Johnson conveniently forgetting history

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Robert Milstein

I was glad to see that the transparent process of the Village Manager Association slated three people so quickly [VMA announces candidates for April, News Nov. 3].

They, I am sure, were fully vetted by the self-selected few who attended the slating process. It was so fast that I wonder if President David Pope had sufficient time to get his candidates selected. Then again maybe the two selected are the handpicked candidates.

Why not provide a list of all who appeared for slating? There is no embarrassment in not being selected. In fact, anyone who presented ought to be proud of trying to be slated. Come on, tell us.

As to Trustee Johnson's re-slating for four more years, I think it's great. I have been reading about his support for the Village Citizens Alliance platform. He now questions the money being spent on the Ike lobbyists [In tight budget, more trustees question Ike lobbyist spending, News, Nov. 10]. For many years he kept attacking anyone who questioned the value of the cap-the-Ike effort. He never once questioned the waste of dollars on this effort.

In addition, he saw the need to dump PeopleSoft from the village. I mean he used to say, "We cannot question staff so much, they know what is best for us." After the new chief financial officer saw the waste, Trustee Johnson jumped on board because he "knew all along it was a bad deal for the taxpayers."

After the 2007 elections, with the new manager in place, we found out that all the hidden scandals that everyone knew about, for example, in the parking department, were real.

Then we all found out the amazing financial system under Mr. Peters and Mr. Swenson was not so well run. A few years ago, when we questioned then-Manager Swenson and his team, Trustee Johnson was aghast that we could demean such a well-run program. Questioning our incredible management team was terrible. He would cry, "We love you all," and question how we could dare to ask for accountability when it was so obviously present.

Within weeks of the May 2007 swearing in of the new trustees, we magically learned that the doubts the VCA had raised about our accounting procedures were indeed real. Trustee Johnson, President Pope and the new trustees were aghast and grateful for the work to uncover the poor methods that they (Johnson and Pope) denied even existed!

In 2011, the VMA will win the election by default. In 2013, it won't be so easy.

Robert Milstein is an Oak Park resident and former village trustee from 2003 to 2007, having run with the Village Citizens Alliance political party.

Reader Comments

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MOG from Oak Park  

Posted: November 20th, 2010 9:26 AM

All this recent dissection of VMA's selection process is a red herring. A fight song..really that's all you got. You forgot to mentioin the secret handshake. I find it refreshing to see someone like Ray Johnson to continually assess issues & feedback. That is not flip flopping that is responsible leadership.


Posted: November 19th, 2010 7:40 PM

Political hibernation hasn't weakened Bob Milstein's signature churlishness. He actually accuses Ray Johnson of listening to everyones' ideas! Isn't that what Ray promised to do in his campaigns? Doesn't that demonstrate Ray's commitment to represent all Oak Parkers? In this classic Milstein verbal trantrum, Bob seems to think his ideas were copyrighted and then stolen. Let's remember that in his ideologically-driven single tenure as a Trustee, the only ideas he listened to were his own.

john murtagh from Oak Park  

Posted: November 19th, 2010 1:23 AM

Rich - you are right on all points.

Rich from Denver  

Posted: November 18th, 2010 11:44 PM

Ray Johnson cares deeply for the Village of Oak Park. There is not a trustee on that board currently or in the past 10 years who has put more time, energy and passion into serving the Village of Oak Park. This isn't a bleed for the VMA, the VMA has slated plenty of crappy candidates however Ray isn't one of them. Why anyone would want to repeatedly be a trustee of a group of people that do nothing but rag on you is beyond me.Ray best of luck to you and a hearty hello to Bob!

LShort from Oak Park  

Posted: November 18th, 2010 10:20 PM

Bob Milstein is right on all accounts. One can always pick out all the VMA hacks that write in to support trustees like Johnson and Pope because they either use the standard "sour grapes" or "negativity". That explains a lot about the total lack of vision and imaginative thinking, or thinking at all, in this our Peoples Republic of Oak Park! Congrats, Bob Milstein for bringing the truth before us.


Posted: November 18th, 2010 4:44 PM

The VMA has a fight song? What are the words?

gail moran from oak park  

Posted: November 18th, 2010 3:05 PM

Mr. Milstein is welcome to give voice to his concerns, but this all sounds so much like sour grapes to me. I, for one, appreciate Trustee Johnson's thoughtfulness and openess to changing his mind as circumstances change. Hopefully his citizenship won't be questioned next!

OP Resident from Oak Park  

Posted: November 18th, 2010 1:29 AM

JMK-It's hard to believe that you don't bleed VMA or at least know the words to their fight song. Of course, you are not defending Pope and Johnson.In your view, they've been aces! Forget about the mismanagment of TIF funds, over-the-top consulting contracts and wasteful spending practices. Just celebrate another VMA victory. You can blow out the candles.

JMK from Oak Park  

Posted: November 17th, 2010 4:40 PM

Justin, I'm sure its the VMA's fault that The V of OP didnt collect Millions in sales tax revenue or real estate transfer taxes due to a CRAP ECONOMY and HOUSING CRISIS. I'm also sure its the VMA's fault that our own State has not paid our Village its duly owed share of certain taxes collected which runs into the MILLIONS. I'm certain as good as the other groups are in this Village, we would have had record surpluses had they been at the helm!! Ha!

Justin Timber  

Posted: November 17th, 2010 10:13 AM

Thank you for pointing out the flip-flopping on the Board. It is amazing that anyone who points out a problem is labeled as not having all the information or being a naysayer. During Milstein's tenure, he tried to champion reform against a Board that regularly supports the special interests over the interests of the citizens of Oak Park. Unfortunately, Pope, et al just wanted to spend money how he thought best, not what was actually best of Oak Park. Now we have a financial mess b/c of the VMA.

john murtagh from Oak Park  

Posted: November 16th, 2010 11:46 PM

Bob Milstein - Welcome to AVA - ALL VOICES ALLOWED. We are only independent when everyone is allowed to be heard!

JMK from Oak Park  

Posted: November 16th, 2010 11:39 PM

Mr. Milstein, At least you can say your terms of keeping your energy and focus on the negativity. I think that's why you are writing as a citizen and NOT a trustee. Leaner times call for leaner actions!! I'm not here to defend President Pope or Trustee Johnson, but the least you could have provided from a political stand point is alternatives of which you have none! Maybe your letter will be a little more compelling if they decide to run in 2013.

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