The votes are in — the Oak Park Village Manager Association has endorsed its picks for the April 2013 municipal elections.
Trustees Glenn Brewer and Colette Lueck, and Village Clerk Teresa Powell have been slated for their positions, but the newest revelation is Peter Barber, District 97’s president who also was named as a village trustee pick. Trustee John Hedges was selected as the VMA’s choice for president; he announced weeks ago to Wednesday Journal that he’d be seeking the spot.
A news release sent out Tuesday morning included a summary of the selection process and a brief biography of each candidate. The slate, like every election season, was chosen by an all-volunteer selections committee that has representatives from across the village. More than 50 people participated in the process, including more than 20 who had not been part of any previous year, according to the release.
“The VMA Board would like to thank each of them for their time and for the thoughtfulness and seriousness with which they vetted potential candidates and selected those they believe would best serve Oak Park,” the release reads. “The selections committee was enthusiastic in their selection of this slate, and the VMA Board, too, is enthusiastic in our endorsement of these five individuals. These diverse candidates bring to the slate a wealth of civic experience and demonstrated commitment to our community.”
Hedges was elected to a two year term as village trustee in 2007 and again for a four year term in 2009. He was the director of the Park District of Oak Park, had a stint as interim village manager and has served on numerous boards and in volunteer roles in a variety of civic organizations.
According to the release: “Hedges impressed the selections committee with his commitment to fiscal responsibility, economic development, community diversity, and the council-manager form of government. The committee was convinced that Hedges’ past experience and leadership skills are well suited to the role of village president as Oak Park hires a new village manager.
Barber, whose term on the school board expires in 2013, is looking forward to having the potential opportunity to shift to the village board. The committee notes his “ongoing commitment to improving collaborative relationships among local governing bodies and his fresh ideas on economic development and fostering trust in local government.”
Brewer is completing his first term as trustee, and has been involved in community service efforts like serving on the board of the Oak Park Regional Housing Center and on Bellwood’s Zoning Board and Plan Commission. The committee was “drawn to his vision of economic development in Oak Park, his willingness to be frank, and his focus on integrity in his service on the Board.”
Lueck joined the board in 2008 when a position opened up and was elected again in 2009. She’s chaired the Oak Park Plan Commission and was active in Oak Park-River Forest High School and League of Women Voters volunteer capacities. Her selection comments noted her “breadth of knowledge on village issues and her depth of understanding and consideration of them, including, but not limited to, economic development, intergovernmental cooperation, and the potential Eisenhower expansion.”
Powell, the only member of the village board who is a paid village staff member, was elected in 2009. According to the committee, she has focused on improving communications and transparency in duties related to her position.
“The selections committee believes she will build upon those themes, continue work on using technology to improve citizens’ experiences with Village Hall, and foster broader civic engagement among Oak Parkers,” the release reads.
Moving forward with the VMA endorsement, the candidates will run a joint campaign campaigns.