I moved to River Forest at the beginning of this year from the west coast where I was very active in local politics (city councilman). I mention this because I am disillusioned with what I have been reading in the local newspapers. Last week there was a question of whether there was a violation of the Open Meetings Act. Prior to that, I read about bickering going on between board members and also a no-confidence vote against police management. If the newspapers are accurate (which sometimes I wonder), then former Trustee O'Connell is right: There is no reason to believe we should calm down as everything is not all right.
I went on the attorney general's website and educated myself on the Illinois Open Meetings Act. Again if the reporting is accurate, in my personal opinion there may have been a violation if a vote was actually taken without public notice.
Public safety should be a number one priority of any governing body. The police union voted no confidence, charging conflict of interest, appointment of unqualified individuals, staffing issues and now (can you believe it) safety issues with dispatching-not to mention internal lawsuits.
As a former councilman, I had a similar thing happen in my city. I, as all the other councilmen and women, decided to support our public safety manager over the police officers who patrolled our streets. They ultimately were proven right as we learned the hard way and we lost the trust of our rank-and-file officers which, after several years, still wasn't regained.
As a private citizen I am slowly losing confidence in several board members myself. I was talking to an employee of the village the other day at Panera's and was astonished to learn several key employees (village administrator, finance director) left the village this year and possibly 4-6 experienced police officers wanting to leave. I also read that the village prosecutor is leaving next spring.
I urge the board as a voting resident of River Forest to please resolve the issues with appointments to select committees, issues with public safety management and village staffing as soon as possible so we can start to read about the positive things the village board has accomplished.
Robert Hughes III