An optimistic welcome to Brady

Opinion

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RAY JOHNSON, One View

On or about Tuesday June 28, President Pope forwarded the name of Elizabeth Brady to the village board for consideration as a trustee appointment.

Since Mr. Pope was elected president in the middle of his 4-year term as trustee, his recommendation for this appointment moving forward is to fill the remainder of his term.

It is important to note that the board has agreed to act on this recommendation less than a week after David's announcement to us and I believe we all want to move forward expeditiously and we trust David has completed due diligence with regard to anyone who applied.

We would be remiss not to acknowledge the great many people who expressed interest in the appointment and I must personally acknowledge several highly qualified individuals who talked to me directly about the job of a trustee.

I encourage those who expressed interest in the appointment remain engaged and consider running in two years.

With some reservation, I have decided to move forward with David's recommendation. Let me be clear that my reservation is about the process?#34;and not the person.

As I said during the recent campaign, the appointment process itself poses serious challenges in part because the normal vetting process a candidate would go through isn't an option for us.

Furthermore, the selection of an elected official by the citizens of Oak Park isn't part of the equation.

What we do have is elected officials' selecting a colleague and the citizens' representative and it is my hope our board moves forward with a unanimous vote on this appointment. I believe a unanimous appointment strengthens our partnership as a board and is a sign to our new potential colleague, Elizabeth Brady?#34;that we are above divisiveness or politics and that we are willing and able to work together as a team.

Not knowing Ms. Brady before David's recommendation, I had the opportunity to speak with her directly and it is important for the citizens to know my approach on this important decision.

I did not approach my interview with a list of issues and make a decision based on whether or not Ms. Brady agreed with me. I already know that we will disagree respectfully on some issues and agree on many others. What I did was carefully listen to what Ms. Brady had to say.

In Ms. Brady's own words, she respects diversity of thought, the ability to disagree without being disagreeable, is fiscally prudent and has a real willingness to listen and learn. I share those values with Ms. Brady and those values will continue to serve our community well.

In learning more about Ms. Brady, it is clearly evident to me that she has a good deal of respect for our form of government?#34;a Village Manager form of government that has allowed our community to prosper for over 50 years.

I believe Ms. Brady shares my vision to retain and attract high quality staff, which is one of the cornerstones in our governance model.

We can create the most innovative programs in the world, but if we don't continue to retain and attract exceptional staff, the implementation of those policies will not be as successful as we might hope.

My yes vote?#34;quite simply?#34;allows us to move forward. A protracted debate on the appointment does not serve the community well. As we seek to meet urgent challenges, a state of paralysis can not exist.

As I have recently noted in both voicemail and memo to my current colleagues, we are seriously behind.

We have goal setting, board protocols, business expansion/retention opportunities, the 2006 budget, park district partnerships to resolve, and much, much more on our plate. This appointment allows us to move forward on these and other pressing matters.

I also believe we must strive to be proponents of transformation so we may continue to build our pyramid of progress?#34;or we will stagnate while other communities move ahead. I believe this appointment will reinvigorate us by keeping our energy level high and our work ethic strong as we seek to optimize opportunity.

A self-confident vision for Oak Park and a belief in this appointment allows for continued optimism within our community. This optimistic vision, one I've held as a personal value my entire life, allows us to learn from our past while always looking forward.

Ms. Brady, I welcome you to this board and pledge to continue building partnerships and fostering teamwork with you and my fellow colleagues.

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