| Forest Park
Got history? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
|You gotta have friends.
First he wants it...
Anthony Calderone Commissioner Candidate FPR 03.29.95
From: Village Administrator selection narrowed down to two possibilities
By Paige Fumo FPR 5/7/97
…..Calderone, as well as commissioners Laureen Thornton and Tim Gillian made “professional management” of the village part of their campaigns…..
…..Calderone said that the job description he created is “an evolving one. Whether the whole council is 100 percent on board. I’m not looking at that as an obstacle at this point.” Calderone said, “especially after interviewing (five candidates for the position). These folks have experience in a position like this. They go to school to learn how to work in government in a management capacity. They have a keen sense of how to work with elected officials.”
Then he doesn't...
From: Council yet to discuss top job - Mayor: New administrator may play smaller role
By Josh Adams Editor FPR 1/7/09
…..Mayor Anthony Calderone said the hiring process will certainly take at least three months and he would prefer to use that time to redefine the position. That likely will translate into fewer responsibilities, which could lead to a cost savings for taxpayers, said Calderone.
"There has not been any joint discussion about doing away with the position," Calderone said. "I am prepared to share some thoughts on re-evaluating the position."
Forest Park first hired a village administrator in 1997 and Sturino is the third person to hold the job. Both Sturino and the previous administrator, Matt O'Shea, hold law degrees and commanded arguably greater salaries for that expertise. However, Calderone said he doubts the village has realized any savings on legal expenses as a result. The mayor acknowledged a recent glut of civil and criminal cases involving the municipality, but said further savings still should have been achieved.
"I don't think that's entirely responsible for it," Calderone said of the case load…..
From: Mayor in the minority - Vacant post sparks clash over administrative authority
By Josh Adams Editor FPR 1/28/09
During a two-hour discussion of how the village council will fill a vacant administrative post, Mayor Anthony Calderone sparred with elected officials bent on challenging his opinions - and his authority.
Calderone has said he wants to shrink the amount of oversight the next village administrator will have, which would allow the council to reduce the salary tied to the position. All of the commissioners agreed on the potential for saving money, however, the mayor's attempts to belittle the role of the administrator were met with opposition.
"I'm wondering if anyone can tell me what has the village gotten in return and what have the residents gotten in return," Calderone said during the Jan. 21 meeting.
Since Forest Park created the administrator's position roughly a decade ago, taxpayers have seen an excessive increase in local government's operating costs, along with spikes in the number of lawsuits filed against the village, said Calderone. Furthermore, any grant revenues that might be used to offset municipal spending can't be credited solely to any of Forest Park's previous administrators, he said.
Following the meeting, Calderone qualified some of those statements and acknowledged he has not analyzed whether civil claims against the village were a result of actions taken by any of the village administrators.
Each of the commissioners offered arguments for retaining the position, though Commissioner Marty Tellalian said he favors redefining the job's responsibilities to focus on matters of urban planning, zoning and construction management.
In 1997, Calderone actually helped create the village administrator's position. Three people have since held the job…..
Calderone Campaign Letter
From: Mayor's ally in mix for top job - Tim Gillian among nine to be interviewed for village administrator
By Josh Adams Editor FPR 4/22/09
As members of the village council winnow the applicant pool for the village administrator's post, at least one of the nine candidates being invited for an interview won't have to travel far.
Tim Gillian, a Forest Park resident, former council member and childhood friend of the mayor's has survived the first round of cuts, according to two people familiar with the hiring process. Given Gillian's personal and political ties to Mayor Anthony Calderone, skepticism that Gillian could effectively manage the village is reasonable, several commissioners said.
However, they denied that anyone lobbied for Gillian to receive preferential treatment.
"In any meeting or conversation I've had, I've not had anyone say to me, 'you should interview Person X,' whether that person's Tim or somebody else," Commissioner Mike Curry said.
Curry, Calderone and Commissioner Marty Tellalian are responsible for conducting the initial round of interviews for the job. Council members agreed early on that any elected official could recommend an applicant be selected for an interview. Some 30 resumes for the position were received earlier this year.
Council members have said they would not publicly identify any of the applicants until it is time to nominate an individual, and members of the hiring subcommittee declined to confirm whether Gillian was among the nine chosen for an interview.
Calderone also declined to comment on any of the applicants specifically, but said the screening process has been fair.
"I think we have a very good selection of capable prospects," Calderone said.
Gillian confirmed that he applied for the village administrator's position, but said that as of April 20 he had not been notified of his standing.
Gillian is a former paving contractor and currently works as a flight instructor.
For 12 years until 2007, Gillian served as a council member in Forest Park, initially deciding to run for the position with Calderone. In subsequent elections they campaigned together and Gillian seemed to enjoy a broad base of support. He never lost an election and in 2007 opted not to run…..
…..Both Curry and Tellalian agreed that whoever is hired to be the next village administrator, that person's objectivity is critical.….Hiring someone with ties to any of the elected officials could be perilous, they said.
"Impartiality among any of the candidates is a serious issue," Curry said. "You want someone who's going to be fair, reasonable, have common sense and put the interests of Forest Park ahead of everything else."
Should Gillian win the job, Tellalian said it would reasonable for residents to be wary of his relationship with the mayor.
"If anyone of us had close connections with a candidate that was chosen for the job, their impartiality should be a concern," Tellalian said.
Calderone denied that Gillian's management capabilities might be impugned because of their relationship. In the years during which they held office together, the mayor said he and Gillian always worked with the community's interests in mind and have a solid record of accomplishments. Any applicant for the administrator's job should be evaluated on their merits, said Calderone, and it would unfair to disqualify Gillian because of his ties to the mayor.
Cozy, isn't it - Independence must win out
Editorial FPR 4/22/09
After we broke the story this week on our Web site that a childhood friend and political pal of the mayor's will be granted an interview for the village administrator's job, the Review had a conversation with Mayor Anthony Calderone about the hiring process. He offered several stunning remarks.
Under a line of questioning about clouded judgment and impartial decisions, the mayor flipped the conversation and asked whether it's appropriate to dismiss an applicant solely because of their relationship to the hiring body. Answering his own question, Calderone said such a move would "would not sit well" with him. He prefers to evaluate people on their merits, not on who their friends are.
Mayor, with all due respect, you're wrong.
It is precisely because you and Tim Gillian - who is one of nine semi-finalists for the job - have campaigned together, voted together and supported one another for so many years that Gillian should not be hired. Personal relationships and political affiliations absolutely influence how decisions are made.
Meanwhile, you've argued that the next village administrator should be given a smaller role in Forest Park. Municipal governance in this town is cozy enough. Voters and council members should be pushing for greater independence. Hiring Gillian would be a step in the wrong direction.
In the mid 1990s, Gillian and Calderone ran together for village council. They wanted changes and were certainly effective in bringing new methods to Forest Park when they were elected. Calderone, obviously, set his sights on the mayor's seat and he and Gillian continued to campaign together…..(text removed per FPR correction 4/29/09)
…..Those who know Gillian - and there are many in town who do - know that he is a smart and likeable guy. He is sincere and no doubt has a strong record of public service. With that reputation he should have no problem securing any number of influential roles in town. He could run to serve on the council. But his bid to be the mayor's right-hand-man is inappropriate.
As for the screening process that has put Gillian in contention for the administrator's job, we'll absolutely extend the benefit of the doubt that his application was advanced in good faith. There are undoubtedly strengths that Gillian brings to the table, including his familiarity with the community and village hall. But we've no indication that there was any discussion among the council members about the potential for conflict. This should have been obvious and should preclude him from the job.
From: Gillian the next admin? - Former council member finalist for top job
By Josh Adams Editor FPR 7/15/09
From an applicant pool of more than 30 people interested in being Forest Park's next municipal administrator, a former village council member and political ally of the mayor is among the four finalists to be interviewed for the job.
Tim Gillian, a longtime village resident and childhood friend of Mayor Anthony Calderone, is expected to meet with the full council later this month to discuss the position.
For 12 years, until 2007, Gillian served alongside Calderone as a member of the village council, and the two supported one another's campaigns. Calderone and commissioners Marty Tellalian and Mike Curry comprise the subcommittee responsible for selecting the finalists.
"I thought there were four candidates that deserved a second interview," said Tellalian, who was elected in 2007 and did not serve with Gillian. "Certainly there was not agreement on who should be picked."
Commissioner Rory Hoskins, who also won election in 2007, said he is "committed to keeping an open mind" as to who should ultimately be hired and could not speak to the likelihood of Gillian winning the job until he has a chance to conduct his own interview.
"I wouldn't call it a surprise," Hoskins said of Gillian's selection…..
…..As of July 9, Gillian said he had not heard from the municipality - formally or informally - whether he was still in the running. Village officials confirmed for the Review that Gillian is a finalist. The names of the three other finalists have not been disclosed.
"I have received no official notification of my being a finalist for that job," Gillian said. "That's good news, but unless there's something in my mailbox today, I have received no official notice."
Calderone declined to comment on the hiring process for the village administrator's position, stating that the newspaper already had its story.
"There's nothing more that I can add to that," Calderone said.
Curry, too, declined to talk about any specific application for the job. Asked whether social and political relationships with members of the hiring body ought be taken into consideration, he said, "Everything should be considered by the council.
"I want someone who has common sense and is going to make good, smart decisions in the best interest of Forest Park."
Then he's gotta have it...his way.
Gillian hired with split vote - Former commissioner gets 3-2 nod as next village administrator
By Josh Adams Editor FPR 8/26/09
First reported 8/24/2009 9:45 p.m.
Amid accusations from one council member that this pick is an abuse of the public's trust, elected officials in Forest Park voted 3-2 Monday night to hire Tim Gillian as the next village administrator.
The decision was made after a final closed-door discussion of about 40 minutes. It ends what has been an almost nine-month search to fill the post vacated by Mike Sturino. Gillian, a lifelong resident of Forest Park and a former village council member himself, outlasted more than 30 applicants for the top administrative job.
Aside from his service as an elected official, Gillian, 55, has no experience in municipal administration. For many years, he ran a large and successful paving company.
In casting their votes, each of the four council members offered some remarks. Mayor Anthony Calderone was mum.
Calderone and Gillian are childhood friends. They served together on the council for 12 years, until 2006 when Gillian didn't seek re-election. Over the course of three election cycles, Calderone and Gillian supported each other's candidacy.
Commissioner Mark Hosty, too, served alongside Gillian for eight years and the two have campaigned together in local elections.
Hosty and Commissioner Mike Curry voted with the mayor to give Gillian the nod. Commissioners Marty Tellalian and Rory Hoskins voted not to hire Gillian.
"It was a great experience," Curry said of the hiring process. "I look forward to Mr. Gillian leading our village."
Gillian didn't attend the Aug. 24 council meeting.
After the meeting, Calderone said he wasn't prepared to comment on the decision other than to say he would prefer such important hires be made with greater agreement. As for voting to hire a political ally, the mayor said he's not concerned residents might view the decision as self-serving.
"I'm not. The newspaper is going to take that position and a handful of people are going to take that position," Calderone said. "I think Tim Gillian needs to be given the opportunity to show what he can do for the village of Forest Park."
Commissioner Marty Tellalian, though, scolded his colleagues for turning village hall into a private club. Tellalian said it would be difficult for taxpayers to measure what has been lost by hiring Gillian over better-qualified applicants. Tellalian ripped Gillian's tenure on the council, pointing to a budget shortfall during Gillian's watch over the finance department that resulted in the dismissal of 12 municipal employees.
"He would not get a job with any other village in the state," Tellalian said of Gillian. "He simply is not qualified."
Hoskins tempered his criticism that Gillian lacks the credentials others would have brought to the job and pointed to such positives as Gillian's work with local business groups. Gillian, whom Hoskins described as "a good guy," would, according to this commissioner, "do a good job" as village administrator.
"However, there were more qualified applicants," Hoskins said.
From the start of this hiring process in January, council members have sparred repeatedly over how Forest Park's top administrative post should be filled. It was quickly agreed that the next administrator would get a salary of $80,000 to $100,000 - significantly less than what Sturino was paid. Agreement on pay, however, was the extent of what would come easily.
Council members initially rallied around the idea of hiring someone with engineering or legal expertise. The mayor downplayed the need for a candidate with such specific credentials. During the early stages of the search, Calderone minimized the value of the position, which the village has had since 1997.
"I'm wondering if anyone can tell me what has the village gotten in return and what have the residents gotten in return," Calderone said in January.
Perhaps the most notable transformation among council members was in Curry. At first challenging the mayor's stance that the position holds little substance, Curry gradually softened his opinion of what's needed in a successful administrator. He then began touting common sense as an important trait.
Gillian's start date wasn't clear from Monday's discussion, nor was the matter of whether a compensation package had been negotiated.
Closing the ranks - Mayor, Gillian compromise public trust
Editorial FPR 9/2/09
The lengthy search process to hire Forest Park's newest village administrator ended in such a predictable manner. The whole thing feels like a charade.
In the end, after some eight months of interviews with an applicant pool of more than 30, it turns out the man for the job is a friend of the mayor. How tidy. How neat. How insular.
The problem with hiring Tim Gillian as village administrator does not begin with his lack of qualifications for the job. Sure, he's run a business before, and he seems to genuinely care about the community, but so what. Even if he were the most qualified person in the world, his long-standing personal and political relationships with Mayor Anthony Calderone and Commissioner Mark Hosty should have absolutely precluded him. He's the only candidate for the administrator's post who walks into the office with his judgment compromised.
That he has no experience in public administration does nothing for his credibility - or the mayor's.
Back in 2007, Gillian discussed with the Review his reasons for stepping down from the village council after three consecutive terms. The politics, the disagreements had all become too personal, he said. Coincidentally, one of Calderone's chief complaints of the last few years is that the criticism of his rule is personal rather than professional.
It is this newspaper's opinion that both Calderone and Gillian genuinely care for the community. Their emotional investments are not the problem. When politicians appear unwilling to work transparently, when they surround themselves with friends, when they consult only with puppets and when they give taxpayers the impression that village hall is nothing but a tight knit circle, there is going to be criticism. Take it personally if you like, but it has nothing to do with who happens to be sitting on the dais. It is the quality of life in Forest Park that people are concerned with.
And, for now, there seems to be concern.
News of the council's 3-2 vote to hire Gillian brought a stunning and unprecedented response to the newspaper's Web site. Nearly all of the comments submitted by online readers were critical of the hire, not because of the names in the headline, but because they recognize cronyism when they see it.
As publisher Dan Haley outlines in his comments in another article, the village administrator's role in Forest Park appears to be evolving. It was once touted as the way to instill a greater level of professionalism and forward thinking into the commission form of government. Hiring an inexperienced, compromised administrator seems to be the antithesis of why the position was created.
From: From change agents to the ultimate insiders
By Dan Haley FPR 9/1/09
In 1995, Tony Calderone and Tim Gillian arrived on the public stage in Forest Park with a fresh energy and a determination to slough off the closed, insular and tired ways of the village and its government…..
…..They campaigned on a platform of hiring a professional village administrator knowing that the old ways of running the government wouldn't do if they were to build a vibrant town with a modern way.
So the irony of Calderone last week casting the deciding vote to hire Gillian as the village's administrator is strong and disheartening. Don't get me wrong. I like Tim Gillian. He is smart and decent. But most importantly to the mayor Tony Calderone has grown into, Gillian is loyal and local and has no interest in rocking the boat.
The era of change, of looking to the future, is over in Forest Park. Now it is about consolidating power, maintaining a status quo that is, yes, advanced from the Forest Park Calderone and Gillian inherited 15 years ago, but far short of the potential this town has.
Forest Park needs a pro as village administrator now more than ever. The town needs to ditch the commission form of government, an obsolete model which plays to every weakness of every commissioner, but that is, for now, a dead issue. But to let the possible benefits of a capable administrator be subsumed in a new era of insularity is a direction that voters should not allow. The mayor is circling the wagons, calling in chits, strapping it on and hunkering down.
That makes this a critical moment in Forest Park. If Calderone and his toadies - commissioners Mark Hosty and Mike Curry - get away with this, Forest Park will be stuck in time for the next decade.
No Harm, No Foul?