So much is happening that fascinating stories can get overlooked. How about Oak Park’s village board meeting a week back where tough conversations were had about the dismal state of the village’s finances in the midst of this grinding pandemic? Hard choices just ahead. 

What we didn’t see coming was Trustee Simone Boutet’s argument that the village should have cut staffing and payroll weeks ago to preserve cash. 

“We were paying our staff when they weren’t at work,” she said. “I think that’s wrong. If people are off, we could either burn up their vacation, burn up their sick leave.” Cutting payroll was “the only responsible thing to do because we pay people to provide us services and if they are unable to provide us services … you know, it’s not pretty.”

Not pretty for certain. When Mayor Anan Abu-Taleb, perceived as the tough-minded business person, responds, “We owe it to the good people who work for the village to do everything we can to provide jobs,” the discussion feels a bit topsy-turvy.

There are arguments on both sides of this. Just interesting when people take the opposite from what would be expected.

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