The convoluted path toward formation of a deer management ad hoc committee in River Forest took another twist on March 9, when trustees rejected one of Village President Cathy Adduci’s appointments.
The five trustees present voted unanimously to approve the appointment of Julie Armstrong but voted 3-2 to reject the appointment of Askold Kozbur.
Trustees Tom Cargie, Bob O’Connell and Respicio Vazquez voted against Kozbur’s appointment while trustees Katie Brennan and Erika Bachner voted in favor. Trustee Patty Henek was absent.
The votes on the appointments followed a 4-1 vote to expand the committee from its original number of 11 members to 13. O’Connell cast the negative vote, which was expected following comments he made at the Feb. 24 village board meeting.
None of the dissenting trustees commented about their votes during the meeting, but O’Connell cited two reasons after the meeting.
“As I stated previously, I was against expanding the committee to 13 members,” he said. “If we were going to add to the committee, I do not feel Mr. Kozbur resolved the geographic distribution of residents that Trustee Henek described at our last meeting.”
Subsequent attempts to reach Cargie and Vazquez for comment were unsuccessful.
“Of course I was disappointed that one of my appointments was denied this evening,” Adduci said. “That has never happened and I hope it will not happen again.
“We will try again on March 30 with a new appointment and I hope, together, the board will decide on a new member. I would like to get this issue behind us. Our residents want us to address the deer issue in our community.”
The board agreed to create the committee on Jan. 13 after deciding to not pursue a deer-culling contract with the Forest Preserve District of Cook County and approved the committee’s formal creation on Jan. 27.
Officials were originally set to vote on a deer-culling contract in November, but when a large group of residents from both sides of the issue came out, the board agreed to suspend the vote.
While they agreed to form the task force, they postponed the discussion of any specifics until a later date.
At the time, it was understood there would be no further vote until the task force had a chance to consider the issue. But after a prolonged discussion, a majority of the board agreed in December to vote on the culling agreement in January, while still working to form the task force.
The twists and turns continued on Feb. 24 when the board voted 5-1 to approve Adduci’s appointment of 11 members to the committee, but informally agreed to add two more members. Brennan cast the negative vote, explaining that she did not oppose any of those appointed but opposed the process.
O’Connell expressed his opposition to expanding the committee at that meeting, noting the board had agreed on 11 members in January.
The committee held its first meeting Feb. 26. The next meeting is scheduled for April 1.
In recent years, deer sightings have been on the rise, and the village has been getting an increasing number of complaints about landscaping damage, tick-borne diseases and deer droppings in resident yards.