what organization they may be with.
"I've had limited contact with the coalition since the election. Obviously, these people shared a citizen platform that I and two other people ran on. I think their motivation is transparent," he said, adding that input from NLC members wouldn't carry more weight with him than input from anyone else.
"I take input from everybody that talks to me, whether it's [VMA member] Bob Kane or Julie Samuels," he said.