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OP_041218

The Orland Park Prairie 041218

4 | April 12, 2018 | The

4 | April 12, 2018 | The orland park prairie News opprairie.com MICHELE BECKERS ReMax 1st Service #1 Listing Agent, Over 30 years experience. FREE Professional photos, Arial views, & staging FREE Market Analysis 708-945-7474 $279,900 $219,900 9212 Kylesmore Ct, Tinley Park Main floor bedroom with full bath nearby could be office or den. Living room features fireplace with dramatic 2 story ceiling open to loft. Open floor plan, large eat in kitchen with granite look counter tops, ceramic backslash and hardwood floors. Huge master suite upstairs & 3rd bedroom. 10241 Hilltop Dr , Orland Park 3 bdrm 1 bath ranch with family room and 2 1/2 car garage, large fenced lot, deck, newer furnace roof and hwh. COMING SOON $199,900 14434 S. Boulder, Homer Glen Updated 3/4 bedroom 1 1/2 bath pebble creek split level. 2 car garage. Freshly painted, newer kitchen cabinets, furnace. Fenced yard,deck. — IMMEDIATE POSSESSION! — $359,900 17445 Brookwood Ct, Orland Park The huge enclosed vaulted ceiling Screen Room has epoxy coated floor & steps out to large patio. Oversized cul-de-sac lot offers lots of privacy & outdoor enjoyment. Open airy floor plan that all buyers are looking for. Hardwood floor entry, finished basement, Family room with fireplace. Main level 5th bedroom could be office or den off family room with powder room nearby. Trustees open discussion about reverting mayoral role to part-time status Jon DePaolis Freelance Reporter The days of a full-time mayor in Orland Park may be on borrowed time. During the Finance Committee meeting April 2, three Village Board members forwarded an item — without a recommendation — to the full Village Board for discussion and possible action that could revert the fulltime Village president position back to a part-time position after the 2021 election. The three members of the committee are trustees Michael Carroll, Dan Calandriello and Patricia Gira, who asked for the item to be placed on the April 2 committee meeting agenda. During the meeting, Gira said there has been a lot of discussion — and confusion — regarding the role of the full-time position. “It is very difficult without clearly outlined parameters for the full-time position versus the part-time mayor’s position,” Gira said. “We’re not clear on it, and I don’t think anyone has a good understanding of it.” Carroll, the committee chairman, said he checked with the Village clerk’s office to confirm that Mayor Keith Pekau was sworn in May 15, 2017. To give it a full year to see “the effectiveness of our ordinance,” Carroll suggested sending it to the board level for discussion on May 21. Calandriello agreed with Carroll about having the conversation May 21. “It is very difficult without clearly outlined parameters for the fulltime position versus the part-time mayor’s position. We’re not clear on it, and I don’t think anyone has a good understanding of it.” Patricia Gira — Orland Park trustee, on what she thinks has led to some problems with the full-time mayoral change Gira asked why it could not happen at the next board meeting April 16 but said she would support having the discussion on May 21 if that is what the other two trustees wanted. The committee members voted 3-0 to send the item to the Village Board without a recommendation for discussion and possible action May 21. Trustees elaborate After the meeting ended — and prior to the start of the regularly scheduled meeting — the three trustees on the Finance Committee explained why they felt a change to the ordinance was warranted. Gira reiterated that she does not think there is a “clear cut understanding of the full-time economic development position and the part-time mayor position.” “One does not, I don’t think, influence the other,” Gira said. “We still have a professional management form of government. We have a Village manager. We have professional development services directors. We have a professional government. “What I had envisioned the economic development coordinator position [to be] was going out after businesses in the [Interstate] 80 corridor, specifically. Let’s get some development in there. That property, we’re told, is one of the prime locations in Will County. “We haven’t seen that happen, but we still would like to see that. I hoped that [mayor] role, because it was full-time, would certainly have enough time to devote themselves to that.” But Gira said she has not seen any progress over the past year. “I think [the role] is too conflicted,” Gira said. “Village Hall isn’t clear on who is running the day-to-day, and I believe it should be the Village manager. That is our form of government, by ref-

opprairie.com News The orland park prairie | April 12, 2018 | 5 erendum.” Gira also said the “sunset” provision, which automatically would have reverted the mayoral position back to a part-time role without board action for the 2021 election cycle, was removed prior to the vote — something about which a few of the trustees were unaware at the time. Therefore, the board members would have to vote on rolling it back. For his part, Carroll said that over the past year, several board members expressed opinions on how the full-time mayor position was going. He thinks the oneyear mark is a good time to review it. Carroll said the original intent of the move to a fulltime mayor was to have someone outside of the Village staff who would be able to spend 100 percent of their work hours trying to network with other governmental agencies and businesses to spur development. But he said the reality is that the Interstate 80 corridor is something Village Board members have been talking about for years. Carroll said one of the problems with getting development there has to do with the property owners who “do not have a view as to the value of their property that encourages someone to come in to try to purchase it and develop it.” “People can yell at us all day long for not getting it developed, but we don’t own the land,” Carroll said. “We never have owned the land. So, trying to get developers and the owner to sit down and play nice together, despite our best efforts, hasn’t worked so far.” He said that is why, in his mind, the board members wanted to get someone who could commit their full-time job to helping with that area. Carroll said it has been brought up by other board members to ask the mayor to show evidence of work done to get development along “Either it’s the right thing or it is not the right thing. They think it was the right thing before, and now it’s not the right thing, because their guy didn’t win. I think that’s been pretty clear for the last 10 months.” Keith Pekau — Orland Park mayor, responding to the suggestion of reverting the mayor’s role to part-time I-80, and that it was something they should ask the mayor to provide prior to the May 21 meeting. Gira added that the mayoral position is the only position in the Village not accountable to anyone. “I think that is unfortunate,” Gira said, adding that is why it was important for the mayor to report on what was taking place development-wise. “We need to be included in the conversation.” Gira admitted it could have been the fault of the board members for not specifically putting in parameters or guidelines on how the mayor should report back on the actions or discussions taking place regarding development. Gira also wanted to be clear: the position was for a part-time mayor, full-time economic development coordinator. “And that makes my point [about] the confusion there is,” she said. “A full-time mayor, I think, implies running the Village’s day-today operations. That’s just not the case. That’s our Village manager.” When asked if the decision to review the full-time position was being considered because the current mayor was not the person originally intended for the role, Gira said the position change was an experiment. “That is a difficult corridor, no question,” Gira said. “But if somebody had fulltime availability to work on it, and work with the property owners, and bring in businesses — not the ones that call us; that’s the easy stuff — but bring in businesses that might be suitable to that corridor, [so] that we would be more successful. It hasn’t happened. Now, maybe it wouldn’t have happened no matter who was there. I can’t say to that, because we don’t know.” Carroll also responded to the question of whether or not the outlook on the role would be different if former Mayor Dan McLaughlin had been re-elected. He said one of the things he took away from the 2017 election was that it was a single-issue campaign. “Clearly, the residents and voters of Orland Park did not like the idea of a fulltime mayor at $153,000 in salary,” Carroll said. “That message was sent to us loud and clear. So, I think to not revisit that would be foolish to begin with. “Secondly, yes, we did draft an ordinance that was in large part based on the skill set of the candidate we had that we felt could fulfill those roles. I think some of the board members have expressed some concern that those objectives haven’t been met. The skill sets of the two people are completely different, and that’s not a knock on [Pekau] personally, but what I had hoped would be accomplished based on the amendment to the ordinance hasn’t happened.” Meanwhile, in response to a question, Calandriello said the mayor is not legally obligated to accept the full salary. “There is only one person who can roll back the salary, and that’s the mayor,” Calandriello said. “He’s the only one who has control over that.” But Gira said the proposed ordinance would just scale back the mayoral position to being part-time with a parttime salary of $40,000 after the 2021 election. She also said the mayor had been informed of the ordinance prior to the meeting. Pekau responds Minutes later, Mayor Keith Pekau was asked his thoughts on the proposed ordinance. He denied having much advance knowledge of what was being proposed. “Pat Gira told me she was going to bring something up at some point, but that was it,” Pekau said. “So, I didn’t know what was going on today. I didn’t see it. “I don’t know what they brought up tonight, so I don’t know what they were talking about. But I think it’s pretty clear that from the beginning they weren’t too happy with who won.” Pekau said he thinks board members should be “intellectually consistent” on the issue. “Either it’s the right thing or it is not the right thing,” he said. “They think it was the right thing before, and now it’s not the right thing, because their guy didn’t win. I think that’s been pretty clear for the last 10 months.” When asked about progress he has made on the economic development front since taking over as mayor, Pekau said Village Board members have blocked most of what he has tried to do. But he cited his work on the Amazon bid and the Seritage redevelopment project at the mall as things he championed. “I’ve also started an I-80 corridor working group with Tinley Park and Mokena, which has never existed before,” he said. “[But] you can go through the executive minutes, and you’ll see how much pushback I’ve gotten since I’ve been here on any idea I’ve had. How many times have you heard it said that I’m one vote out of seven?” Pekau said his position has been stated in the past about the role of the mayor. He thought it should have stayed a part-time position. “It’s not currently,” he said. “They have to do whatever they are going to do. Again, I didn’t know it was going to the committee tonight. If it comes to the board at the next meeting, great.” But is it fair to expect results after just 11 months? “That’s something you’ll have to ask them,” Pekau said. “At the end of the day, I was elected, and I was elected into a full-time position. I treat it as such. A lot of it is going to a lot of different meetings, retention visits, setting up the Economic Development Advisory Board. I am constantly working the phone on those issues with the state, with the county. That’s what a lot of that work is, and that’s what I’m doing.” Pekau said there were no projects in the pipeline for I-80 when he took over. “Mokena hadn’t been engaged, and Tinley Park hadn’t been engaged,” Pekau said. “So, first, I had to engage our neighbors.” He said the working group’s third meeting will take place in May, and it has already gotten the ball rolling. “We’re putting marketing materials together, collectively, the three of us, with the Will County Center for Economic Development,” he said. “That takes time, because [the other towns] have to get approval from their boards.” Pekau said he got verbal approval from each board member about the goals for the I-80 work group, as well, meaning “it’s absolutely not true” that he had not been keeping the board members apprised of his work. Pekau also said the Amazon work led to some interest in the I-80 corridor from Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity and INTERSECT Illinois, a private-public partnership for economic development who sent a representative to go on a full-day tour of Orland Park and the I-80 corridor. In terms of his hours, he said they vary — daytime hours, nighttime hours, weekdays and weekends. But he is doing the work. “Ask my wife how many hours I put in,” Pekau said, smiling. “That would be a good person to ask.” Advertise your RENTAL PROPERTY In the newspaper people turn to first CALL US TODAY: 708.326.9170 www.22ndcenturymedia.com