Board dysfunction on full display

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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The small business community has an urgent need highlighted by the pandemic. With several community partners serving aspects of the business community, no one is charged with marketing the entire small business community to consumers in Oak Park. This contrasts with the proactive support Forest Park, Berwyn, LaGrange and other communities provide to their business community. In March, the Chamber of Commerce reached out to village staff and the village board and asked for help to survive the pandemic. Their request for marketing support has been a consistent ask since March.

As elected officials, our role is to solve community problems. We do that by listening to our constituents and holding staff accountable to create solutions to the problems we hear. We are not charged with creating solutions on our own as individuals.  

It is eight months later and the village has not responded with a solution for marketing the business community as a whole. That lack of leadership, listening, and response makes people frustrated. 

When that frustration turns to anger, it is inappropriate to then become defensive. It is wildly inappropriate to attack our community partners in a public meeting or to attack each other at the board table. This culture needs to change. We need to focus on solutions and policy and not on bullying each other. I don't reject bullying on my own behalf; I reject it on behalf of the community as a whole who suffer the collateral damage of an unproductive culture.  

Let's work together.  

Simone Boutet 

Village trustee and candidate for village president

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Reader Comments

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Bill Maxwell  

Posted: November 22nd, 2020 11:48 AM

Neal Buer I read about the candidates from what I could find who are running for Village President, and Vicki Scaman is very active in many positive organizations. She just appears so stable and I think she can really balance out Oak Park, and understand and work with different personalities instead of jumping to a defensive mode which is not what mature adults especially when the adults are responsible for decisions that effect the Village. I think more people need to know what Vicki Scaman stands for and more can be found out her campaign website at I have already ready enough in the local paper about the other candidates to know VoteVicki is ready to take on the position of Village President

Neal Buer from Oak Park  

Posted: November 22nd, 2020 10:52 AM

Bill Maxwell, I agree with you that Vicki is the most qualified candidate. I have interacted with her over the years, and each time she has performed above and beyond expectations. I left her a voice mail once on a Saturday night, and she called me back on Sunday morning.

Tom MacMillan from Oak Park  

Posted: November 22nd, 2020 10:17 AM

We need sane people who can work together to keep a lid on the two crazy trustees we are stuck with, who openly hate half the town. We need candidates who are not afraid to call out the bad behavior and publicly stand up to it.

Bill Maxwell  

Posted: November 20th, 2020 7:20 PM

David Yamashita you make some very good points and that is why when you have someone who has already proven to be very efficient and work well with others, then there is a good probability that individual is going to carry on that adult behavior and competency and since people are commenting on how lucky we are to have this or that person run for a political office, I would say we are very lucky to have Vicki Scaman as Village Clerk and now lucky to have her running for Village President. You can learn more about her accomplishments at

David Yamashita from Oak Park  

Posted: November 20th, 2020 4:38 PM

Kitty Conklin - Thank you for summarizing the behaviors and conflict that have paralyzed our Village Government. A village watchdog that is always on the job. Simone - It's all great that you are calling out the Village Board, an appropriate reality sound bite. Are you accepting a mea culpa as a member of THIS SAME Board? You and I talked about the Public Comment plea by the Chamber of Commerce in May. You told me that "I've got this." Tell us what you have done to move this Village ROCK forward to materially help these desperate businesses. Its now November and the Chamber of Commerce now has posted another desperate plea in "An Open Letter to the Oak Park Village Board" published by the WJ. Ethereal comments about how things should be may make some feel good. Concrete actions and Leadership count more in most people's lives. Leadership does not come with an office or title, rather from within, earned through consistent vision and actions.

Bill Maxwell  

Posted: November 19th, 2020 9:29 PM

Kitty Conklin I have no idea how the town works in your area although this has become so common place that you do not even notice it anymore, and that is when you know it has really become a wrong thing to accept. That is why I think with her calm ability to communicate and not become defensive will make a very good new Village President for Oak Park

Kitty Conklin  

Posted: November 19th, 2020 8:00 PM

The Village Board of Trustees disfunction has been on full display for a few years now. I witnessed first hand the current mayor bully residents who had gathered at the library for his final town hall meeting. I heard 2 of the current women trustees during a community relations committee meeting conspire to have the village manager fired. I witnessed yet another female trustee attack all the men on the board for being 'too white'. I witness a male member of the board be attacked by female members of the board and community for his appearance on a radio show. This board has been broken for some time and I don't believe that it's possible for good working relationships to be restored or salvaged. It simply won't happen with the personalities involved..

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