I am thrilled that Mary Shiffer is running for trustee on the New Leadership slate. As a good friend, I know that she is committed to doing what is best for Oak Park and that she has the qualities I want in a trustee; honesty, knowledge, dedication and civility.

I met Mary when she first moved here so her husband could accept a faculty position at the same university as my husband. At the time, Mary had just left her management position at Harvard and was eager to get involved in Oak Park while raising her family. Together, we are members of the Oak Park Women’s Guild where Mary is currently volunteering on the Layette Project. This project aims to distribute over 100 baskets of infant essentials to mothers in need.

Mary Shiffer is one of the most caring and involved women I know–from spending nights at village hall on the Transportation Commission, to having helped the Friends of the Oak Park Conservatory with herb-growing, events, fundraising and membership while serving on the board.

Mary also has experience working in state government as a former director of project management in the Division of Employment and Training for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. During her tenure as director, the agency had its funding cut so substantially it was forced to rethink its method of service delivery. Mary’s efforts physically transformed the agency by eliminating dozens of overpriced properties while increasing the ability of the agency to provide vital services.

On the issue of property taxes, I know that Mary Shiffer is concerned that unusually high taxation levels have eroded the village’s ability to compete for small businesses. High property taxes are one reason why so many homes now languish on the market while seeking qualified buyers, affluent enough to afford the tax bills. Oak Park needs trustees that will spend hard-earned taxpayer dollars more carefully than the previous administrations. Our tax dollars should not be used to give multimillion-dollar subsidies to induce developers to invest in Oak Park; the village’s priorities should be the education of our children and the safety of our community.

I know that Mary Shiffer, and the other New Leadership candidates, clearly understand these issues. I also know that they would bring much-needed transparency and accountability to Oak Park government. I strongly endorse their candidacy for village trustees.

Charlotte Buy

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