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Objections To Fire Pension Board Appointments

The storms that raged through Oak Lawn on Monday night were not the only issues that created some thunder at the Oak Lawn Village Board on Tuesday night.

As has been the case at the last two board meetings that coincided with the new administration under new Mayor Sandra Bury, Trustee Bob Streit (3rd) voiced his displeasure, this time over fire pension board appointments.

Bury appointed Pat O’Donnell, who was recently appointed village treasurer, and Jerry Dillion to the board.

Streit said that the board should spend more time looking over the qualifications of the candidates. While supplied with resumes that day, Streit said that not enough time was allowed to study their qualifications.

Sparks ignited when Streit implied that the only reason the two were being considered for the job is that they supported Bury and they are somehow associated with former Trustee Tom Phelan.

Bury was annoyed at the suggestion and said that these appointments are not subject to a vote.

Streit added that one attorney is being let go despite the fact his term runs through 2015. Streit was reminded that Bury can legally do that.

Larry Deetjen, the village manager, said a fixed fee has been approved over two fiscal years of no more than $60,000, reduced from $71,000.

Trustee Carol Quinlan (5th) also weighed in on the appointments and said that a meeting by Phelan created a Òhit list” of public officials he wanted out. Two attorneys have been removed.

ÒI’m never opposed to saving the village money, but if you plan to consolidateÉI just want to look at all the options,” added Quinlan.

ÒI know some of you are new to public service but this is no excuse for what you are doing,” said Streit, who has been a trustee for 22 years. ÒWhy are we getting rid of these individuals? (Because) these names appeared on Tom Phelan’s hit list.”

Streit then took exception with Deetjen regarding the interview process in relation to the two attorneys. Deetjen replied that the attorneys said they only want what’s good for Oak Lawn.

Trustee Terry Vorderer (4th) said that the decision was made on what is best for Oak Lawn.

ÒI know nothing about a hit list,” said Vorderer. ÒWhat I hear is that we can save the taxpayers $25,000.”

The fire pension board appointments were approved 3-2. Streit and Quinlan were opposed.

While Streit continued to talk, Bury stated that Òdeliberate lies (by public officials) on the dais will result in censure.”

Bury added that Òpast village presidents may allow such conduct but it will not be tolerated here.”

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