Oak Park's manager search officially starts Monday

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By Marty Stempniak

Staff Reporter

Oak Park Village Hall's search for a new boss began on Monday.

The village board gave the go-ahead earlier this week to send out a "request for qualifications," looking for search firms to help them find a new chief administrator.

Elected officials hope to set an aggressive timeline for replacing Tom Barwin, who left his post on Feb. 29after five years. If all goes smoothly, they want to hire a search firm by early May, start conducting interviews in mid-July and possibly extend a job offer to a candidate in August. They would like the next manager to start by Sept. 1, meaning a roughly six-month hiring process.

During a meeting earlier this month, Trustee Colette Lueck said she hopes Oak Parkers will take an interest in the effort. Officials said there will be ample time for public input, though no one commented during Monday's meeting.

"This is the issue people should care about, not something in their backyard," she said. "This issue, in the end, has more importance for everybody than many of the things we hear about, like the latest parking ticket."

Meanwhile, the village board was also set to OK a separation agreement with Barwin on Monday. But the item was yanked off the agenda at the last minute, as trustees said they needed more time to work on it. Board members declined to give specifics on the agreement until after it's approved in the coming weeks.

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Posted: March 21st, 2012 10:25 PM

Now that is funnier than most things you post Kyle. Community based hiring of our Mgr. R u kidding? Have you ever heard of anyone or anything having a consensus in this Village? Ever?


Posted: March 21st, 2012 3:45 PM

I don't even understand why a consultant needs to be hired at all. The Board can get a list of those interested, it should turn to the community for help selecting, and when it's narrowed down to 2, 3, 5, whatever, they vote to hire. The whole process should be transparent and community-based.

Enough already  

Posted: March 21st, 2012 3:37 PM

Now enuf wants to be in charge and in the middle of hiring a CONSULTANT to help hire a manager. Where does it end?

Done from Oak Park  

Posted: March 21st, 2012 3:14 PM

"During a meeting earlier this month, Trustee Colette Lueck said she hopes Oak Parkers will take an interest in the effort. Officials said there will be ample time for public input, though no one commented during Monday's meeting." I haven't been to a meeting, but all I hear is that the board seems genuinely disinterested in hearing the public's comments. Is the board now interested in listening to the public? We've got plenty to say, if they haven't gotten the message yet.

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: March 21st, 2012 3:07 PM

@Trustee Johnson: how are citizens to provide meaningful input re. the hiring of a new village manger, when you and the board have not disclosed the reason for the resignation of the former village manager? Do you plan on withholding this information to the consultant firm being hired to assist with the village manager search, or candidates for this position as well? If you hold them with the same contempt as OP citizens, what kind of village manager would accept this position?

Ray Johnson from Oak Park  

Posted: March 21st, 2012 1:13 PM

All comments related to the village manager search can be sent to the full board at the following email address: board@oak-park.us or by phone to the full board by calling 708.358.5784. We also provided a citizen opportunity under an agenda item for public comment at Monday's meeting but other comment opportunities will be available go forward or at any regular village board meetings.


Posted: March 20th, 2012 2:52 PM

If the Village really wants input on the hiring process, all they have to do is ask us. Is there a selection committee for members of the public to help make a decision? Are they first looking for a candidate who is a current Oak Park resident?

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: March 18th, 2012 10:05 AM

Get A Clue makes a good point. Trustee Luecke's snide little jab ignores the fact that people have been offering public comment on a wide variety of important issues that impact the lives of Oak Park residents and taxpayers. If all that she hears are complaints about "parking tickets"; Luecke isn't listening. And that's her fault.

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: March 18th, 2012 8:50 AM

Interesting that Trustee Lueck is advocating for public input on the new village manager hire, while she and the village board remain silent on the reason for former village manager Tom Barwin's departure. Trustee Lueck, communication is a two-way street. If you seek meaningful input from the public, you need to inform the public of what happened to Tom Barwin.

Lapdogs Wanted from OP  

Posted: March 18th, 2012 7:25 AM

Seeking: highly experienced bootlicking toady, syncophant, or eager lapdog to do the bidding of a self-absorbed Village Board of highly questionable competency. Must have worked with no bid contracts, shady deals, and taxpayer subterfuge. Must have highly developed sense of irony and ability to lie directly in the face of those you purport to serve. Plus if you've worked extensively with brick pavers!!

Get a Clue, Lueck from OP  

Posted: March 18th, 2012 7:18 AM

"This is the issue people should care about, not something in their backyard" says Lueck. Fascinating comment since there's no clear place for public comment. We can all "care" about this issue, but it's really only because we'd like someone capable of ignoring the Board and running the Village the way it should be run. That won't happen. Lueck is just trying to distract us from the current poor state of affairs where our "backyard" issues have been ignored for so long. She's the problem.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: March 17th, 2012 10:20 PM

It's still not clear if the contract awarded to the search firm will be determined after review of bids received via an open process or simply based upon the village president and trustees personal preference. This will be at least a $100K expenditure of public dollars and should be subject to good government practices.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: March 17th, 2012 12:38 PM

"Have a say"? What does that mean? The duties and responsibilities for the position are clearly defined in the job description. Trustee Luecke is out of touch if she doesn't realize residents do have great interest in the hiring. There's real concern among many that the board has too active a role in day to day operations at Village Hall while pressing an agenda that slights our neighborhoods. The new hire has to be a person with a proven record of accomplishment and not be just a mouthpiece.

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