Oak Park: Commission appointments tabled

Appointment of Garret Eakin to Plan Commission stalls approvals

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By Timothy Inklebarger

Staff Reporter

Village trustees went head-to-head with President Anan Abu-Taleb at Monday's village board meeting over appointing local architect Garret Eakin to the Plan Commission.

Eakin, who writes a monthly architecture column for Wednesday Journal, was never mentioned by name at the board meeting, but trustees disagreed with Abu-Taleb, who stepped out of the traditional process by putting Eakin up for appointment to the commission that oversees building development in the village. 

Although a slate of seven appointments were up for consideration at the meeting, Trustee Glenn Brewer requested that they be considered separately because one of the appointees, Eakin, had not gone through the vetting process with the Citizen Involvement Commission (CIC). 

The process requires all potential appointees to attend at least one meeting of the commission they plan to serve on and have a meeting with the chair and liaison of the commission, said Jim Kelly, chair of the CIC, in a telephone interview.

"My question involves the appointment process, and we have had a process whereby every individual who has been appointed to a commission went through a process, and there is a name here who did not go through the process," Brewer said at the village board meeting. "Now we're changing the process for one person, and I think that should be separated out. …

"Our rules, approved earlier this year, said everyone appointed to a commission would go through that process."

Abu-Taleb objected to considering the appointments separately, although other trustees on the board said all candidates should be required to go through the same process.

"I'm not going to sit here and argue about all of these things," Abu-Taleb said. "It's my appointments and you either approve them or you don't. If you want to table it for the next time, then I'm OK with that."

With that, all seven appointments were held. Other appointments include Anjanique Barber to the Board of Health, Frank Pond to the Citizen Involvement Commission, Helen V. Kossler to the Disability Access Commission, Michael O'Rourke to the Environment and Energy Commission, and George Bailey and Ava Bjornson to the Public Art Advisory Commission.  

Brewer, who serves as trustee liaison to the CIC, said after the meeting that he was informed by Kelly that Eakin had not gone through the CIC vetting process.

Kelly told Wednesday Journal that the CIC oversees the vetting of 18 boards and commissions, comprising 154 members. 

He said candidates are always vetted to make sure they are capable of the responsibilities, serious about the position and have a clear understanding of the issues. 

"I've been on the CIC for eight years and [a candidate not being vetted has] never happened before," he said.

Eakin recently made headlines in Wednesday Journal after publicly opposing the design of a condo real estate development at the corner of Chicago and Maple. 

The CIC did meet with Eakin about his interest in the post, but Eakin noted that he had not attended a full meeting of the Plan Commission and has not yet been interviewed by the chair of the commission or the staff liaison, said Kelly, noting that the Plan Commission meets the first Thursday of every month, so early August would be Eakin's next opportunity to be considered.

Contact:
Email: tim@oakpark.com

Reader Comments

103 Comments - Add Your Comment

Comment Policy

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: July 11th, 2014 7:52 PM

To Close Match "....how about the proposed $41.5M in borrowing with just 4 comments to date. During the last election, I recall candidate Anan raising serious concerns about VOP debt levels....just sayin.'" I was an Anan supporter last year and remain one this year, though it is a bit harder to swallow. I liked Pete's a lot before the company decided to blackmail the village. Even though OP gained some short term revenue, I think the board sent a bad message to the other developers waiting for edges. It could hurt in the long term. Developers and corporate expanders are sharks. I only think of debt in total. The new debt would take the village total to $150M or $3,000 for every person in the village. All of the debt has piled up in the last 15 years or so. It would take years to knock down the current $100M debt. The choice OP faces is prolonged stagnation or growth. Looking back, the failure from 1990 to 2013 was ignorance. It was dreamers who did not have the skills to win the battle with the sharks. The biggest problems in OP were the government's confidence in its inherent knowledge of management, an inborn instinct for crafty planning, and a financial cleverness that matches Trump. They clustered with each other in their fiefdom and said "We are doing great!" Anan has shown leadership, entrepreneurship, negotiating skills, and grasp of people and business. Instinctively, he appears to be someone OP can trust to move a growth agenda forward. On the other side, running restaurants is vastly different than running a government, even a small one. What was missing during the days of the TIFs was accountability to the OP investors ?" the property owners. The only way I would consider a growth agenda would be the formation of an independent oversight of all OP financial activities. The oversight would be a group of professionals with the sole objective of reporting on the "investment" and status of the investors risk.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: July 11th, 2014 5:54 PM

I want to thank the WJ Counterman for his diligence in keeping track of the string track. I am still in shock!!!! I never thought I could beat Bridget, in the number of posts on a single string category. I knew I would win on letters because Bridget does not have as much experience wasting people's time as I do. Bridgett is amazing. No one can post so professionally without getting nasty post for three days. She is the queen of posts! I also want to thank my mom and dad for letting me ramble on forever, Dan and Ken for being the sponsor and fans of WJ Comments, the board for providing a continuous supply of red meat, and the residents who have no idea Post Heaven exists. Finally,

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: July 11th, 2014 4:25 PM

"@JBM and BB..." We actually were dialoguing about that on a story that came out a week earlier. The four-comment story is a follow up story. Here's a link to the first story... http://www.oakpark.com/News/Articles/7-1-2014/With-streets-to-fix,-Oak-Park-considers-adding-debt/

JBM and BB in a close match from OP  

Posted: July 11th, 2014 4:14 PM

At the 100 comment point, JBM remains in the lead with 22 comments posted here, while BB trails by just 3 with 19 for a total of 41 out of 100 between these two. Way to Go!! Now -- if people want to get involved in deeper issues, how about the proposed $41.5M in borrowing with just 4 comments to date. During the last election, I recall candidate Anan raising serious concerns about VOP debt levels....just sayin'

LTE, opinions and message boards  

Posted: July 11th, 2014 2:34 PM

JBM, love it, your strong opinions are based on Letters to the Editor and message boards!

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: July 11th, 2014 11:30 AM

Context - OK, LTE probably is Letter to the Editor, so the sentence is "JBM, just to be clear and fair, the "article" you are citing is a Letter to the Editor about another Letter to the Editor and was focused on the Planning Commission. Got the context! Now working on the relevance!

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: July 11th, 2014 10:33 AM

A reader might get context if he knew what LTE means.

Context from Oak Park  

Posted: July 11th, 2014 9:28 AM

JBM, just to be clear and fair, the "article" you are citing is a LTE about another LTE and was focused on the Planning Commission. I have no idea about the validity of the claims made in the online comment u mentioned, but since it was from 2009, the procedures of the CIC (and all citizen commissions) have been overhauled since then. When I went through the CIC process a few years ago, I found them to be a hard working group of volunteers just trying their best to fill a lot of open seats.

In Glen Ellyn formerly from Op  

Posted: July 11th, 2014 6:37 AM

Good to know that merely applying for a volunteer commision position doesn't qualify a candidate, and that interpersonal skills are necessarily recognized, perhaps to be inherently practical in an oversight role, even a volunteer one. Not everyone is really as qualified in real life as they are in their own minds. And thank goodness volunteers can't sue for back pay.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: July 10th, 2014 11:36 PM

@John, I wasn't following local government back then, so I didn't grasp the story itself, but I do remember reading some of the back-and-forth (168 comments) and being a bit surprised at the Trustee's comments. And I didn't know that there was a complaint filed a few days later. Looking at the thread now (with a little more context and awareness), it does fill in some blanks. So thank you.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: July 10th, 2014 10:29 PM

The CIC works hard and provides important results. It also has a wide range of contacts in the village and cannot avoid local politics. The story that follows is the downside of the CIC's political activities. STORY - A Wednesday Journal article titled "Stacked Oak Park Plan Commission?" appeared in the May 9, 2012 paper. An Oak Park resident and a Village Board Trustee both posted comments in the WJ Online Edition on the same day. The "resident" (a vocal Sertus Project opponent) posted that after his 2009 interviews with the CIC and Plan Commission Chairperson, he received a letter from the Village Clerk advising him that he was not qualified to sit on any commission in Oak Park. The "resident" had requested placement on three different commissions. The Village Board Trustee's post stated that the "resident" had not been recommended for a commission because of rude and disrespectful conduct unsuitable for a potential commissioner. The "resident" posted a denial of the trustee's allegation. On May 15, 2012, a "Letter of Complaint" was sent to the Chairperson of the CIC citing unfair or unequal treatment during the CIC deliberation of a candidate qualifications. On May 16, 2012, the CIC Chairperson replied without comments on the complaint. Instead, he said, "the residents'" account of events surrounding his application are wildly inaccurate, distorted and self-serving." The chairperson reply led to the complaint being brought to the village board. At the board meeting, three possible violations of village rules were presented, 1 ?" Conditions of Disqualification were invalid, 2 - The CIC must not filter candidates by the candidates' opinions on issues related to the commission system or by the candidates' membership in political organizations. 3 - Minutes of the open and close portions of the CIC's interviews with the "Resident" were not made available to the "resident" or me. XXX The board never respo

In Glen Ellyn formerly from OP  

Posted: July 10th, 2014 8:06 PM

It seems to me that the CIC doesn't even recommend, but simply reports whether a potential appointee has been vetted or not, as in the real life example in the article. Nobody complained that Eakin wasn't anything but non-vetted, unlike all previous and other intended appointees. Merry Christmas!

In Glen Ellyn formerly from OP  

Posted: July 10th, 2014 7:58 PM

I may have quoted the entire article by now... anyway, in other words, again, the CIC vets, the president selects from vetted candidates for his appointees, the board votes. So what if the Pres. sends his guy to the CIC to be vetted. The board still votes. I'm starting to side with the Pres. for his fast track method, and so he got ahead of himself and made a hasty mistake; this debate has really not produced more than the original article reported.

In Glen Ellyn formerly from OP  

Posted: July 10th, 2014 7:51 PM

Ok, someone(s) is way overthinking the role of the CIC. See above article- "The (vetting) process requires all potential appointees to attend at least one meeting of the commission they plan to serve on and have a meeting with the chair and liaison of the commission, said Jim Kelly, chair of the CIC, in a telephone interview... He said candidates are always vetted to make sure they are capable of the responsibilities, serious about the position and have a clear understanding of the issues."

Joel S from Oak Park  

Posted: July 10th, 2014 5:09 PM

@Bridgett...to clarify, the CIC doesn't approve anything, they just recommend or not recommend anyone who applies. Then its up to the Pres to put on agenda and Board to vote. As @Brian noted, If you look at their minutes, you will see that everyone who goes through the whole process gets recommended. As their enabling language states, they try build awareness of the volunteer opportunities and then educate the candidates on whats available and whats involved in serving.

Brian from Oak Park  

Posted: July 10th, 2014 3:10 PM

Sorry for the typos. Fat thumbs. Point is, the Village President can appoint someone even if the CIC recommends against the appointment. You can judge for yourself why the President would try to get around a process that does not diminish his authority, it just creates a record that the commission charged with helping the process didn't think it was a good fit.

Brian from Oak Park  

Posted: July 10th, 2014 2:54 PM

(Cont'd) But there would be a record that the CIC recommended against, which I think is very rare. It would show in the mi urea which are posted online e. That could cause some Board members to ask questions about the appointment tme t, which is their perogstuve. But the CIC cannot keep anyone e off ant commission. Only the President or Board can do that .

Brian from Oak Park  

Posted: July 10th, 2014 2:49 PM

Since the appointment power rests with the Village President on advice and consent of the Board, all that would happen if the CIC recommended against a particular person for a particular board or commission is that the name would be sent to the President with that 're ommendstion. The President could then decide if he still wanted to appoint that person or not. If so, he could put that appointment tment on the agenda and the Board would vote. (Cont'd)

CIC candidates need Board Approval  

Posted: July 10th, 2014 2:12 PM

IDK, i am sure that's a question for the Village Clerk or CIC directly.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: July 10th, 2014 1:45 PM

@"CIC" But what about the flip-side? What if the CIC doesn't approve a candidate? Their name never gets brought before the Board. Correct?

CIC candidates need Board Approval  

Posted: July 10th, 2014 1:38 PM

If the Village Board and Village President thought there was an agenda going on with the CIC, they WOULDN'T approve a candidate. They are the gatekeepers not the volunteer CIC. The Village President and Board are the elected officials. You think the CIC has all this power, when all it is doing is making RECOMMENDATIONS to the Village President and Village Board.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: July 10th, 2014 1:29 PM

@"CIC candidates need Village Board Approval" And the only current way (that is acceptable to the Board, as evident by this Eakin appt) for a name to be brought to the President and to the Board for such approval is by way of the CIC. The CIC is the gatekeeper. It is in its best interest, and in the in the interest of all commissions, to operate above reproach. And a way of having the utmost integrity is to have another method of candidate selection for that particular commission.

CIC candidates need Village Board Approval  

Posted: July 10th, 2014 12:48 PM

Bridgette and JBM, Did you forget the CIC is approved by the Village President and Village Board?? Please note that this is a volunteer commission as well. The CIC dedicates their time and energy to helping other volunteers find volunteer work. Go visit a CIC meeting and then make an educated decision. It represents a diverse group of volunteers. Please don't make out the CIC to have a secret agenda. It's not the case at all.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: July 10th, 2014 12:15 PM

Your thoughts below capture perfectly the reform that is needed for commission selection. "There should be another way of choosing who is on the CIC. Otherwise, the whole commission thing becomes self-selective and loses its integrity."

In Glen Ellyn formerly from OP  

Posted: July 10th, 2014 11:28 AM

You got the point then. The start of this thread was a distraction, too, and it took you, me, and half dozen others to pursue the right questions to sort it out. While it was good to communicate, I'm not sure we all feel that much more enriched with knowledge. The Village President held up the 6 appointments because his 7th wasn't allowed to skip proper procedure. We still don't know why. How big of a deal is it, really? Maybe someone should have just asked him.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: July 10th, 2014 11:03 AM

@In Glen Ellyn, We're talking about lil ol' Oak Park. Comparing any of this to the US Presidency and the Federal Government is a distraction.

In Glen Ellyn formerly from OP  

Posted: July 10th, 2014 6:24 AM

Bridgett- with such an approval process, how quickly would onlookers notice some self-selectivity going on? With such a simple approval process, should we look out for something like the U.S. president attempting to side-step congress with recess appointments that the Supreme Court unanimously deemed unconstitutional or the president's repeated publicly declared intention of side-stepping congress by issuing an unprecedented (even in war time) abundance of executive orders. Probably not.

In Glen Ellyn formerly from OP  

Posted: July 10th, 2014 5:44 AM

Bridgett- it seems to me that at best, the CIC would vet and offer up appointee candidates for the village president to pick from and bring up for a vote of approval by the board, candidates the CIC may prefer. At worst, the CIC may choose not to vet and offer up appointee candidates for the same presidential recommendation and board approval process, potential candidates the CIC would not prefer to work with. If cronyism can creep into the CIC, what's the appointee removal process?

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 11:15 PM

Until I looked at the CIC minutes, that "Questions" directed me to, I was unaware of a certain part of the process. The CIC should not be involved in their own commission interviews. If the CIC is going to be responsible for the process of people getting recommended (or not) to the Board for *all* commissions, then there needs to be some accountability. There should be another way of choosing who is on the CIC. Otherwise, the whole commission thing becomes self-selective and loses its integrity.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 9:17 PM

Oak Parker- I mentioned that there had been improper handling of CIC appointment to cite that everything at the CIC has not been perfect. Am I going to give you details? No! As far as your suggestion for the selection process, everyone gets to express their opinions on OP Comments.

In Glen Ellyn formerly from OP  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 8:55 PM

to Neighbor- short answer? Probably.

In Glen Ellyn formerly from OP  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 8:27 PM

to Notsure- it was a pretty simple report about a very public event, one article very hard to screw up and after input from several commenters, I think the article has been thoroughly vetted!

Neighbor from Oak Park  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 7:44 PM

Glen Ellyn, I'm kinda curious. Since you are formerly from OP, what's your passionate interest in this item- and in many other issues about town? I see a voluminous amount of online postings from you too after a lot of WJ columns. Are you homesick?

Notsure@notsure.com from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 7:38 PM

@Glen Ellyn, this paper isn't known for confirming facts too thoroughly....wouldn't take it's reporting as bible truth.

In Glen Ellyn formerly from OP  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 7:27 PM

To JBM and the other posters, thank-you for your stimulating and enlightening input. I know more about Good Ol' Oak Park now. On this subject here, we can look forward to WJ's next report of the next meeting in August, if not before.

In Glen Ellyn formerly from OP  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 7:17 PM

To Oak Parker- no, you didn't just ask him for more. He's had his facts and conclusions wrong from the begining, from his very first post and onward, covering conspiracy theory and quoting outdated village ordinance, denying the reported and confirmed facts of the board meeting- I am almost convinced he works for Obama, er, I mean Abu-Taleb. 65 or so posts, and we have come full circle back to June's and Dave's posts, the 2nd and 3rd post on this thread, in response to JBM's post. Please no.

Oak Parker from Oak Park  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 6:53 PM

John - I am not aware of previous foul play, please elaborate. As for what Anan did, he ignored a process that he approved to put in place. I am not sure why, but his actions are not appropriate. If the spot was open, CIC should review candidates and give a recommendation. This is one way the community gives input, and it helps vet candidates for all board members. He probably could have requested a special CIC meeting if the position was unexpectedly available.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 5:57 PM

If you use quality as the determinant instead of volume, you have to vote for Bridget!

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 5:55 PM

Oak Parker - There are several commission that require technical skills or knowledge. The Plan Commission is one of those commission. I do not know how the review works but I am told that it is more extensive than others. I am aware of foul play in selections, but not during Anan's term.

JBM and BB from Oak Park  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 4:31 PM

"Loads of Posts" -- lets tally -- with 63 total posts in, 15 go to JBM and 14 go to BB for a total of 29. I'm not sure how representative this is for 'transparency'....

OP Res 253 from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 4:05 PM

@Oak Parker, no kidding, I put an application for Obama's State Dept long before Hillary resigned. Then--boom! He brought in that rich, male, buddy of his. It's like staff serves at the pleasure of the President and not the other way around. We democratically elect a president, and then he has the audacity to attempt to govern? I think we should form a committee to review the committee that supports the committees. But don't allow the board to directly appoint the committee....

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 4:04 PM

KSmith ?" Actually, I think transparency is showing its face. Big issue, loads of posts and discussion, and none of us are certain who to blame. Is Anan to blame because he did not publically explain why he chose not to follow the CIC Procedure Manual? Probably, he is ultimately responsible for what appears on the agenda and how. Does he have the right to appoint Eakin, without CIC approval? Unless the CIC Oak Park Procedural Manual for Boards, Commissions, and Committees has teeth that have not been shown, the CIC position is weak. Should they meet to resolve. That may not be feasible. If a stonewall forms, it will probably require removal. I doubt Anan would be removed. In the flurry of action is a risk that names of candidates might become revealed and candidates waiting will withdraw. Both need to be avoided at all cost.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 3:53 PM

@Questions, Looking at the minutes, the person you talk about, was up for the CIC (Citizen Involvement Commission). The commission that interviews candidates for all commissions. That's a pretty important commission, hence an appointment to it is significant. So I don't think this was a "random" candidate left off the Board agenda.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 3:40 PM

@Questions: Thanks.

Oak Parker from Oak Park  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 3:15 PM

@JBM - You are missing the point. I have volunteered on commissions and inquired specifically about the plan commission with the clerk's office months ago. No position available at the time. I was following the process approved by Anan. A position pops up an Anan hand picks someone. The Village President shouldn't have 2 different processes, 1 for everyone, except the people he likes, they just show up to the board meeting. I guess I should send my application to Anan, not the Oak Park Clerk

Questions  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 3:15 PM

Each commission has minutes posted on the Village website. Here is the CIC page: http://www.oak-park.us/your-government/citizen-commissions/citizen-involvement-commission

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 3:06 PM

@Questions, are the CIC minutes posted online? Is so, can you direct me to them? Thanks.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 3:04 PM

@Questions, Ah yes, I reread your comment. I don't know the person, nor which commission, nor have any idea why he wasn't appointed. I don't know if it was random. So I can't answer your question because I don't have enough information.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 3:00 PM

@In Glen Ellyn, While I appreciate Tim's reporting, I do not rely exclusively on the Wednesday Journal for the full story. I go to the meetings or watch them online, and/or read comments and fact-check them myself. Being married to a former journalist, I am aware of the limitations a news source faces, particularly in this day and age.

questions  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 2:36 PM

Bridgett, the random name off I was referring to was Frank Pond who was approved by CIC in May and not on the board agenda until July. Clearly Eakin is not random and is someone Anan wants on the Plan commission.

In Glen Ellyn formerly from OP  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 2:34 PM

Bridgett- the CIC does approve, insofar as the vetting process approves potential commission appointee candidates to be considered and picked by the Village President for submission to the full board to vote on. The WJ article has informed us the submitted an unvetted candidate and subsequently withheld his other 6 candidates until next month's meeting.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 2:32 PM

And thank you to the spelling and grammar police for your grace. :-)

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 2:27 PM

(...cont.) Forth, Am I okay with volunteers not going through the CIC process? Now that I see the upset of some people, I'm interested in exploring why the CIC is the *only* way to get on a commission. I think the commissions and the CIC are valuable to this community. However, when it's all said and done, it's our elected officials who are ultimately held accountable.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 2:27 PM

@Questions: First, While I don't know Eakin's work personally, I wouldn't call his appointment "random." Second, the Trustees could have moved to take the appointments individually, so I'm not sure why that didn't happen, and I'd ask them about it. Third, An appointment doesn't mean a person is automatically on the commission. The Board votes. So there needs to be three other "yes" votes. (cont...)

In Glen Ellyn formerly from OP  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 2:20 PM

Thanks to ksmith, questions, dystOPia, and others for the relevant research. Thanks to JBM for catching up- YES, the village pres. DOES have the authority (with the CIC vetting oversight and board approval) and responsibilty (to pick from vetted candidates and to recommend appntments to the trustees), which has the rest of us scratching our heads as to why he objected to submitting his other six appointees separately, regardless of his mistake in or intention to bypass the rules for the seventh.

Questions  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 2:11 PM

Bridgett, so you are ok with Anan leaving RANDOM CIC recommended volunteer candidates off the board agenda? And you are ok with him not voting student volunteers? And are you ok with Anan not having volunteers go through the CIC process?

Teresa Powell  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 1:52 PM

The Village Clerk's office receives applications for service on Village advisory boards and commissions. Information about each of the commissions, how to apply and a copy of the current procedure manual for Boards and Commissions drafted by the Village Attorney is available at www.oak-park.us/volunteer (right sidebar ). This was approved unanimously by the Village Board on December 2, 2013, as a guide for the role of the Village advisory boards.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 1:47 PM

@Questions, I think John's observation answers your question. The CIC doesn't "approve" anything. They make recommendations.

Questions  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 1:09 PM

JBM, Here's the thing. Our transparency is lost. The CIC has a clear set of fairly EASY steps for volunteering (approved by Anan!). When Anan leaves some candidates off the agenda when approved by the CIC, but then puts others on the agenda, it's confusing. THEN you have a candidate Eakin for Plan not approved by the CIC put on the agenda. All Eakin has to do is attend a meeting per Jim Kelly and talk with the chair about the work of the Plan commission. Is that hard for Anan to understand

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 12:55 PM

I don't know the details on this, but a lot of people are missing the point that the President has commission appointment authority and responsibility. Because the CIC recommends an approval does not compel a presidential appointment.

question  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 12:43 PM

DOES NOT mean names weren't left off the agenda (typo).

Questions  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 12:39 PM

Bridgett, This isn't true. Just because there are SOME names being approved at the board meeting, DOES NOT mean there were names left off the agenda. The CIC has approved candidates to be moved forward to board approval, and Anan has chosen not to put their name on the board agenda, but has handpicked others to be put on the agenda. I believe this is the case with Frank Pond. He was approved by the CIC on 5/07/14 (per CIC minutes). Anan has left off his name since May. Why would he do this

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 12:31 PM

DystOPia ?" I hate a lot of respect for you and therefore hate to disagree, but I am going to. Here's why. Your viewpoint is based on trust of the village board and staff. My viewpoint is based on documented information that is supported by law. Trust cannot override documented information when you are dealing with a fiefdom, and while the village government is trying to change, it is still a fiefdom.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 12:24 PM

@Questions: "It was said that Anan hasn't put on appointees on the agenda for months per the meeting." It doesn't look like this is accurate. Looking at the agendas and minutes for the last year, the last bunch of commission appointments were at the May 5th meeting, with the pattern being roughly once a month--twice a month in Oct and Sept of 2013, and none in Jan, March, and June of this year.

joe from south oak park  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 12:01 PM

Not really a big deal. All the CIC does is ask a couple of basic questions as to why you want to be on a commission and review whatever the committee chair had to say. Really, all the CIC is in oak park is a way to encourage citizen involvement. It makes life easier on the commissioners by providing a steady stream of applicants and should not be considered a vetting process IMO.

dystOPia from OP  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 11:51 AM

@JBM: The Village Code states that the CIC "works closely" and "in conjunction" with the Office of Village Clerk. Perhaps clarification on this issue may be provided by Village Clerk Teresa Powell.

dystOPia from OP  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 11:38 AM

I have been monitoring the commission selection process for years, and it has indeed been manipulated in the past by certain public officials and CIC members. Like it or not, the Procedure Manual was publicly issued, and is to be seen as supplementing the village ordinance, not superceding it in the event of an conflict, which there is none. Same with the village website, which I also cited. As much as I had concerns about the CIC in the past, it still is part of the selection process.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 11:28 AM

Joel, I do not know the answer, but it sure looks to me that the CIC was attempting to use power that it does not have.

Joel S from Oak Park  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 11:02 AM

@JBM you state "I agree that Anan does attempt to short-cut the village bureaucracy ...Assertiveness in government is welcome as long as it follows village laws." Possibly true, but in this case, if this was about assertiveness or cutting through 'bureaucracy' then why did he sit on the other appointments for many months, refusing to put them on the agenda until now? Legal, yes, but hardly about short-cutting Village bureaucracy.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 10:47 AM

dystOPia ?" I agree that Anan does attempt to short-cut the village bureaucracy. I don't see him have much choice if he wants to accomplish what he was voted to do. Assertiveness in government is welcome as long as long as it follows village laws. That is; the Village Code. Anan is following village law. Attempting to substitute the Oak Park Procedural Manual for Boards, Commissions, and Committees, for the Village Code is a sham. Laws that guide the village must be available to the public. A procedure manual has no legal standing. Even worse, a copy of the manual is not available on the internet (Google) or the village website. Ignoring the Village Code has been a significant factor in the creation of fiefdoms in our government. I am certain that there are loads of procedure manuals floating around village hall. There is only one Village Code.

dystOPia from OP  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 9:29 AM

Apparently certain punctuation (dot-dot-dot) in my below post was incorrectly changed to question marks. As a restauranteur, Pres. Abu-Taleb makes quick, results-oriented decisions, which is a much welcome relief from the painfully deliberate mode of his predecessor, David Pope. But Anan sometimes short-cuts through existing procedures in place, such as with his Plan Commission member selection, which is a concern. I like Anan's style, but sometimes his need for speed derails the public process.

Chris B now in NY from Oak Park  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 9:26 AM

I am glad to see the argument is focused on procedure, not on the merits of Mr. Eakin's abilities. I have worked with him on numerous occasions and find him to be most knowledgeable, and very fair. He looks at things with appropriate critical concern and will make a fine addition to this commission. I

James  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 9:10 AM

Abu-Taleb get's more shady as time goes on.

dystOPia from OP  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 8:31 AM

Citizens ? willing to share their experience and talents in the service of the Village are invited to submit an application to the CIC. ? The Village President determines which recommendations of the CIC will be put to a vote by the Village Board. ? At any given Village Board meeting, all candidates for commission membership put forward by the Village President shall be considered in a single agenda item. (Procedural Manual for Boards, Commissions, and Committees, April 2, 2010)

dystOPia from OP  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 8:26 AM

As per OP website; "Interested residents submit an application to the Village Clerk who forwards the applications to the Citizen Involvement Commission (CIC) for review. A Prospects Meeting is held wherein members of the CIC meet with the applicants, review applications and indicate where there are vacancies on the various Boards and Commissions. The CIC forwards its recommendations to the Village Board and the Village President and Village Board act on the recommendations of the CIC."

In Glen Ellyn formerly from OP  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 8:11 AM

Thank-you Questions for clarifying the situation as the title of this article says: the appointments to the commissions are stalled (because the Village Pres. tried to put through an appointee without following the rules and normal vetting by the CIC and when he was caught by the board he objected to a trustee's suggestion of dealing with his other six overdue appointments separately). I can only guess why the trustees didn't push the issue and why the president objected to his own appointments

Questions  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 7:19 AM

Bridgett, yes,this seems to be what is going on here. I just hope that there is further discussion on the matter and it is sad that this process is stalled. These are volunteers wanting to give back to the community and learn more about the way their village works. It was said that Anan hasn't put on appointees on the agenda for months per the meeting. It isn't fair to citizens who are waiting to volunteer and serve their community. Two are students, young citizens wanting to give time.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: July 8th, 2014 10:42 PM

Bridgett - no way to disagree.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: July 8th, 2014 10:18 PM

The President doesn't need to apologize for appointing. That's his prerogative. And none of the Trustees need to apologize for their unwillingness to approve appointments that haven't gone through the CIC. That's their prerogative.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: July 8th, 2014 10:01 PM

Glen - conversation over!

In Glen Ellyn formerly from OP  

Posted: July 8th, 2014 9:50 PM

JBM- Thank-you for finally acknowledging the Village President's fault ("I do not know why Anan sidestepped normal processes in choosing an appointee for a Plan Commission appointment."), and so he shouldn't be receiving an apology, but giving one, don't ya think? If this one issue is indicative of his behavior and professionalism... Btw, JBM, normal processes are consistent processes and consistent processes are fair processes- fairness helps prevent tax-payer funded lawsuits.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: July 8th, 2014 8:38 PM

Questions - I do not know why Anan sidestepped normal processes in choosing an appointee for a Plan Commission appointment. It is possible that he felt he need an architect on the Plan Commission immediately considering the number of developments schedule to go before the Plan Commission in the next six months.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: July 8th, 2014 8:30 PM

Glen Ellyn - I think Trustee Brewer, Commissioner Jim Kelly and the WJ are all barking up an artificial tree. The only person in Oak Park who has the authority to appoint a commissioner is President Abu Taleb. The board members who challenged the president's Plan Commission appointment were acting with authority it does not have. They owe Anan an apology. As far as the age of my research, it is about five hours old.

In Glen Ellyn formerly from OP  

Posted: July 8th, 2014 7:55 PM

Good point, Bridgett. What does the village president get out of holding back the board approval of his other six appointees after Trustee Glenn Brewer requested that they be considered separately? I guess he thinks another month without his commission appointees is efficient government.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: July 8th, 2014 6:40 PM

The point that Robert is making is that even if the President didn't want to take them individually, two Trustees could have moved and seconded the action. Instead, a discussion regarding how people are nominated took place. And even after that discussion, still no Trustee made a motion to take them individually. If they took them individually, 6 most likely would have been appointed, with the 7th not getting enough votes (based on the viewpoints of 4 of the 5 present re: process).

In Glen Ellyn formerly from OP  

Posted: July 8th, 2014 6:30 PM

cont'd. WJ also reported that "other trustees on the board said all candidates should be required to go through the same process". The above occurred recently; what you, JBM, referred to in your research shared with us here, occurred 12 and 15 years ago. Please try to keep up and not drown out the other article commenters who have current and useful responses while you wait for your own phone interview. You obviously have an issue with WJ and apparently don't trust it.

In Glen Ellyn formerly from OP  

Posted: July 8th, 2014 6:25 PM

To JBM (and June)- Village Trustee Brewer, who serves as trustee liaison to the CIC, Citizen Involvement Committee, was told by Jim Kelly, chair of the CIC, as reported by WJ in this article, "that Eakin had not gone through the CIC vetting process." WJ also quoted Kelly from a phone interview, "I've been on the CIC for eight years and [a candidate not being vetted has] never happened before." He said the CIC "oversees the vetting of 18 boards and commissions, comprising 154 members. " cont'd

Questions  

Posted: July 8th, 2014 6:05 PM

I think it's also important to know whether or not there was anyone in the queue ahead of Eakin for the Plan Commission. And going forward, how does the Citizen Commission communicate to volunteers about the process. Should it be advised that certain commissions are just hand picked by Anan to the way he wants. And oh, if you have gone through the process with the Citizen Commission, you may not be able to volunteer because Anan wants to have his people on a commission?

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: July 8th, 2014 5:56 PM

Bridget, you do great work! Thanks for clarifying.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: July 8th, 2014 5:54 PM

June - Not certain I can answer you question because as far as I know, the issue has not come up before. There are about 150 commissioners in the village and the membership is frequently changing. The CIC's role of recommending candidates to the board makes sense, but it does not give the CIC power or authority in the selection process. Per the Village Code, that is the president role.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: July 8th, 2014 5:43 PM

@Robert, There wasn't a motion, so the agenda item died. It wasn't "tabled" as the article says, because there was no motion for the agenda item to be discussed in the first place.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: July 8th, 2014 5:35 PM

Glen Ellyn - Text from Oak Park Village Code 2-17-2 re Membershop - "Said Plan Commission shall consist of a chairperson and eight (8) members, citizens of the Village, APPOINTED BY THE PRESIDENT ON THE BASIS OF THEIR PARTICULAR FITNESS FOR THEIR DUTY ON SAID PLAN COMMISSION AND SUBJECT TO THE APPROVAL OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES" (Ord. 1999-0-2, 2-1-99). The quote was taken from the VILLAGE CODE that is available on the village website under Village Clerk. I did not find any article of the code that supersedes the text above. I also found no mention of "Community Involvement Commission" in any code text. So, in fact, there is no evidence that the CIC has any authority on the matter. If I am wrong, I expect I will be hearing from the board and village. I am waiting by the phone.

Robert  

Posted: July 8th, 2014 5:31 PM

If a trustee moved to take the appointments individually and another trustee seconded it, all the other appointments could have been voted on. Why didn't anyone tell them they could do that?

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: July 8th, 2014 5:15 PM

My sense is that it should have been seven votes.

Igor Churin from Oak Park  

Posted: July 8th, 2014 5:15 PM

The previous architect was nobody, so any change is good

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: July 8th, 2014 5:12 PM

I watched the meeting and I'm not clear on something: If a motion was made, and seconded, to vote on all those up for appointments, could a Trustee vote "yes" to some appointments, and "no" to others? Or, do they vote just one "yay" or "nay" for *all* those up for consideration?

SUSAN ROBERTS from OAK PARK  

Posted: July 8th, 2014 5:02 PM

YEARS AGO WHEN I WENT THROUGH THE CIC I HAD TO LIST THREE COMMISSIONS AND THEY WOULD TELL ME WHICH ONE THEY APPROVED. IF THAT IS STLL THE CASE IT MIGHT DISCOURAGE FOLKS WHO WERE JUST INTERESTED IN ONE COMMISSION.

In Glen Ellyn formerly from OP  

Posted: July 8th, 2014 4:51 PM

To J B M- Did we read the same WJ article? The CIC viewpoint isn't moot; it's their responsibility and the village board-approved right. The handling by the village president of the appointment was not right, according to the "rules, approved earlier this year" as reported here by WJ. Your viewpoint, J B M, by obviously not responding to the same WJ article as the rest of us, is moot indeed. You don't need to convince me twice.

In Glen Ellyn formerly from OP  

Posted: July 8th, 2014 4:38 PM

Kudos to the village trustees for keeping Obama, er, I mean Anan Abu-Taleb honest. Shouldn't the village president know the process, a process approved just earlier this year? "I'm not going to sit here and argue about all these things", he said. Wow, my impulse is to ask the stupid question, "did he really say that?"

Tom Scharre from Oak Park  

Posted: July 8th, 2014 4:16 PM

"...18 boards and commissions comprising 154 members." Brings to mind this: God so loved the world He did not send a committee.

Dave  

Posted: July 8th, 2014 4:16 PM

If the procedure the board agreed upon has the CIC vetting candidates, and *all* the candidate's *except* Eakin went through the process, then what is it that makes him special? It's not a complicated process. Do it and be done. The more he and/or Abu-Taleb protest, the more concerned I get. Just do it and get on with the vote.

June from Oak Park  

Posted: July 8th, 2014 4:03 PM

@JBM so if commission appts don't need to be approved by CIC, why bother w/this process?

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: July 8th, 2014 3:01 PM

Whether Garret Eakin is a great or OK architect is not an issue. There are no stipulations about education, technical skills, etc. in the commission appointment process. I do not favor Mr. Eakin's appointment due to his WJ role and his political approach to criticism on village architectural issues. My viewpoint as well as the CIC viewpoint is moot. Per the Village Code 2-17-2 (Ord. 1999-0-2, 2-1-99), the president of the board makes Plan Commission appointments and the village board approves it. President Abu Taleb's handling of the appointment seems to be appropriate. I did not check the Village Code on the other village commissions, but I suspect that all or many commission appointments do not need CIC approval.

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