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A ‘part-time’ salary of $150,000

By Ray Hanania
March 26, 2021

How can a part-time mayor collect more than $150,000 a year in salary? That’s a question being asked in Orland Park, where Mayor Keith Pekau was elected in a voter backlash against raising the salary. Pekau is deceptively telling people he “lowered” the salary, but he is still taking it.

 

In political mailer after mailer, Pekau is careful not to say “his salary,” just “the mayor’s salary.” That is the deception, the shell game of political rhetoric and hallmark of what machine politics is all about.

 

An ordinance to reduce the Orland Park mayoral salary from $150,000 back to $40,000 was proposed, but not by Pekau. Trustees Pat Gira and Dan Calandriello, whom Pekau has repeatedly personally attacked, proposed it on March 29, 2018.

 

Concerned Gira and Calandriello would use it to expose Pekau, Pekau tried to hijack it, wrapping it in his misleading rhetoric: We “lowered” the salary – just don’t mention Pekau’s salary.

 

Although the salary reduction passed on March 4, 2019, Pekau still takes the $150,000 salary! That’s a total of $600,000 in four years!

 

In the blizzard of his initial campaign literature, Pekau and the “People over Politics” Party claim:

 

• Feb. 1, 2021: “É lowered the mayor’s salary back down to $40,000 a year making it a part-time position

• March 3, 2021: “In just 4 years, he (Pekau) lowered his salary and made the mayor’s job part-time again.”

Pekau inadvertently admits his job is really “part-time” and therefore undeserving of $150,000 a year.

When former mayor Dan McLaughlin proposed the salary hike, he also proposed making the mayor full-time, expanding duties to include economic development and urging against hiring two more high salaried administrators to handle economic development.

When I moved into Orland Park in 1983, McLaughlin already had made a name for himself championing Orland Park development.

Elected trustee in 1983 and mayor in 1993, McLaughlin turned Orland Park into a fast growing, safe and economically strong village. Business flourished, taxes were rebated to residents, and Orland Park was truly one of the safest places to live.

A real estate website claims Orland Park is the “safest city,” but just ask people whose cars have been hijacked. There’s more concern about safety under Pekau than ever.

In 32 years in government, McLaughlin made one error: failing to fully explain what he wanted to do. But McLaughlin is not a liar like Pekau. And he is not vicious or mean. McLaughlin respected criticism and was always accountable, unlike Pekau.

Pekau is the epitome of a machine politician. When Pekau took over the board in 2019, his first act was to prevent accountability by eliminating the village committees. He took control and silenced his critics casting the deciding vote on every contentious issue.

There is no dissent in Orland Park, a true machine politician trait.

Pekau wants to strengthen his machine by politicizing Orland Township, where he backs a slate challenging stellar government Township Supervisor Paul O’Grady.

Among those candidates Pekau backs is Lora Kreczmer, who claims she forgot she had a court case Sept. 26, 2017 on charges of DUI-drugs, driving on a revoked license, having no insurance and causing a car accident. An arrest warrant was issued on March 21, 2018, and it wasn’t until I reported it that she turned herself in to Chicago Ridge Police.

Kreczmer’s colleague on the Orland Residents for Responsible Government (ORRG) slate trying to oust O’Grady, William Keefer, claims he is a lawyer and listed it as his occupation on literature and in interviews. Keefer did graduate from the University of Connecticut School of Law in 2020, according to the Illinois Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission, but he is not a lawyer yet.

The Orland Park battle isn’t about Republicans versus Democrats. It’s about moderates versus extremists.

Pekau is not really a Republican. He is an extremist who bullies anyone who disagrees with him, including moderate Republicans or Reagan Democrats, the centrists who help maintain political common sense, lower taxes, safe homes and strong businesses.

Blago blather

I couldn’t stop laughing when I saw former disgraced Gov. Rod Blagojevich appear in a You Tube video promoting the ORRG slate opposed to Paul O’Grady. Blagojevich was an egomaniac who tried to sell a Senate seat for profit. Although I thought his jail sentence was too long, Blagojevich is a clown. Being attacked by Blagojevich is like being called ugly by a pig! No one did more damage to Illinois than Blagojevich.

Read more of Ray Hanania’s work at hanania.com.

 

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