Orland Park sidesteps the will of the people

Orland Park sidesteps the will of the people

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Orland Park sidesteps the will of the people

The Orland Park Board approved a plan to significantly increase Mayor McLaughlin’s salary 375 percent from what it was (a 275 percent increase). But the board action ignores the rights of the village’s taxpayers and voters.

Oct. 20, 2016 Des Plaines Valley News, The Regional, The Reporter

By Ray Hanania

RayHananiaColumnPodcast_I joined the Oct. 4 village-wide teleconference when Orland Park Mayor Dan McLaughlin and Trustee Jim Dodge announced the Board is planning to make the job of mayor full-time rather than part-time.

I broke that story that this was coming in this column last September.

The mayor’s salary will increase to $150,000 a year — from $43,000 a year (which also includes $3,000 a year as liquor commissioner). That doesn’t include a 2nd pension McLaughlin will get from the Building Trade Association that he now heads as Executive Director.

This all came about following the vacancy created when the very competent Paul Grimes left as village manager. The board named Tim McCarthy, the village’s highly regarded police chief, as temporary successor. The village website lists two assistant Village Managers, Joe La Margo and Ellen Baer, though Baer reportedly resigned last year.

Sadly, I don’t think the Village has been totally honest with residents. Sure, they can raise the mayor’s salary anytime. But can they simply dump the Village Manager system without going directly to the people?

About 100 Residents of Orland Park filled the board meeting room Monday Oct. 17, 2016 to protest increasing Mayor Dan McLaughlin's salary 375 percent from $40,000 to $150,000

About 100 Residents of Orland Park filled the board meeting room Monday Oct. 17, 2016 to protest increasing Mayor Dan McLaughlin’s salary 375 percent from $40,000 to $150,000

Orland Park’s “Village Managerial Form of Government” was set up by communitywide referendum on Nov. 5, 1983, when McLaughlin was first elected as village trustee. I write about both back then.

McLaughlin, 62, became mayor 1993. If he retires on his combined salary of $43,000, his pension will be about $31,000 a year (75 percent). But if he retires at the new salary, he would be looking at a $105,000 a year pension, or more.

The Trustees of the Village were expected to approve the pay hike this past Monday, Oct. 17 board meeting.

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This has been in planning for a long time. McLaughlin said it was up to the trustees, but no one on the carefully scripted Oct. 4 tele-conference addressed the issue of how this impacts the 1983 referendum, or, more importantly, if a new referendum is required

It’s all rushed. I wonder, is the vote legal?

The village will still be a “village manager system” paying huge salaries to several managers. Someone should do a side-by-side comparison of how the job will really change from Manager System to Fulltime Mayor. McLaughlin might actually lose some powers.

It’s going to make for a very contentious mayoral race this Spring, something Orland Park doesn’t need. They knew they were going to do this all along. They should have just been upfront.

With the pain of the LaGrange Road construction destroying everyone’s nerves (and shutting down so many businesses – Burger King, Wendy’s and more), Orland Just might see another brutal election campaign.

Click here to read the story about the board meeting and the vote.

MEANWHILE, ORLAND TOWNSHIP Supervisor Paul O’Grady has placed a referendum on the ballot asking Orland Township residents if they want to leave Cook County and merge with Will County. And it couldn’t come at a better time as Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle has targeted suburbanites to impose a Stroger-like Tax on soft drinks.

Most suburban Cook County residents have been trying to break from Chicago’s tax-driven headlock for years. Suburban residents are often forced to fund Chicago’s revenue shortfalls by raiding suburban taxes paid to the state that are redirected to help Chicago shore up its poor transportation, roads and schools. And now we’re paying for Cook County corruption.

O’Grady is popular. A Mt. Carmel graduate, O’Grady was elected as Township supervisor in 2009. Some people claim he’s considering a run for Orland Park mayor. Between taxes, pay hikes and road construction hell, that’s a powerful platform.

MARTY STACK IS SHAKING up the race for the Board of Review against Republican incumbent Dan Patlak.

Stack wants to make the office more property taxpayer friendly, meaning taxpayers should be able to go online and see immediately if their property is being charged higher than similar properties in their neighborhood. Give taxpayers what they need to challenge unfair taxation themselves. It’s a brilliant idea.

Perfect timing: In Patlak’s last two elections, the battle was fought among Republicans. Democrats are united behind Stack.

Admirably, three of Stack’s daughters are serving this country in the U.S. Military and that’s more than most politicians have done.

In contrast, Patlak supporters vandalized my home three times now, and the homes of others, too, which shows they are desperate.

ALL HAIL THE CHICAGO CUBS: The Cubs Curse is dead and no team deserves to win the World Series more. But the bias that has built up over the years against the Cubs from the sports announcers like FOX TV’s Matt Vasgersian and John Smoltz when the Cubs crushed San Francisco is so unprofessional.

(Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and columnist. Email him at rghanania@gmail.com.)

This post has already been read 1954 times!

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

RAY HANANIA — Columnist

Ray Hanania is an award winning political columnist and author. He covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).

Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and for TheArabDailyNews.com, and TheDailyHookah.com.

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.

His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania

Email him at: RGHanania@gmail.com

Visit this link to read Ray's column archive at the ArabNews,com ArabNews.com/taxonomy/term/10906
Ray Hanania