Economic development is back on Oak Park's hiring list

Position considered for next year's budget

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By Anna Lothson

Staff Reporter

Rebuilding its finances and planning for the future are the hot-button items at the heart of Oak Park's 2013 budget, which was introduced to finance committee members Monday for first review.

An in-depth discussion about the details didn't take place since it was the first time the committee has seen the 165-page, $51.5 million draft budget, the group did bring up one expense that was approved for the 2012 budget but never implemented.

Interim Village Manager Cara Pavlicek explained that an economic development director position discussed during last year's budget and approved by the board was left on a backburner.

Monday night, however, Pavlicek told the board it would be beneficial to implement such a position so departments could be better connected when addressing the village's economic health.

The role of an economic development director, an administrative level employee with a salary in the range of $110,000 plus benefits, drew some discussion about what type of person should fill that position.

Trustees Bob Tucker and John Hedges said they'd like to see someone who is a specialist in the economic field and who would be out in the community more than at their desk. Tucker hit on the point that he wants a "doer" instead of a manager.

Pavlicek said the challenge of the economic development director position is finding a person with a broad set of skills who understands the intricacies of the many departments in the village.

The position has been discussed for several years but finally filling the role could help the ease the burden on other departments where resources could be better collaborated.

"The [village] manager [for example] actually gets to manage," Pope said.

Pavlicek said that without an economic development director, there remains a disconnect on a number of items outlined in Oak Park's municipal code. Many divisions in the village are related, she said, but not all are consistently connected with the village manager.

"We need to address these inconsistencies," she said.

Budget management remained the theme during the committee's meeting, particularly the fund balance and aiming for more efficiency. Trustees recently passed a measure calling for the village to maintain a 10 percent fund balance, a number that has yet to be achieved.

"We really want to get to the point where we are getting ahead," President David Pope said. That includes being more intentional about where funding is going, he added.

"We really should budget what we should spend," Hedges commented. He, along with Tucker, agreed that it's important to have a better plan for where the village's finances are headed.

Pavlicek said a review of the past few years, as well as looking forward, will certainly be part of the budget planning process.

"Looking back has given us some good thinking," Pavlicek said.

Pope said the concept of having a five-year look back and five-year look forward isn't a new concept for the village. He also stressed the connection between economic development and planning for the future.

"It's a continuum," he said.

A public hearing on the 2013 budget will be held in October, and the final budget is expected to be adopted by the board in November.

Email: Twitter: @AnnaLothson

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Q from Oak Park  

Posted: August 27th, 2012 11:23 PM

Efficiency?, I know who you are referring to, and I don't recall her name, but she was fantastic. Regardless if you called or walked in, she was the one to greet people and she was always friendly and knew the answers. The Village made a big disconnect between Village management and tax payers.


Posted: August 27th, 2012 10:25 PM

If the village board and manager want efficiency they should put that woman back in the welcome center. Phone calls will be directed properly again, questions answered efficiently, customers and residents will feel that the village of oak park is competent and customer friendly.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: August 26th, 2012 12:58 PM

OPRFDad, Mike s, Oak Park, you both know we don't need an economic developer. When you don't have any management job openings for friends, you create them when you have tax payers money to pay for it. If Oak Park worked as a private business, this would not be a position made up. You can't do anything about it.

Mike s from Oak park  

Posted: August 26th, 2012 9:56 AM

Its obvious that Pavlicek is asking for a new position so that she can put herself in it if she doesn't get the big job.


Posted: August 26th, 2012 8:46 AM

We can hope the Village Manager selection will be handled better than the Interim Village Manager selection was.


Posted: August 26th, 2012 6:06 AM

"Many divisions in the Village are related ... but not all are connected with the Village Manager." hey, Cara, get off your lazy butt, walk down the hall and go talk to people. Nice can-do attitude. "If it's not in my job description, we better hire someone else." The Village is changing. It's just a matter of time until a critical mass turns its eyes to these parasites.


Posted: August 26th, 2012 5:57 AM

Anyone know the # of employees for OP? How about total salaries? OP has way more government than a city this size needs. Hiring yet another person at $100k plus just seems like more of the spend, spend, spend attitude. And despite all the OP government,my street lies in ruin.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: August 25th, 2012 12:38 PM

Cont... into the rental business, then they can hire someone like David King, who want seat on his ass costing tax payers money and receiving benefits too. Oak Park, this is just another waste of your tax payers money. You let the board and village convince you they know what they are doing. If that is correct, why do you think they are always spending money on consultants? Maybe they have friends there too.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: August 25th, 2012 12:33 PM

Cont... He rents store fronts and receives a percentage from the building owner for finding tenants. You probably have noticed his signs with his name, David King. Once again, he charges nothing to tax payers, so why does the person who wants a friend to have the new made up job in Oak Park, paid by tax payers? There is no magical cure to renting properties by hiring a friend on the tax payers payroll. Buildings are privately owned and rented. If Oak Park gets back into Cont...

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: August 25th, 2012 12:29 PM

Cont... before wasting 110,000.00 tax payer dollars. How will spending that money, plus benefits really benefit tax payers? I can understand the thinking behind it because the person pushing for it wants a friend to have a job, and new the idea would get approved by saying we need to fill the Marshall Fields building and we need an expert to do that. Oak Park, think about it. The guy who has most store fronts is in the business of doing this work and he charges nothing to the tax payers. Cont..

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: August 25th, 2012 12:25 PM

Creating a position for an economic development director, and paying a salary in the range of $110,000 requires more steps before someone puts their friend on the tax payers payroll. Ask yourself what other town has an economic development director then compare what it has done for that town. What can an economic developer really do? Why did businesses that are already in Oak Park, come to Oak Park? There are several things to consider Cont....

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: August 25th, 2012 10:37 AM

Thank you, John Butch Murtagh. I have tried several things with the village in different departments and they have responded all in the same way which is not getting things done. If they acted the same as how they treat the village in their personal lives, they would be broke and their property would be inhabitable.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: August 25th, 2012 12:54 AM

In defense of Q and OP. There is no WJ policy or rule stating that a person has to attend board meetings, serve on committees, etc. to discuss OP issues. "Just Asking From Oak Park" asked questions which he obviously would not answer him/herself while hiding behind a pseudonym. It is also better for the posts if posters (like "Just Asking..") add value in comments rather than just sneering at others.

Are You Kidding  

Posted: August 24th, 2012 11:56 PM

The board is not at the point of being intentional about where the funding comes from? No wonder things are so screwed up. Put all of them in a think tank and lock it until the next election.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: August 24th, 2012 5:29 PM

Just askin', if you have ever gone to a public meeting and requested your 3 minutes to talk about your complaint, all you get is a bunch of people on the board looking like they ate something bad for lunch that left them with a severe case of intestinal distress. They are not and have never been interested in doing anything that people show there sincerity about. The board does not care about the people. The board cares about the people they consider special in Oak Park, who only ask for favors.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: August 24th, 2012 5:26 PM

Just askin', you know what another area that the village is open to lawsuits from? The parking lot across from the Marion Street "L" stop. Raymond responded to my request by having public works push back some debris over hanging the public sidewalk, but the edges and no fence is an open invitation to anyone who may be walking across the parking lot, day or night.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: August 24th, 2012 5:24 PM

Just askin' you know what another stupid thing the village did? They spent money to investigate who was at fault when the building collapsed on Harrison street. You know what they did after their findings? They left the new Senior Citizens building open for a possible collapse. They only responded after I posted it on the W.J. post. One day later they stopped work at the location into the North wall received proper support.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: August 24th, 2012 5:21 PM

Just askin' you know what is another thing the village did that was stupid? They hired the CFO's wifes friend and paid her 250,000.00 to find out PeopleSoft wasn't the right program for Oak Park. I found that answer in 5 minutes from a person who works with many accounting software packages and the cost to me was free for that answer. But does the village care? Absolutely no.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: August 24th, 2012 5:19 PM

Cont.. which there was nothing more then the judge to dismiss the case. Before ever going to court, I tried to explain everything to the meter maid, then to her supervisor, then to the manager of parking. None of them had any interested, so they all ended up appearing in court. That was a waste of time to tax payers, but all of the workers were paid, and I received a dismiss on the ticket.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: August 24th, 2012 5:16 PM

Just askin' the answer is yes, and let me tell you a little story of how involved I was to show stupidity of how things operate. Received a ticket. Took pictures. Requested the meter reader, the immediate supervisor and the department manager to appear in court. Upon my questioning the meter reader, the meter reader purjoured herself. I stopped at that moment and asked the judge who knew just what happened if everything was being recorded. The judge asked to move forward with the case, Cont...

Just askin' from oak park  

Posted: August 24th, 2012 4:46 PM

Q & OP, have either of you ever actually attended a village board meeting to express your opinion or provide an alternative solution? Ever volunteered for a citizen commission? Ever actually done something? Or do you simply troll comment boards trying to appear intelligent? Oh, and OP, the cost at RC is $22M, and the Park District is a separate govt body. You don't know that because you likely aren't a property tax paying homeowner, & if you are you're woefully uniformed.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: August 24th, 2012 1:53 PM

John Butch Murtagh, it makes it easier for Pope and Raymond to figure anything by comparing it to home ownership. It would take anywhere from 5 minutes to 20 minutes to get a real understanding of what things should cost. Pope and Raymond don't need to make the time when Oak Park keeps bending over. Cell phones and lubricants are big sellers in Oak Park

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: August 24th, 2012 1:49 PM

OP, that must be a very good bargain for 29,000,000.00 dollars to get a hole dug, a few pipes and fill the bottom and sides with concrete. Then dig out an area, place some pipes down and build a walls around it with a roof. This demonstrates that no one who is spending your money has any real idea or know how to compare prices across the country. When it comes to Oak Park, contractors don't need to say bend over. Oak Park willing does it.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: August 24th, 2012 1:47 PM

Q - Interesting.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: August 24th, 2012 1:46 PM

John Butch Murtagh, thank you for how much that's going to cost. It makes sense why it's so much. 1 person buys a home for 300 thousand in Oak Park. Multiply 300,000.00 times 52 people moving into the project on Madison street and the results are 15,600,000.00


Posted: August 24th, 2012 1:18 PM

oh don't forget the $29million for an ice rink and pool at ridgeland..

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: August 24th, 2012 1:04 PM

Q - The Madison Housing Project will provide 52 one room apartments for 52 singles at a cost of more than 15M. It was the highest per unit project approved by Hud in this year's project approval. The village did not have to pay a sent for the conversion of the Comcast Building and therefore did not ask any questions about costs or location. High cost in OP are a reality based on a elitist dream.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: August 24th, 2012 12:48 PM

Pope spends 5 million on Marion Street. The Lubavitch Yeshivah-International School for Chabad Leadership built a new 45,000-square-foot facility, which cost more than $5 million to build, will house the 180 males. Oak Park, you really need to understand that projects in Oak Park don't need to be as expensive as they are.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: August 24th, 2012 12:47 PM

Hedges and Tucker have made great steps to getting some fiscal coherence in the village. They are also getting excellent support from the addition of some sharp finance guys hired by finance this year.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: August 24th, 2012 12:43 PM

Pope said,"We really want to get to the point where we are getting ahead. Then stop spending Pope on your favorite projects. You are like Mitt Romney, with the way you talk, but the results are the opposite.

Martha from Oak Park  

Posted: August 24th, 2012 11:51 AM

Can someone convince Hedges or Tucker to run for Village President? I consider those two to be good fiscal stewards of my tax dollars.

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