According to the Village Manager Association’s website, this venerable political juggernaut’s candidates have won over 97% of every election in Oak Park since 1952. That success rate rivals the Daley Machine and is only 3% less than Sadaam Hussein’s Iraq or Stalin’s Russia. (Perhaps a question for another day is why do competing candidates and slates do so poorly?)
You may recall that there is no primary for village offices, so if you get endorsed by VMA you’re as good as elected. The VMA Vice-President of Selections picks a Selection Committee who picks the candidates. The VP of Selections can truly make a case that he’s the most powerful politico in Oak Park. Basically, ten or twelve people then decide who will run Oak Park government. The actual election is an afterthought given that 97% success rate.
Now Oak Park seems pretty well governed in many ways, and I don’t want to hate on VMA. But you’ve got to ask yourself if this political hegemony is a good thing. I sure hope the VMA Selection Committee takes their job seriously–a lot is riding on their decisions.