I am sending this update out before the upcoming board meeting on Monday night December 3rd to make everyone aware of my appearance on Real Estate Revealed radio show on AM 560 at 8AM Sunday morning December 2nd. This is another great showcase of Orland Park and the region and it is my pleasure to be part of it.
I requested that this be put on Village social media and it was not placed there as of this posting. Yes, you read that right, I must get approval from the Village Manager’s office to have anything placed on social media. This has been the case since I have been in office and it is my understanding that this was not the case for my predecessor. This is unacceptable.
Another very recent example of censoring the Mayor’s office was my interview with Southland TV. The full interview can be seen here:https://www.facebook.com/southlandvibe/videos/391058594765630/. When I requestedthat this be posted on the Village website and social media, the last 6 minutes were edited out. I have heard that “it was embarrassing to the village”. Please watch for yourself and make that determination. I don’t like being censored and I answer to the people of Orland Park, not unelected staff who have their own agenda.
Similarly, the Mayor always had a column in the Orland Park Public (which is now on-line with my support to save the printing and mailing costs). While I still take part in drafting the column, it is now signed as coming from the Orland Park Village Board. The change in signature block was recently brought to my attention.
Additionally, I am still locked out of most buildings. Interestingly, it was easier for me to access our snow command center during a snow storm as a contractor than it is as Mayor. Do you think this is acceptable?
Unfortunately, with our form of government, our Trustees have this power. The Village Board hires the Village Manager who has control of all of our operations. The only check on this power is the Village Board’s ability to fire him (6 Trustee votes and 1 Mayor vote with equal weight). Hence the Trustees are the only check and balance on the Village Manager. The voters are the only check and balance on the Trustees. I am sure you thought that if you replace the Mayor, the Mayor has the power to check and balance the Trustees. That is not the case. While I am, by law, the legal head of our government, I have but one vote.
As an example, by state law and Village ordinance, I have the power to replace appointed commissioners after their terms have expired. However, I need advice and consent of the board. The Trustees have not allowed me to replace a single commissioner (unless they resign), essentially giving them lifetime appointments from the previous mayor (most terms are for one year).
This lack of legal power, in spite of my legal responsibilities, means that I must use other means to influence the board, including:
- Logic and reason – this is the most preferred method and it sometimes works, but with a majority on the board that is sometimes bent on obstruction (e.g. commission changes, concerts) this doesn’t always work.
- Persistence – I don’t give up on things that I know are critical for the Village. AMC was an example of this. It took 8 months, but I knew that without getting this into Sears, we wouldn’t be able to attract Von Maur into Carson’s.
- The bully pulpit – Getting information to the people via the board meetings, these newsletters and the press allows the people to put pressure on the board members, when logic and reason can’t reach them.
- Agenda items – I have the power to place any item on the agenda to try to force a public vote. Of course, the board could refuse (and have on occasion) to vote on an issue, but most of the time they vote my way which is why I make it public. Two good examples:
- The Golf Outing – The Village Manager kept telling me the Board was voting down the golf outing benefitting Veteran’s groups. I forced it on the agenda knowing full well that not one Trustee would cast this vote in public.
- Veteran’s Programs budget cut – When this was discussed, I threatened to bring it to the board floor and those Trustees that were pushing to cut this quickly agreed that cutting the Veteran’s programs to save $7K would be the wrong thing to do.
Using these methods, the majority of my platform has been enacted or has been started (go to www.keith4mayor.com to evaluate for yourself). As you can imagine, this is a frustrating way to govern. Going forward we need to ensure that these changes stay on track and that the Village addresses other issues that I have identified since being in office. I am hopeful that I will have more reasonable board members to work with for the last two years of my term and I am sure we can make even more positive progress for the Village.
I also want to make clear that the overwhelming majority of the Village’s staff has been very supportive and professional during my tenure. Many have them are regularly put in uncomfortable positions for trying to do what is right and work with me the way they worked with my predecessor. Given the fact that the Mayor’s position was made full time, and the person than none of the Trustees wanted to win is the Mayor, I understand our staff’s trepidation.
I strongly encourage you to come to Monday’s board meeting or watch it on Facebook live at 7PM, as we will be voting on the budget and honoring the heroism of several or our police officers. Also, if you have the time, please watch the Southland interview and listen to AM 560 on Sunday morning (I will be on at approximately 8:30 to 8:50).
If you are receiving this from someone else you can email me email@example.com and get on the mailing list. Also, if you would like a copy of the State of the Village presentation from this summer or have other questions, please feel free to email me as well.