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.