| Forest Park
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|Before we get started on the game, here's a little refresher quiz:
Which two elected officials did not have proper construction permits or get zoning approval before building?
Now, which of these two oversaw the Building Department?
Correct. Both of them. Hosty from 2003 - 2007 and Curry from 2007 - present.
Now, a bonus question. Which of the two were fined for breaking the law?
Correct. Yes, neither one of them. Wonderful!
OK - on to this week's game or is it a game?
Might be funny if it wasn't our money.
1. "... your projections on the revenue side have sucked!"
Commissioner Hosty 04.30.09
2. "...the whole transparency thing, cuz it's a big buzzword of today"
Mayor Calderone 06.28.10
3. "You want to stand up here and try to chastise me, make me look bad in public, that is fine. That's your opinion."
Commissioner Curry 02.09.09
4. "A plethora of innuendo"
Mayor Calderone 05.10.10
5. "... I'm the type of guy who walks down the street and looks at the cars that are parked at the side of the road and know who lives there and see that they don't have a sticker or have 2 year old stickers on their cars and it drive me nuts."
Commissioner Hosty 05.26.10
6. "Saturday, September 25th is Kiwanis Peanut Day..."
Commissioner Curry 09.13.10
7. [A Federal subpoena is] "a glorified Freedom of Information request."
From: Village subpoenaed for records on Bruno - Reaction from elected officials varies widely
By Seth Stern FPR 8/2/2005
The Village of Forest Park was served a subpoena last week for records relating to controversial consultant Anthony Bruno and his companies, Illinois Development Services and Gray and Associates.
Bruno, who has been under federal investigation since late 2003 for his role in a $42-million water project in Melrose Park, worked as a consultant during Forest Park’s water system overhaul in 2003.
Both Melrose Park and Cicero, where Bruno reportedly received over $600,000 during a 2-year period for consultation on various economic development projects, recently severed ties with Bruno.
Though it is unclear whether Forest Park officials are suspected of any wrongdoing or if the subpoena is simply intended to gather further information on Bruno’s businesses, some have suspected that the subpoenas mark the beginning of a crisis for the village.
"I don’t think it’ll be a happy ending for [Mayor] Tony Calderone," said Commissioner Patrick Doolin, who added that he felt Bruno’s employment by Forest Park was unnecessary and merely a way to get the politically connected Bruno on the payroll.
"The question is: Was the project engineered, developed and implemented properly or done for the profit of certain individuals?" said Doolin.
"There are questions as to why [we needed] this layer of middle management, we don’t have the likes of Anthony Bruno and Illinois Development Services for the Village Improvement Program (VIP). We will manage it, and our engineers will manage it. ... I think you’ll see that nothing was done for the money, and it was just a way to get Bruno his slice of the pie."
Commissioner Mark Hosty disagreed, saying that "every penny we paid him was well worth it." Instead of comparing the water project to the VIP program, he compared it to the Madison Street reconstruction project, which he said did not go as smoothly as the village had hoped.
"The construction company works for the construction company. We need someone working as a representative of the village, making sure things are done in a proper manner," he said.
"I don’t know what happened in Melrose Park, but in Forest Park, hiring Bruno was well worth it."
Hosty said that Bruno’s primary duties were to ensure that the project was handled professionally and that residents were not bothered by the construction.
Mayor Calderone said he was away from the office at the time the subpoena was received due to the recent death of his mother, but called the subpoena "a gloried Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)" request.
He said he is "not at all" concerned that this will lead Forest Park down the path to a long-term investigation similar to what has occurred in Melrose Park, and stood by his past assertions that he was satisfied with Bruno’s work for the village.
Commissioner Terry Steinbach, however, recalled a meeting with Calderone and Commissioner Tim Gillian during which she said Gillian told her that the village needed Bruno for his political connections.
She agreed with Doolin that Bruno’s employment was unnecessary, and questioned why Bruno was paid an extra $3,000 a month for economic consulting in addition to the $102,000 he reportedly received for his work as a consultant during the water project.
According to invoices obtained through a past Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by Cathy McDermott, Bruno billed the village $78,000 for such services performed between October, 2000 and November 2002, although he was not under an approved contract with the village until December, 2002.
Calderone could not be reached for comment until shortly before the Review went to press. He said he would need more time to research the invoices.
Bruno, a 52-year-old disbarred attorney residing in Melrose Park, has made at least $1.25 million working as a consultant for several Chicago area suburbs, according to a recent Chicago Sun-Times report.
Many fees incurred during these projects have been called into question by investigators, reporters, and taxpayers, including the hiring of a private security firm to guard water pipes in Melrose Park…..
….."The village will obviously cooperate fully in any investigation," said Forest Park Village Administrator Michael Sturino.
8. A 4-way stop sign at Circle & Madison
From: Busy intersection to lose traffic light for 4-way stop - 30-day test at Circle-Madison draws concern, criticism
By Josh Adams FPR 3/5/08
Driving through one of Forest Park's major intersections could soon be dramatically different. Public officials are crossing their fingers that a 30-day test without traffic lights at Circle and Madison streets will lessen congestion there.
The busy intersection, now governed by a set of traffic lights, will soon instead be outfitted with stop signs and a flashing red light mandating that traffic from all directions come to a halt before proceeding.
Commissioner Mark Hosty, who oversees departments in charge of road maintenance, says that rush-hour snarls could be helped by doing away with traffic lights.
Hosty, who has not studied the flow of traffic through this Forest Park intersection, did several years ago tour a Chicago neighborhood where many of the city's traffic programs are tested. He says that, according to that presentation, stop signs at four-way intersections can make for a smoother progression and help calm traffic along those roads.
Beginning sometime this month, most likely, the village will test Hosty's theory for 30 days. Should the stop signs prove effective in easing congestion, Hosty will need approval from the village council to make the change permanent…..
….. when word got to a neighboring village after the meeting, Oak Park's Village Engineer Jim Budrick said, "That's probably the worst possible idea."
Budrick, who has a master's degree in transportation engineering, says that Forest Park can, with the installation of a four-way stop at Circle and Madison, expect to see more fender benders at that intersection. He predicts pedestrians will have a tougher time navigating traffic there as drivers become confused over who has the right of way…..
…..Mike Sturino, village administrator in Forest Park, said concerns were raised that without traffic lights, emergency vehicles may have a tougher time clearing the intersection. Bob Kutak, director of the department of public works, did not return phone calls seeking comment on the proposal.
To see the Response Letters to the Editor, Go To:
9. "Yesterday was Mothers Day, so to my Mom and all the mothers here and watching, thank you and Happy Mother's Day."
Commissioner Curry 05.10.10
10. "You're jumping all around and if you tell me that's not grandstanding then please define to me what it is when you do grandstand."
Commissioner Hosty 07.26.10
11. "You've got to give sugar to get sugar back."
12. "Kiwanis is sponsoring Bingo on Saturday, March 27th..."
Commissioner Curry 03.22.10
We hope you enjoyed the game and got them all right.
Stop back on the weekend for more quotes and commentary.