Split Oak Park village board OKs routine tree contract, declines to comment on specifics

What's the big secret?

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By Marty Stempniak

Staff Reporter

A routine contract to remove dead trees around Oak Park has turned into a hush-hush secret that most local officials are loath to discuss.

Earlier this month, the Oak Park village board voted 4-3 in favor of paying $585,000 to two companies to cut down trees and remove the stumps. Trustees did not offer their opinions during the board meeting, and those who voted in opposition have declined to elaborate on why they opposed the seemingly mundane decision.

It's unclear, still, whether any other discussion of the issue took place elsewhere. A Journal FOIA request turned up no e-mail correspondence on the matter. One trustee said she had a concern related to the payment of prevailing wages being paid by vendors. And one trustee said that while the contracts were not discussed in executive session that there may have been some back-and-forth on tangentially related topics.

The contracts awarded $375,000 to Lombard-based B. Haney and Sons for summer tree removal, and another $210,000 to Riverside-based A&B Landscaping for winter tree removal and grinding stumps year round. The village has awarded similar contracts in the past, and Oak Park did not outsource any staff positions as a result of these contracts according to Public Works Director John Wielebnicki.

Still, Trustees Ray Johnson, Bob Tucker and Colette Lueck all voted no on the contracts earlier this month. That came after the board pulled the decision off its "consent agenda," a list of routine items taken together at every meeting without any discussion.

Tucker and Johnson declined to comment when questioned about the vote.

"I've got nothing for you," Tucker said last week. "It's really not that interesting."

Lueck, meanwhile, said there's a new interpretation of when municipalities have to make sure that outside contractors pay a "prevailing wage" to their employees.

"I personally feel that villages should pay prevailing wage, regardless of what the law requires or what the interpretation is," she said. "But I'm clearly the minority opinion on that because it's much more expensive."

But she stopped short of saying that was the reason why she voted no, and added that "I think other people voted against it for different reasons than I did."

So are these two contractors paying a prevailing wage? Wielebnicki said the contract does not specify prevailing wages, and it's the village's belief that the Prevailing Wage Act does not apply to the agreements.He said Oak Park has been removing trees this way for years, and that it just recently went out for bids on the work, just to test the market.

Wielebnicki said the prices were favorable, and Oak Park was happy with the response.

Trustee John Hedges said the contract seemed pretty standard, and he had no concern related to prevailing wages.

"I was kind of surprised myself that it wasn't unanimous," said Trustee Adam Salzman.

Board members who voted yes all declined to provide insight into why their counterparts disagreed, instead deferring comment to the naysayers.

So did any discussion take place on the vote between board members? Wednesday Journal submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for any emails or memos between elected officials and staff regarding the issue. That FOIA turned up nothing.

Village President David Pope said it is perfectly possible for board members to read the materials related to an item — for this one, there was more than 200 pages — and then reach a decision without talking it out. He said part of the issue was whether Oak Park wanted to move forward with removing trees in the winter or spring. Pope said it's possible Oak Park could have waited six months for better prices, but the village went ahead with winter work to stay on top of removals.

"I don't know that there's any big issue there that needs a lot of elaboration," Pope said, later adding, "The agenda item itself laid out the detail about it, so I think everybody read it and determined what they thought. It's not unheard of to see 4-3 votes on our board, obviously."

The state's open meetings act allows public bodies to meet privately to discuss sensitive matters, away from the public eye. Some of those exemptions include pending or probable lawsuits; setting the price for the purchase, sale or leasing of property; or negotiating salaries for an employee or union.

But the circumstances surrounding the Jan. 3 vote seem strange, said David Barsotti, a former Oak Parker who has previously challenged village hall's interpretation of the Illinois Open Meetings Act. "That does seem kind of weird," he said. "I'm not familiar with it and I wasn't present there, but it does seem odd to say the least."

Village trustees met in executive session before the public meeting on Jan. 3 to discuss "collective bargaining" and "potential litigation," according to the meeting's agenda. But members of the board, along with the village manager, public works director and village attorney, didn't say whether issues related to the tree removal contracts were discussed privately ahead of time.

"I never discuss what's discussed in executive session, whether it is or isn't," said Village Manager Tom Barwin. "I don't think it's helpful because those are sessions where you're dealing with sensitive issues."

Trustee Glenn Brewer, however, said there was no private discussion beforehand about the contracts, specifically, though there may have been a back-and-forth about some tangentially related topics. He couldn't elaborate, but emphasized that what was hashed out behind closed doors will reach the sunshine eventually.

He just wasn't sure when.

"There are a great number of issues in the hemisphere of those contracts that need to be discussed, and at some point they will be public discussions," he said.

Reader Comments

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Posted: January 25th, 2012 8:07 PM

Prevailing wage is Federal law and yes, the Village of Oak Park is required to abide by Federal law. The village board can discuss all they want whether it applies to them or not. Ultimately, it is not their decision.


Posted: January 24th, 2012 3:41 PM

Small business doesnt imply whether or not it makes alot of money or no money at all. It just refers to the size of the business. Number of employees and revenues. What do you consider small business?

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: January 24th, 2012 3:34 PM

Illegal workers drive wages down, and employers take advantage of that to increase their profits. If you want to live like an Illegal worker, then you can afford to accept lower wages.

OPRF Dad  

Posted: January 24th, 2012 3:25 PM

...taxes are supposed to be used to create qualify of life as well. The further down we cram wages, directly or indirectly, the less money there is to spend and spur the economy. It's a balancing act, and not an easy one.

OPRF Dad  

Posted: January 24th, 2012 3:22 PM

Small businesses will happily pay higher wages if it creates higher revenues and/or lower costs. That can be through more skilled workers, more contracts, less turnover, fewer missed days, etc. A part of the idea of municipalities paying a living wage is that it creates the opportunity to hire more qualified workers, reduce turnover and increase productivity. Lower market values have made Oak Park affordable to more people. That is definitely offset to an extent by property taxes. But property

Struggling Taxpayer  

Posted: January 24th, 2012 3:20 PM

Depends on whether we agree what "basic bills" are. You never address how such an ordinance c/would negatively impact a) economic diversity in OP or b) the loss of jobs when small employers start cutting workers to account for cost. If you recall, the distance between top and bottom wages was reduced during Clinton admin due to the hot job market. Employers needed to pay more to attract workers. Just imagine if illegal immigration was curtailed, it would cause such wages to increase naturally.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: January 24th, 2012 3:05 PM

Do Illegal workers really work in Oak Park? Do Illegal workers really work for less than American citizens? Can business owners who pay less to Illegals have a better chance of winning a contract? Is it Illegal to be an Illegal, and if so, what happens to the Illegal?


Posted: January 24th, 2012 2:50 PM

"inflated wages" might equal living wage. Hmmm. Is it inflated if I can pay basic bills with that wage?

Struggling Taxpayer  

Posted: January 24th, 2012 2:11 PM

Laughing, that is not what I said. Just noted that not every small biz owner is wealthy. Paying an alleged "living wage" is meaningless to whether someone is weathly, successful or neither. Unlike you, I do not need to guess: Requiring small bizs to pay inflated wages (especially wages detached by the realities of the current job market) means less small bizs and less people w/jobs. Also know paying higher taxes for forcing bizs to pay "living wages" leads to less economic diversity here in OP.


Posted: January 23rd, 2012 5:45 PM

Sturggling, So by your logic, if you own a business and your NOT wealthy, then its OK to pay your employees less than a living wage? I think it means your not running a successful business in some manner. Success is hard to define. My guess is the wealthier you are, the less they want to pay. The risk to be in business is on the owners NOT the employees.

Sturggling Taxpayer from South Oak Park  

Posted: January 23rd, 2012 5:00 PM

I like how Laughing assumes that all small business owners are "wealthy" and how Socialist Tom thinks all Oak Parkers are too. Who's for economic diversity in Oak Park? Not those two! Let's just tax the proletariat out of town so the bourgeois can have Oak Park all to themselves! Viva the bourgeois Socialist Oak Park revolution! Where is my Che shirt that I can wear when I go sip free trade coffee and use free wifi for my iPad?

tom broderick from oak park  

Posted: January 23rd, 2012 7:51 AM

John, studies on poverty show that it is on the increase. A living wage ordinance is a tool to fight poverty. Such an ordinance, when applied to businesses that do work for government bodies, like the Village of Oak Park, are not being singled out.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: January 20th, 2012 6:24 PM

Nope, how do you explain how wages for average working men and women have stagnated for too moany years while CEO pay has skyrocketed? Wage disparity is a real issue. We're not talking about redistribution of wealth but rather that workers rights are being compromised.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 20th, 2012 6:17 PM

Irrespective of political philosophy (Republican, Democrat, Independent, Socialist, Tea Party, or Occupy Wall Street) most of us share two beliefs - we have the right to what we earn, and we have responsibilities to those who cannot support themselves adequately. The belief and responsibility are miles apart for both, and the distance apart is growing at a dangerous rate. As much as we like to say that compassion drives our support, the truth is that we are all aware that bad things happen when the balance between the rich, middle class, and poor becomes so disparate that governments, businesses, and even union are overthrown. Check out the history of Europe in the early 1900's, Latin America in the 1980's, and the Mid-East last year. Poverty and lack of freedom were the drivers of every government overthrow. I have no idea of the solution, but I am certain that a small village in Illinois cannot solve it on its own. That does not mean that we should not continue to provide affordable housing, welcoming the homeless to shelters, fighting to maintain our diversity. It does mean that simplistic solution like selecting one small business as an example of a need for higher wages is not a solution. In fact, it is a problem that adds to the our nation's growing cultural war.


Posted: January 20th, 2012 5:00 PM

Nope, How much do corporations make? How much do they pay in taxes? Laughing again.

NOPE 2012 from Oak Park  

Posted: January 20th, 2012 4:39 PM

Sorry, Jim...it's not 1950 anymore...today, union workers bring up wages for union bosses, and provide, often against their will, campaign funds for Democrat politicians. Laughing, you can go ahead & sacrifice your free will to the govt. Busineses will pay if it serves their customer and generates profit. I'll put my trust in the business owner over the govt every time.


Posted: January 20th, 2012 4:20 PM

".....employees & employers would find the level of wages appropriate for them." Now that is FUNNY. Maybe the wealthy owners just may pay more on their own. No wonder we have to have government come in to save the day. Clearly business' dont want to pay more. So the mere fact that crap paying jobs exist is becasue the market allows for it? Paleeees.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: January 20th, 2012 4:04 PM

Union workers bring up wages for everyone!

NOPE 2012 from Oak Park  

Posted: January 20th, 2012 3:47 PM

Mr Broderick has it wrong ...businesses, etc. do not oppose prevailing/min wages. They oppose GOVT telling them what to pay their employees. If GOVT would get out of the way, employees & employers would find the level of wages appropriate for them. The "living wage" should only be defined by the employee. If a job doesn't pay enough, then you don't take the job or work to become more valuable. Yes, it is that simple. These laws hurt the very people the politicians/unions claim they're helping.

Reagan Democrat  

Posted: January 20th, 2012 3:30 PM

Hey John, My husband is a well to-do lawyer and we have a net worth in excess of $1 Million. I work part time and receive peanuts for my time and labor. I guess my co workers who have more than 1 job dont have the luxury I do. Just becasue people have different circumstances doesnt mean employers should be in a position to under pay ANYONE! Pay up to a living wage. Do you agree with union rates?


Posted: January 20th, 2012 3:25 PM

Maybe we would,nt need a living wage ordinance if Toni Preckwinkle would enforce the law. As long as Cook County harbors ILLEGAL aliens, unscrupulous businessmen will take advantage of it. What a lot of Ivory Tower libs don,t get is that they are hurting the legal citizens at the bottom of the pay scale.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 20th, 2012 3:22 PM

I essentially agree with your view, Tom, but stick to my view that all levels of government need to ensure that they are equipped to legislate solutions rather than adding to the problem. The discussion of both problems and solutions must be completely transparent to those who pay -- us!

Tom Broderick from Oak Park  

Posted: January 20th, 2012 2:46 PM

Businesses, Chambers of Commerce and other business associations oppose prevailing wages, living wages and minimum wages. There is nothing wrong with a government body seeking to ensure that people who work for a living make a living wage. Until the minimum wage is pegged to the cost of living, those who work for the minimum wage will constantly lose buying power ~ the ability to buy/rent housing, the ability to buy food and clothing. I'm not even talking about something like a vacation.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 20th, 2012 1:57 PM

I am not opposed to a minimum, living, or prevailing wage. I am opposed to government acting on behalf of workers who they think might be underpaid. The board has no right to identify fixes to social issues until they have identified a problem. Perhaps Haney employees made a complaint,perhaps it was actually investigated, and perhaps it was determined by the board that the complaint required address. If that occurred then the board should address it. If they had, I don't believe it should have been on a consent agenda in the first place, and should have been addressed by the board members who voted to remove it from the agenda. Until the strange votes are addressed, i see the incident as "100% Political."

Reagan Democrat  

Posted: January 20th, 2012 1:29 PM

Everyone deserves to make a living wage. There are living expenses to account for: Rent/mortgage, car, food, heat, light etc......

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 20th, 2012 12:14 AM

Resident - I think you have completely and accurately described the purpose and use of the prevailing wage. The prevailing wage usually follows the project contract. It is not unusual for a construction worker to be working one day with prevailing wage and receive regular scale on another job the next day. A small (probably family owned) business like Haney with long term specialized labor does not want the entanglements of prevailing wage. Too much reporting -- too much scrutiny. I find it offensive when elected officials believe they have a right to force prevailing wages on workers who have not complained about low wage or having a business grabbing part of the wage.


Posted: January 19th, 2012 10:36 PM

Back to the subject of prevailing wage. One of the reasons for prevailing wage is to ensure contractors who are given government contracts are paying their employees properly and not paying them $10 an hour and pocketing the rest of the money. It requires the government agency to keep payroll records of the contractor.The contractor also must submit detailed info regarding their employees. Doesn't VOP care about the rights of workers? They profess one thing and do another. Phonies.

Silly is a jackass  

Posted: January 19th, 2012 9:25 PM

I am sooo pissed off. I can never get our message out there. It will be a tough fight to win next election. On we go.

Silly is a jackass  

Posted: January 19th, 2012 9:15 PM

Butch, I'd say that last Epic post was silly.


Posted: January 19th, 2012 8:16 PM

PRICELESS. Both comment and response!

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 19th, 2012 7:36 PM

Epic, I don't think you owe anyone an apology. You have always been fair, above-board, and polite in your posts.

epic lulz  

Posted: January 19th, 2012 5:19 PM

After further thought,I want to apologize to Silly. My comments were offensive and insensitive. I should know better. Sometimes I get so carried away with my political rants that I lose sight of decency. Truly sorry.

epic lulz  

Posted: January 19th, 2012 4:56 PM

Anyway, I'm through with this garbage. Obviously the WJ has no interest in fostering a forum for intelligent discussion. So let the idiots and other human refuse have at it.

epic lulz  

Posted: January 19th, 2012 4:55 PM

My guess is that clueless WJ doesn't know the meaning of the last word, and like the insufferable jackass who stalks me (NOTE to censors: this is against WJ terms of service), thinks it is an obsenity. When of course someone using an obscene yiddish word in their screen name is allowed to post away ad nauseum.

epic lulz  

Posted: January 19th, 2012 4:55 PM

Here's the censored post: "Silly, until you reveal specifically what the hell you've done for the community, other than your constant slurs in this forum, please refrain from complaining about the civic commitment of others. You insufferable jackass."


Posted: January 19th, 2012 4:19 PM

Or maybe the majority of the Village is blissfully content with how things are ran at Village Hall. The VMA sure has a good tack record.


Posted: January 19th, 2012 1:34 PM

Silly, I don't trust what you say at all and don't recall an obscenity. What are you saying was said?

My $.02 on censorship  

Posted: January 19th, 2012 1:20 PM

Yes, the vast majority of this community is asleep at the wheel, blissfully ignorant of the nonsense that goes on in Village Hall. VMA depends on that.

Epic Putz  

Posted: January 19th, 2012 12:34 PM

Epic calls Silly an obscenity, wonders why his/her post is taken down and then whines about my non-offensive nom de guerre. Pot meets kettle. That truly is is epic. Back on point, Silly, what is the deal with the objections to the contract? What is the scoop here?


Posted: January 19th, 2012 11:52 AM

6-10 frequent posters. Thank God its not like so many people that can vote people in or out of office. The system is safe.

My $.02 on censorship  

Posted: January 19th, 2012 9:40 AM

It takes all types to engage in a community dialog. With the exception of the freaks posting every single gun news story on the gun debate pages, the dialog here is generally productive. Some do take the conversation more seriously than others, but we're all intelligent enough to weed out irrelevant comments. Encouraging further censorship will discourage broader involvement, leading to conversations limited to 6-10 frequent posters. At that point you'd be better served to meet for coffee.


Posted: January 19th, 2012 9:01 AM

Murtaghs words "Sheer stupidity and lousy politics is the source of the decision by Johnson, Lueck, and Tucker to pull the tree contract from the consent agenda so they could vote against it."


Posted: January 19th, 2012 9:00 AM

Murtagh saying "..lousy politics?" is the pot calling the kettle black. His name should be John Butch "Lousy Politics" Murtagh for his constant hopeless cause to defame this board and many that have come before it. All for political sake, he tears down people instead of incorporating himself in the process and getting more involved with Village government. John abandoned ship after chairing and then leaving Oak Park's Community Relations Commission. Nice.


Posted: January 19th, 2012 8:59 AM

I believe the word was Jack in the box. Ha Ha

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: January 19th, 2012 8:52 AM

To me, when Silly calls out John Murtagh for his civil contribution, and enuf calls silly out for being unfair and the WJ deletes enuf's comment, the WJ is tacitly supporting silly. Plain and simple.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 19th, 2012 12:33 AM

Comments which for reasons not listed above "fail to contribute to the greater community discussion will be removed." Seems to me there is a lot of intentional non-contributory quotes on the site. The WJ the issue covered. Enforcement needs work.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: January 18th, 2012 11:57 PM

The gadfly herself had to post notice that her dub was being used to give a false impression on this forum. Don't see it as sweet revenge but that it adds to the drivel spoiling the mix. I think I understand the WJ journal's views relating to disruptive antics. Not that big a deal but they are receptive to comments and suggestions.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 18th, 2012 11:32 PM

I support Jim Coughlin's comments regarding irrelevant and intentionally disruptive posts. In my 15 months of posting, there have been times that my posts were removed. I did not like it, but I did not complain as I recognized the WJ's right to manage the site. At the same time, I think it is the WJ's responsibility to ensure that post deletes are managed within its rules fairly and equitably. There are posters that post to disrupt rather than enhance the site's dialog.

Bell = Coughlin=Enuf  

Posted: January 18th, 2012 10:41 PM

I love the Facebook idea of like or dislike. Remember one thing Mr Coughlin, there are plenty of Oak Parkers who do not comment and the commenter's are not the only voices in Oak Park. Even if certain comments get 10 thumbs up and some get 1, it doesnt reflect the community as a whole. We know who are the folks who cant stay away from the computer and comment section!!

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: January 18th, 2012 9:46 PM

A fairly weak retort but not deserving of a Thumbs Down from me. Let's see if the WJ is willing to enter the discussion on how best we can engage in discussions without having to deal with disruptive and deceptive antics.

Ann Landers  

Posted: January 18th, 2012 9:19 PM

"Forty lashes with a wet noodle" is a start.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: January 18th, 2012 9:11 PM

There's an obvious reason why someone would want to confuse readers of this forum. Posts by Epic and Enuf is Enuf are generally spot on and that is worrisome to the gadfly who seeks only to discourage a thoughtful discussion. I'm not sure if it would be feasible but ask the WJ to consider allowing readers themselves to decide if a post disrupts the public discourse. Yahoo offers "Thumbs Up" and "Thumbs Down" icons for rating. Too many Thumbs Down received will remove the post. Dubs are still acceptable but minus the nonsense. It works! Simply continuing to allow one misguided individual to behave irresponsibly is counterproductive. I understand the forum's comment policy but question if all would be better served and informed without a non-stop barrage of ridicule, insult, bullying and gibberish. Calls for civilty have not be observed and some type of punitive action is necessary. This is not a request for censorship but rather a belief that enough is really enough. I'll acknowledge that my postings have rub some the wrong way and am willing to submit to forum users to decide if a particular contribution is an asset or an annoyance.


Posted: January 18th, 2012 7:27 PM

Why dont you all just meet for coffee every other day and chat in person. You could solve more than Oak Park's problems.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 18th, 2012 5:53 PM

Worth thinking about!

Take back the conversation  

Posted: January 18th, 2012 5:49 PM

It would be pretty easy to set up and publicize a discussion forum.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 18th, 2012 5:42 PM

I'm with Q. I read the post and did not find it offensive or threatening. Seems to me that when the WJ pulls a post, they should post the reason why.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: January 18th, 2012 5:38 PM

epic lulz, put your post back up. You have to understand that of course the WJ helps the VMA. They are the ones that are going to get Dan, a brick street on Oak Park Avenue.

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: January 18th, 2012 5:31 PM

WJ? Really? Why was Epic's post deleted? I'm pretty shocked.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 18th, 2012 5:26 PM

Epic - I sympathize with you. I have a shadow that posts demeaning reinterpretation of anything I write. I have learned to live with it. It is the price of posting.


Posted: January 18th, 2012 5:01 PM

LULZ is a corruption of L-O-L which stands for laugh out loud. Often used by the internet gang of hackers on steroids known as anonymous. Anonmous gets "big lulz" from pulling random pranks but for truly "Epic Lulz" anonymous does raids and invasions.

epic lulz  

Posted: January 18th, 2012 4:47 PM

Also, beware of my stalker, with a vulgar derivative of my screen name, who constantly scours these forums looking to respond to my posts with ridiculous tripe. (Yet another violation of this forum's terms of agreement which WJ refuses to deal with.) It's best to use my full name when responding yo me lest we be confused with each other.

epic lulz  

Posted: January 18th, 2012 4:47 PM

Thank you Patricia and j.oakpark. Unfortunately, I see that the WJ censors have deleted my comment challenging the VMA troll's ridiculous attacks, while leaving the troll's libelous comment against Murtagh in place. I wish I could say that I was surprised, but the WJ has long acted as the VMA troll's protector.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: January 18th, 2012 4:28 PM

Thanks Trustee Salzman. I'm glad to learn that the contracts were awarded via an opening bidding process. Do you have any information regarding how many personal and service contracts have been awarded based upon competitve bidding during your tenure? How many wwere exempt? Are you satisfied that the Village understands the concerns and is working towards eliminating the practice of awarding no bid contracts except under special and limited circumstances? That would be good news to hear.

Adam Salzman from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 18th, 2012 3:57 PM

Jim, please see the attached agenda and materials from the January 3, 2012 meeting. http://www.oak-park.us/public/pdfs/2012_Board_Agendas/01.03.11_Agenda.pdf; the Tree Contract item is item D. You will see that it was bid out- and the RFPs and bids are included in these materials. You will also note that we had budgeted $500,000.00 for tree removal of this sort. The contract with B. Haney came in at $375,000.00. I agree with your insistence on an open bidding process. That is what took place here.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: January 18th, 2012 3:27 PM

If there is more information available to the public that explains/defends the Village's continuing practice of not seeking competitive bids for all personal and service contracts; that needs to be shared. Speculating on the specifics contained in a proposal or signed contract is not useful. An examination of bids is always required to determine if the bidder is capable of fulfilling the contract terms and whether they have a proven record. An open bidding process should be a standard policy.

E.A. Poe from the Grave  

Posted: January 18th, 2012 3:11 PM

Silly has a seventeen year old? That's a frightening thought.

j.oak park  

Posted: January 18th, 2012 2:57 PM

Silly, I have avoided direct contact with you for some time. 1st, how dare you question my residency when you have shown no proof of your own. 2nd, I don't complain so much about being here, rather about the vma and the village governance by the vma. You are nothing but a brown-nose to the vma and your only recourse is to insult those who disagree and ask them to leave oak park. You have a child like mind and now back to ignoring you.


Posted: January 18th, 2012 2:39 PM

....but still like to complain about here. Ha


Posted: January 18th, 2012 2:34 PM

I am form here, but not of here, and won't die here.


Posted: January 18th, 2012 2:19 PM

Note to coughlin, lowest bidder isnt always the worst and highest isnt always the best. That being said. Just becasue its low doesnt mean you'll get the most bang for your buck. Aren't you the guy who supports all the jobs that the Village is losing. Well what about the companies that give the low bids who pay their employees less and give no benefits? Doesnt your philosophy hold true so the companies that DO pay higher wages and give benefits might have a higher bid with same amount of profit


Posted: January 18th, 2012 2:16 PM

A Silly Jr.? "The horror! The horror!"


Posted: January 18th, 2012 2:12 PM

jokepark really likes the place, if he/she is even from here. Its evident by their name. "reasoned thoughtful discussion and solid research" That sums up O'shea and her father,Murtagh so perfectly. Not.

Silly Seconds  

Posted: January 18th, 2012 2:10 PM

I am Silly...I make no sense. I attack others cause I have nothing else to do but count my vma votes. Okay Joe or Brad, we have had enough of you.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: January 18th, 2012 2:10 PM

Were the contracts awarded through an open bidding process? If so, the board acted within it's authority. If not, additional information is required. It would interesting to learn how many personal and service contracts the Village board awards without being subjected to a competitive bidding process. Trustee Bob Tucker continues to disappoint those of us who trusted he would work for greater transparency. Perhaps he would be willing share examples of the efforts he has made to honor that pledge


Posted: January 18th, 2012 2:08 PM

Always an excuse for your behavior. Like my 17 year old.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 18th, 2012 2:07 PM

For the record, B. Haney and Sons is a great company and great workers that do outstanding work for the village. During the last two years, I have seen them remove four trees (2 from in front and at the side of my house). The work is efficient, safe, and completed quickly.


Posted: January 18th, 2012 2:05 PM

Hi Patricia, I think what "that person" is saying is that there is no room for reasoned thoughtful discussion and solid research in OP politics, and therefore you and your kind: Jim, John etc. are over qualified and analytical to be considered for the board. That said, I would vote for you. @Epic, Keep up the good work...I think your posts may drive someone over the edge, which would be good for all of us.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 18th, 2012 2:02 PM

Re my resignation - In 2010, I was the chairman of the OP Community Relations Commission. The village board asked the commission to study the subject and provide the board with a thorough and objective assessment on whether a Living Wage Ordinance should be approved. The commission review was contentious enough that I resigned from the commission when the Living Wage Final Report, approved by the majority of the commission, and the Minority Report were completed. My resignation was the result of disillusionment with the commission process itself and the political nature of its discussions. My WJ letter from 6/30/2010 which goes into further detail on the circumstance can be found at http://www.oakpark.com/News/Articles/06-30-2010/Setting_the_living_wage_issue_straight. As far as Silly's comment re politics. I have been involved in politics all my life. During that time I have seen politics from every possible side. Sometimes its results are great and sometimes the results are lousy. The consent agreement game was lousy politics. As far as my defaming this board, I am certain that if guilty of libel or slander, our litigious board would have already served me with a warrant.


Posted: January 18th, 2012 1:49 PM

Your colors are apparent O'Shea. Dont try to camouflage now. Your kind will NEVER run this Village. Thankfully.

Epic Putz  

Posted: January 18th, 2012 1:45 PM

What is good for the goose/Silly, is good for the gander/you, Epic....

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: January 18th, 2012 1:40 PM

Hurrah to Epic. Well said!!


Posted: January 18th, 2012 11:32 AM

epic, "Your fired!" for cause


Posted: January 18th, 2012 11:17 AM

Murtagh saying "..lousy politics?" is the pot calling the kettle black. His name should be John Butch "Lousy Politics" Murtagh for his constant hopeless cause to defame this board and many that have come before it. All for political sake, he tears down people instead of incorporating himself in the process and getting more involved with Village government. John abandoned ship after chairing and then leaving Oak Park's Community Relations Commission. Nice.


Posted: January 18th, 2012 11:06 AM

Prevailing wage is a fiction that merely jacks up the costs of government projects. It is way higher than true prevailing wages. Without it, we could employ more people and get more done.

epic lulz  

Posted: January 18th, 2012 11:00 AM

Good to see something approaching investigative journalism from the WJ. Now, how about employing it for something non-trivial, like the Lake/Forest deal?

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 18th, 2012 12:00 AM

Sheer stupidity and lousy politics is the source of the decision by Johnson, Lueck, and Tucker to pull the tree contract from the consent agenda so they could vote against it. The stupidity? They forgot to have any discussion on the issue before voting it down. The lousy politics? Thinking the public can't see through the boards opaque veil of trust to recognize that it was all a way to put a 4-3 vote on the record before the Sertus vote. The board played voting games to create the illusion that they are objective. Well at least we determined that only three of the seven board members think the residents are dummies.

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