Oak Lawn Village Board Argues Over Alley

Trustee Alex Olejniczak on the defensive as Trustee Bob Streit claims project did not go through proper channels as Dist. 2 residents wait for alley to be fixed.


Oak Lawn Village Board members argued Tuesday whether an alley project was started without going through proper channels.

Trustee Bob Streit (Dist. 3) said he discovered by accident another alley project was about to begin that was not on the summer’s street and alley repair list, which the village board had approved in February.

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Streit told the village board—and the Ch. 4 viewing audience—that he had learned about the estimated $125,000 alley project after talking to a field engineer on Oct. 10.

At the very least, the project should have gone back to the public works committee, which he chairs. Streit accused a fellow trustee—Alex Olejniczak (Dist. 2)—of circumventing the village board to fix the alley between 53rd Court and 54th Avenue, between 93rd and 94th Streets. The alley runs through Olejniczak’s district, who is up for reelection next spring.

Striet also eluded that Village Manager Larry Deetjen may also have exceeded his $20,000 spending cap by authorizing the project. The alley was slated to have a new storm pipe installed.

“[Deetjen] did tell me essentially that Trustee Olejniczak had asked him repeatedly and forcefully to get this alley done,” Streit said. “First of all, to ask repeatedly and forcefully is abusing your power and position. No trustee should be able to demand how village funds are spent without board approval.”

Trustee Carol Quinlan (Dist. 5) argued that her district continues to get the smallest slice of the annual street-and-alley-repair pie, about $550,000 compared to the $1.2 million Olejniczak’s district received in 2012.

“I just have a hard time that an alley is going to be done for $125,000-to- $135,000 add-on, when there is such a discrepancy of money that is being spent,” Quinlan said.

Traditionally, since the infrastructural program was implemented in 2007, if there is money leftover in the fund and the weather is good, the village has squeezed in extra streets and alleys, Deetjen explained.

The two alleys in Dist. 2 that were submitted to engineering, including the alley slated for repair, were held off the original 2012 list because of concerns over a shallow water main.

The village manager said it was within his authority to order the storm pipe because it was less than $12,000 and would be installed by village work crews rather than going out for bidding.

“That’s all there is to it,” Deetjen said. “I put it on the board agenda so you could make a decision.”

Olejniczak said that the summer’s alley and street repair program came in $600,000 under budget.

“If you have two [alleys] that went into engineering they’re the next to get done,” Olejniczak said. “I believe Mr. Streit had an extra alley done in his district last year that did not go before public works.”

Streit accused Olejniczak of spreading “misinformation” that wasn’t based in fact.

“The only [infrastructural repair] program that has any flex in it is the in-house [street repair] program,” Streit said. “There is no in-house alley program. And to suggest that we may do it because it’s likely to be done next year that it’s okay to do it this year, is absolutely false.”

Streit said beyond the fact that the alley project should have gone back to public works, raised a lot of other questions that deserved further inquiry.

"That’s something that I think we’ll continue to discuss and address,” Streit said.

Before village trustees took a vote, Trustee Tom Phelan (Dist. 6) asked when a new “contrived scandal committee” had been established.

The village board voted 4-3 to send the alley project back to the public works committee, with mayor being the tie-breaking vote. The dissenters were Phelan, Olejniczak and Trustee Tom Duhig (Dist. 4).

The day after the village board meeting, Olejniczak, who served on the public works committee for seven years before being bounced off told Patch the public works committee always squeezed in extra streets and alleys.

“It’s a great program that has added to the value of Oak Lawn, reduced flooding issues and make property values go up,” Olejniczak said. “How can it be turned into blatantly scandalous thing?”

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OakLawnGuy October 25, 2012 at 11:51 AM
Irony: when Mr Streit was up for re-election, Mr Olejniczak knocked on my door, campaigning for the incumbent. When I offered no comment regarding whether "(they) could count on my support", Trustee O offered to have Mr Streit come down the block and speak with me personally, I declined, and his parting words were, "You know you're getting a new alley, don't you?"
AlexOMustGo October 25, 2012 at 01:28 PM
I have given Alex the nickname "The Smug Thug". I hope he goes in April. He is useless with his attitude.
Alley Man October 25, 2012 at 01:44 PM
Is that really ironic? I'm not sure what your point is considering the story talks about Alex O adding an alley in his district. It sounds like Alex consistently believes that if you benefit from an alley you should vote for your trustee.
OakLawnGuy October 25, 2012 at 02:16 PM
Ironic in that Mr O trumpeted the brand new alley we got thanks to his colleague Trustee Streit, who now (motivated by politics no doubt) blasts him on the same subject. (And yeah, the "we got you an alley" smacks of Old Time Politickin', Chicago style.)
Gram14 October 25, 2012 at 03:32 PM
seems like the blocks of 102-103 s kildare has been forgotten!! was told they wont be done because it is not a "thru" alley - well it WAS a "thru" alley until they built new houses at the end of the block-how did that happen-pretty unfair if you ask me I pay my taxes just like everyone else in Oak Lawn!!
andy skoundrianos October 25, 2012 at 04:17 PM
Suspension of belief rears its ugly head again.
CAJ October 25, 2012 at 04:21 PM
Streit has "served" WAY too long and needs to go. In fact, that whole board needs to be swept-out when their respective elections come. Why do we keep electing these people? Is this the best and brightest we have?? There's no one else out-there who wants to serve and can serve with honor and dignity and generally has the best interests of the village at heart?
nooney1971 October 25, 2012 at 09:07 PM
I watched the televised village meeting the next day on channel 4. They went through about 90% of the meeting with everyone behaving nicely to each other then this came about and it turned into once again a embarrassing show of politicians arguing and acting like 5 year olds. I wish they would realize that this arguing is getting no where and causing nothing to get done in the village. I am sick of driving out to Orland to shop at Trader Joe's and the soon to be Whole Foods. I am sick of the lack of progress that is going on in the village and the lack of communication going on in the city hall.
Barney October 25, 2012 at 10:04 PM
Bob Streit you are a embarrassment to our village. The people of Oak Lawn received a benefit from over budgeting, which is a good thing. We payed engineers to design a plan for 2 extra alleys. The whole project came in 2/3 under budget. This should be recognized as a good thing. With 2 to go and still keep it under budget. Let the people that are paying the bill reep the rewards. Unless you planned on returning our $600, 000, which I doubt. Phelan and Alex made you relevant again a couple years ago. Besides Ms Trautsch you've turned on every person on that board.
Rich October 25, 2012 at 10:28 PM
Maybe initiating a referendum for a one term or two at the most term limit for the mayor and trustees will cleanse the process. As it is now, these amatuer politicians get dug in after a few years and play power games with our money. If I want to watch " Politicians Gone Wild ", I'll watch Boss on Starz. Better acting and it isn't costing me any tax $$'s.
Rich October 25, 2012 at 10:46 PM
If I were Carol Quinlan I would never had admitted that other districts are getting twice the amount of dollars than her district. Is'nt it her job to stay on top of that and make sure District 5 is getting it's fair share. She usually does'nt say much at these meetings, and after this, it's probably a good strategy in the future. Just nod when Dave tells her too.
rick October 26, 2012 at 02:43 AM
I love "the smug thug"! When we had a Beggars pizza benefit last month for my son born with hydrocephalus, I emailed all board members and spoke before a board meeting. After my first sentence "the smug thug" got up and left. Thank you to Mayor Heilman, Mr Deetjen, and Trustee Quinlan for responding! The other "goofs" must have been to busy to care!
attentiongrabber October 26, 2012 at 11:59 AM
rick, you are stupid for politicizing your sons condition. I don't blame the others for not responding to your condescending demands. newsflash you are not the only person in the world who has serious health problems in the family. GET OVER YOURSELF YOU EGOMANIAC.
No Sodaro Supporter October 26, 2012 at 12:28 PM
I disagree! This is the Bob Streit we elected for so many years. He has always been the one that stopped the misuse and abuse of power. Thanks Bob for standing up again for us, the taxpayers.
Autumn puzzle October 26, 2012 at 12:40 PM
The truth is Alex O and Tom Phelan use Public Works to distribute to friends and garnish votes. Not a big deal if its proportionate (which Carol Quinlan does a terrible job). The problem is that they create a "rival to beneficiaries" when they hang the carrot over voters heads. Alex O does it all the time, Phelan just makes sure he gets credit, Streit stays away, Quinlan gets completly ripped off, Duhig is sleeping, Hurckes (Trout) is like Alex.
Rich October 26, 2012 at 02:39 PM
Can't agree with your hard line approach. It sounds like rick is doing whatever he can to talke care of his family. I'm sure he would rather not have to deal with this issue at all. It says a lot about Mayor Heilman, Mr Deetjen, and Trustee Quinlan . I applaud their caring attitudes.
Sara October 26, 2012 at 02:49 PM
If the charity doesn't have anything to do with St. Gerald's or the Homestead Barr - he can give two ****'s ....
attentiongrabber October 26, 2012 at 03:03 PM
Any decent man who has a sick child doesn't name call. This man insults belittles and thinks the world revolves around him. Rick, maybe you should stop loving the smug thug names and show some dignity for your family. Be humble. You never know what other people are going through. SHowing such disdain for certain politicians clearly shows you are playing politics on your sons issue. Sad for your son.
O.L. Taxpayer October 26, 2012 at 03:12 PM
Waah, I'm Bob Streit and I am going to get even with all of you in the village for me only winning my election by 11 votes. I know that I am not going to win another election in this village again because of the way I abuse my power, but I am not going down alone. I know how things have been done for years because I showed everyone how to do these sort of things. Sit back and watch how much money and time I am going to waste in the last two years of my term. This is just the beginning. When this election is over with I will once again turn on you Davey. And Carol,Carol, Carol. How the heck do you get elected? What have you done for your district ? I now know why you just sit there and don't say anything at board meetings, you are inept. All must go before more irreparable damage is done. Lifelong resident, hoping the economy turns around so I can move out of Dist.3 and Oak Lawn. This board makes me sick. Grown adults acting like children. Do you trustees even see what you look like. Your parents and families must be embarassed. I know we voters are.
Pete Jari October 26, 2012 at 10:08 PM
I think Phelans spouse was embarassed when he started picking fights with local youth football coaches (for no good reason except anger). Its a wonder why family does not pick up on these behavioral patterns. It will be even stranger when their heirs look at all this video and angry news clippings in 20 years ..... My gosh, my father had a public anger problem!
Sam Wilson October 26, 2012 at 10:16 PM
It's nice to see that Bob Streit has left the "band of thugs" and is doing the right thing by questioning village expenses. Alex O talks high and mighty when he blames Dave of misusing taxpayer money, but when the spotlight is turned on him, he can't take it... What goes around comes around.
James Manning October 27, 2012 at 06:04 AM
I need a scorecard now Who is with who now?? The Mayor and Trustee Quinlan now support a trustee who has turned his back on all his former supporters,campaigned against them,,worked behind the scenes try and have the mayor arrested,thawrted the mayors petition drive to get rid of the village manager form of government,kicked the Mayors hand -picked opponent against him in 2011 off the ballot. Why is Trustee Streit doing this?? Does he want his buddy Dennis Brennan to cash in on the beatty property development?? What about his new electrical aggregation buisiness?? Why is Dave working with a person who can't be trusted and what do his supporters think?? This is the best Oak Lawn has these snakes?? No wonder no one votes. Watch your backs fellas
manningthecon October 28, 2012 at 01:41 PM
who let you out? I thought on just saw you on the news!
Jim Vertucci October 28, 2012 at 10:09 PM
Don't know enough about Trausche, Alex and Phelan are cocky douches. Duhig a fkn mope. Streit a loudmouth. Quinlan a push over do nothing. Manager a crook and Mayor has no tail bone. Clean em all out.
4624 October 29, 2012 at 01:21 PM
You forgot to mention 4620. In my opinion, 4620 is a loser who has never accomplished anything and doesn't have the guts to put everything on the line to run for office. 4620 lacks the ability to get along with others and wouldn't be able to intellectualize the issues in any case.
4622 October 29, 2012 at 02:05 PM
4620 is a Hurckes supporter what do you expect???
anthony November 01, 2012 at 08:56 PM
i caught the meeting last night. Your comment is spot on! Absolutely shameful 4 headed monster ..


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