Mayor Dave Heilmann is weighing over the candidates for the appointed Dist. 1 trustee and told Patch that he will send his recommendation to the village board this Friday.
Seven residents have applied to fill former trustee Jerry Hurckes’ seat on the Hurckes resigned in August to return to his chief-of-staff job for Congressman Dan Lipinski (D-IL).
“The candidates are all good people that have lived here for a while,” Heilmann said. “I genuinely like each one of them. It’s hard.”
Heilmann spent last Friday taping video interviews with each of the applicants. Those interviews are now playing on the village’s public access Ch. 4 (Ch. 99 for AT&T cable customers).
Residents who are registered to vote in Dist. 1 can still contact the mayor with their preference. So far he’s received about 50 responses from residents that approached him after a public forum last month, or contacted him by email or phone.
Asked if 50 responses would decide who would be the next trustee, Heilmann said it would be difficult to extrapolate that number as being “representative” of the entire district.
His goal, he said, was to vet the candidates in an open forum and to solicit as much input from residents as possible.
"The larger the sample of registered voters the great chance is that it’s more representative,” Heilmann said. “I don’t think anybody could say taking 50 people that you could extrapolate that number with a conclusion of high probability.”
“I also think that state law contemplates that the position of mayor is to weigh in,” the mayor added. “I don’t think I’m completely supposed to divorce myself from the process.”
State law requires the mayor of a municipality to make a recommendation to fill a board vacancy, with board members voting up or down the mayor’s recommendation.
Should village board trustees reject the mayor’s first choice, the mayor can make another recommendation. In the event the village board turns down the second applicant, the mayor appoints one of the two choices.
The appointed trustee will fill the Dist. 1 village board seat until April 2013, when a special election would be held for a two-year term. The Dist. 1 trustee race will be held along with other village board members whose terms are up, including the mayor, village clerk and the even-numbered districts – 2, 4 and 6.
Heilmann said that after he informed the candidates and to fellow board members, he would announce his decision before the next village board meeting on Oct. 11. Oak Lawn Village Board trustees are expected to vote on the mayor’s recommendation.
Take the poll! Who do you want for Dist. 1 trustee? The poll will be open until 3 p.m. Friday or until the mayor makes his announcement -- whichever comes first.