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Phelan Says Proposed Rules Give Mayor 'Too Much Authority'

Oak Lawn trustees postpone voting on mayor's proposed amendment to bring order and decorum back to village board meetings because of "subjective" language.

Mayor Dave Heilmann’s were viewed by some as an attempt to silence trustees who disagreed with the board majority.

voted to postpone adopting a proposed amendment introducing additional Robert's Rules to the village code that the mayor claims will get board meetings back on track and limit "unnecessary fighting." 

View the mayor's document of the proposed revised amendment.

Some felt that "subjective" language gave the chair or mayor too much authority in deciding  whether items placed on the agenda are obstructive, improper or to further political purposes.

Starting with the public comments at Tuesday’s village board meeting, Dr. Sandra Bury attacked the proposed amendment as giving the mayor “sole authority” to control what is said and debated at village board meetings.

“This is not democracy,” Bury said, offering her comment as a resident and business owner. “Under the guise of preventing unnecessary fighting what you’re proposing tonight would completely silence the legal and proper representation of the taxpayers that might want to debate or explore issues that which you solely determine to be obstructive, improper and political.”

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Trustee Bob Streit (Dist. 3) called out Bury’s rumored political candidacy for the village board in the 2013 municipal election.

“It’s one thing to stand up and criticize the board as a resident, “ Streit said, “but I think in fairness you should also identify yourself as a person who has been meeting to run as a candidate with Trustee [Alex] Olejniczak because that would be truthful.”

Heilmann explained that the nine new additions he is proposing to be added to the municipal code affecting village board meetings are based on Robert’s Rules of Order, with exception of a rule limiting board members’ remarks to five minutes.

Trustee Tom Phelan (Dist. 6) expressed “serious concerns” moved to table the amendment.

“This is a government body that is here to debate. That’s the nature of the business,” Phelan said. “This is a business meeting that involves taxpayer money. People will disagree and when they disagree, there’s going to be debate and occasionally it’s not going to be pleasant.”

While he applauded the intent, Phelan complained that the proposed rules contained too much subjective language and subverted the manager-council form of government by giving too much authority to the village board president.

“The manager-council form of government doesn’t change this assembly,” Pehlan said. “You are telling us that you’re going to decide for us if something we want to talk about it political.”

Heilmann said that he wasn’t trying to repress public debate because the “rules already existed.”

“I’m not trying to impose my will on anybody,” the mayor continued. “The problem is that his board has too much fighting that is outside of what we’re supposed to be doing.”

admitted that he hadn’t had a chance to go over the mayor’s proposed amendment because he had just gotten back from vacation. He said the correct procedure was to postpone taking a vote indefinitely or until a certain date.

“I do agree that most of this looks like the rules have been lifted right out of Robert’s Rules, but you must ensure that the rules do not create an imbalance between the branches of government,” O’Grady said. “[The rules] must ensure that the rights of those in the minority aren’t trampled. That’s all you have to do.”

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Do you think the proposed additions to the village code affecting rules and order hinder debate and freedom of speech? Tell us in the comments.

 

GGGGG July 13, 2012 at 01:10 PM
I give Sandy credit for being a woman who speaks her mind and isn't afraid to fight city hall. You. Go. Girl!
OakLawnGuy July 13, 2012 at 01:47 PM
Yeah you pretty much dodged my question. The meetings will come under the Mayor's iron gavel only if the trustees allow them to do so. "Speak freely" to me means staying on subject, not rebutting with a "well, yeah, you want this Dave but you did this to me". If a trustee comes back against an issue or agenda item he or she is opposed to with some cogent facts and even-handed commentary, and is struck down, I'll be among the first to object.
QC July 13, 2012 at 03:17 PM
Sounds like Phelan is running Sandy's campaign, just like he did Quattrocki's against Carol Quinlan! Vicious, Vile, & Venomous are 3 more V words that describe Phelan's tactics. Watch out Sandy, you don't know what you've signed up for.
QC July 13, 2012 at 03:31 PM
sb You have just described Tom Phelan to a T! As a matter of fact Tom, I'll bet you're looking adoringly in your mirror as you Post. Poster All of your lying and exaggerations are stupid at best. Show the proof or stop throwing out garbage!
QC?? July 13, 2012 at 04:45 PM
OLG. You usually have some interesting blogs on here. I always thought you were independent, but your latest entries make me seem to think you are now solidly in the Mayor's camp. If you think Alex and Tom were the main culprits of the fighting,I guess you haven't been watching the meetings for a long time.The mayor and all the trustees have engaged in fighting at one time or another.Back in 2009 and 2010 4 trustees were usually engaged in arguments with the Mayor and they got pretty heated. Now that alliances are shifted,people forget about those days!! I agree that Dave is responsible for engaging in these " debates" Passions sometimes overrules rational behavior.The trustees are human beings emotions run high sometimes, But to say that certain trustees never present constructive arguments or opinions, is a great disservice to our elected officials in Oak Lawn
OakLawnGuy July 13, 2012 at 05:20 PM
Well, no one's innocent, and I've commented as such in the past. I am in no one's camp, but I do believe that the two trustees I mentioned are the catalysts for most of the bickering that's gone on during these meetings. If their rebuttals are constructive, they are often masked in vitriol. I said that the "majority of comments" from these two have been counter-productive, not all of them. Just my view, though, yknow. To assume I haven't "been watching the meetings for a long time" is presumptuous, but, you got your POV, I got mine.
anthony July 13, 2012 at 05:29 PM
The “rules already existed.” Than how come the village attorney and the trustees need to brush up on said rules ? Its looked like no one in the meeting has ever seen them before...
anthony July 13, 2012 at 05:47 PM
Maybe a sexist statement. But i love a woman with a Firm Resolve..
anthony July 13, 2012 at 08:17 PM
To her credit Trustee Trautsch wanted to the forensic audit for all departments That idea struck some fear.... The idea that 20k is "to much" but 5k is ok after sepnding whats the figure 500k is a joke.. They called for the audit Now the residents want it But for all departments
OakLawnGuy July 13, 2012 at 08:23 PM
Good point, I forgot about that suggestion. Good idea.
QC July 13, 2012 at 10:11 PM
Whipping Oak Lawn Into a Pre-Election Frenzy Tips, twaddle and tales from the campaign trail as reported from the Oak Lawn Patch field office at Huck Finn Donuts. By Lorraine Swanson April 1, 2011 April 4, 2:27 a.m. You Be the Judge Pete Quattrocchi’s campaign run by Phelan http://oaklawn.patch.com/articles/welcome-to-the-oak-lawn-election-log
Garbage July 14, 2012 at 12:37 AM
King Dave is on another power move. He wants absolute authority and since he didn’t get the referendum because of fraudulent signatures this is another route. He wants to be the King and the Manager and do it all so he can get more photo ops. I didn’t see most of you casting your opinions when the discussions with the former Trustee from District 1 were going on. Just recently since King Dave was not getting his way. Interesting how his opinion of his former running mates changed when it was decided to change law firms. He didn’t want the rules changed but an election is coming up and he will silence any voices he doesn’t want to be heard. Now with his 3 puppets he wants it all. And don’t forget he casts the deciding vote on ties. King, lawyer, actor and manager of the Village resting with one person. Looks like the old Soviet Union. Do as I say – cause that is the way I want it. And many of you don’t like Sandy or Andy because they are not pawns and speak what is seen and heard at the Board meetings.
minnie pearl July 14, 2012 at 01:25 AM
give it up tom boy it just aint a workin. way to much garbage an yer just blowin inta that there wind
minnie pearl July 14, 2012 at 01:32 AM
hey anthony here i am and i got me alot of that there fern resolive call me but dont yall thik yer gittin sexist or anythin
anthony July 14, 2012 at 01:39 AM
After remembering Minnie Pearl Now i know where that leaving the shiny stickers on the basball cap comes from..Some sort of status that it was bought at a store.... Yea that lady was quite a character
anthony July 14, 2012 at 01:40 AM
Something for Mr Skound can tease his wife with 4 sure....
Sandra Bury July 14, 2012 at 05:50 AM
Oak Lawn Guy: Please read this from Mayor Heilmann’s proposed amendments to our Municipal Code: “12. Board Members shall not request for placement on the agenda any matter which designed for any obstructive, improper or political purpose. Whenever the chair becomes convinced that one or more members are using parliamentary forms or agenda items for obstructive purposes, the chairman should either not recognize those members or rule that such motions are out of order.” This gives Mayor Heilmann complete control of the agenda. Who gets to say what is “obstructive, improper or political?” Only Mayor Heilmann. If a single Trustee disagrees, there is no recourse. If every single Trustee disagrees, oh well. The emperor has spoken. For example, if Mayor Heilmann doesn’t care to endure discussion or concerns that his attorney friends allegedly overbilled the taxpayers to the tune of millions of dollars, it can be stricken from the agenda as too “political.” It now becomes one of those philosophical questions: If a tree falls in a forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound? If alleged wrong doing can be prevented from being openly discussed, does this mean it never happened? Someone seems to think so.
Sandra Bury July 14, 2012 at 05:50 AM
It’s an absolute outrage that he would ask such a thing of our Trustees. One can only hope they stand united against his suggestion that they lay down their authority in subservience to the subjective opinions of one man. This afternoon, I received yet another denial of my Freedom of Information Act Request concerning the alleged over-billing by Tressler. This will be fought to the fullest extent of the law. The people of Oak Lawn WILL learn what is going on with their tax dollars behind closed doors. This brazenly offensive confidentiality clause which hides and obscures the truth from the taxpayers who foot the bills will not stand against the challenge of the people’s right to know the truth about their elected officials. If alleged wrong doing can be prevented from being seen in this fashion, does this mean it never happened? Perhaps only in the wishful thinking of a very insecure elected official.
anthony July 14, 2012 at 06:36 PM
http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/m/minnie_pearl.html
anthony July 14, 2012 at 06:37 PM
yea i am thinking wwmpd
anthony July 14, 2012 at 06:38 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-35TqgqL1_w
Buryed in a landslide July 15, 2012 at 11:31 AM
Glad bob outed Sandra bury for meeting with Alex plotting mayoral campaign. It'll be fun seeing Andy and Sandy waddling around town putting up her yard signs. Andy lumbering up to the podium is a comical sight, it only gets funnier when he starts speaking. What's up with the MSU shirt? Then sandy reading her prepared remarks because she can't do a 3 minute speech off the cuff. Hardly mayoral material.
Buryed in a landslide July 15, 2012 at 11:41 AM
Hey Garbage, I don't like Sandy because she's disingenuous and only attacks the mayor. She's got nothing else to say. Renaming the metra station looks like a political stunt since she unofficially began her campaign for mayor just afterward. Her campaign fodder next spring will be garbage. She's got nothing to bring to local government. I don't like Andy because he just gripes and does the bidding of Bob, Tom, and Alex....well, maybe not Bob anymore. Andy spouts off constantly about Dave, but has nothing to say about fall on the green? No credibility.
Sandra Bury July 15, 2012 at 12:36 PM
It makes me laugh that Streit said that. Isn't this America? Since when is meeting to talk about issues in America considered a bad thing? (Ask Streit how my meeting with him went, by the way.) It’s like something from the Nazi play book: “She is dangerous. She is having secret meetings. Follow her. Find out who her friends are!” When the Mayor didn’t gavel Trustee Streit down for speaking out of order but gaveled my response, do you think that could be political? Then minutes later he proposes these municipal code modifications that could silence our elected representatives at will for what HE subjectively thinks is political. Not good. So. Since he gaveled down my comments, here’s what I was going to say. “This is America and I don’t have to ask Bob Streit or anyone for permission to meet. I will meet with anyone who cares about what’s going on in Oak Lawn and stands for ethics, transparency and is willing to put Oak Lawn resident’s interests above their own.” With Streit’s attack on Freedom of Assembly and the Heilmann’s attack on Freedom of Speech (both within about 10 seconds of each other!) it makes me wonder what they are so afraid of. Could it be something like truth, honesty, transparency and a belief that government should represent the interest of the taxpayers who foot the bills?
andy skoundrianos July 15, 2012 at 04:42 PM
I still love you landslide!!
District 666 Resident July 15, 2012 at 05:02 PM
Sandy, You should read the story. Didn't Streit say that you should be transparent and admit to everyone that you've been discussing running for Mayor with Alex O? I assume he meant you, and not Alex, are the candidate for Mayor. In any case, I think the point was lost on your prepared political comeback no doubt drafted by Tommy Boy. You can meet with whoever you want and discuss whatever you want. I don't think Streit wants you to call him to ask permission. But all of us deserve some transparency from you when you inject yourself into politics. Don't call yourself an activist. Call yourself what you are, a candidate for Mayor (unless you defer to Alex and run for Trustee).
Grunty July 16, 2012 at 04:49 PM
And thus, Godwin's law proves itself yet again... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin's_law
QC July 17, 2012 at 07:15 PM
GGGGG You mean speaks Phelan & Oly's minds!!!! "I'll take ethics and democracy" LOL Ms Bury Your handlers can't even spell Ethics. Or Integrity. Or Honesty let alone practice them. I can't believe you're drinking their cool-aide!!! Don't you get the fact that these changes HAD to be made directly because of your friends?? The meetings were totally out of control, purposefully, because of their sandbox antics. They do their damnedest to make the others look bad, especially Heilmann as we all know, then they say "Look he's supposed to control these meetings and he can't!" So.... damned if you do and damned if you don't. Better to DO and add Decorum back into the mix!!! PS: Don't think that IF you got IN they would be better to YOU!! Never Happen. They're using you as their Fool.
anthony August 01, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Thinking the Open Meetings Act as a State law Trumps any rules of decorum
anthony August 01, 2012 at 08:05 PM
oops my fault thought the meeting was tonight

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