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THE BLADE: Heilmann's Gang of 4 and the 'Quality Control 3'

Moon moves into the seventh house and Jupiter aligns with Mars at May 22 Oak Lawn Village Board meeting. (Watch the raw video of the end of Mayor Heilmann's and Trustee Phelan's argument.)

Not since the —when Oak Lawn trustees and the mayor battled their way through the Feb. 8, 2011 board agenda—have we witnessed such dramatics at a village board meeting as we did on May 22.

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It all started peaceably enough with the mayor handing out awards to some civic-minded Brownies who lobbied the village to repair a sidewalk by their school. The mayor was hotter than a standup comic at Riddles, joking with the girls and feigning shock whenever he called the name of an absent Brownie. It was Dave Heilmann at his best, starring in the role of Oak Lawn Mayor.

So it was probably wise that the Brownies left early before the meeting got fully underway, because by the end of the evening I felt as if I wandered into an old Bette Davis movie.

The warm-up act was the conclusion of the recent legal settlement with the former, former village attorneys, Tressler, Soderstrom, Maloney and Preiss. After accepting , the village board voted unanimously to keep their mouths shut about what the village's special counsel may have dug up in his investigation, if anything.

The mayor to hear the final report from Godfrey and Kahn until trustees had a chance to read it. It's still up in the air whether such a session will be scheduled.

Village Manager Larry Deetjen glanced at Patch when he reminded board members of their responsibility to abide by the confidentiality agreement. Trustees unanimously approved the mayor's motion.

But the main act was the village presidents’ report where we watched the After seven years of holding the same board committee positions, which Trustee Tom Phelan (Dist. 6) complained that trustees did not receive until 30 minutes before the village board meeting.

Thus ensued sparring that came out of a Hollywood script, with the mayor hurling accusations at the Dist. 6 trustee of almost costing the village its bond rating, as well as personally negotiating vendor contracts and excluding certain elected officials from the VIP tent at Fall on the Green. (I got into the VIP tent just fine with a minimal amount of groveling.)

Watch the raw video of the sparring.

The mayor said he had received complaints from “livid” village staff members about Phelan’s alleged micromanaging.

Trustee Alex Olejniczak (Dist. 2) was similarly skewered by the mayor in the Southtown-Star, whom Heilmann accused of tampering with police reports to "protect friends." (The said cover-upped report was found in the press pile at the

Twice the mayor was the tie-breaking vote, first denying Phelan’s motion to table the board committee recommendations, and then to approve his own recommendations, backed by his ally, Trustee Carol Quinlan (Dist. 5), and Trustees Cindy Trautsch (Dist. 1) and Bob Streit (Dist. 3).

Olejniczak and Phelan saw themselves removed of their high-profile committee positions and banished to the Quality Control Committee which hasn’t met in six years. Olejniczak was removed as police liaison and the public works committee with Trautsch taking over both slots.

Phelan was relieved of his duties as the fire department liaison and the special events committee, now assumed by Quinlan and Streit, respectively.

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Rounding out the ‘Quality Control 3’ is Trustee Tom Duhig, A few weeks ago, Duhig warned fellow board members and residents

“Anyone could have said something in the last six months,” Heilmann said the next day. “I don’t know what they expected last night. They forced [former Dist. 1 trustee] Jerry Hurckes out for three years.”

The mayor said Trautsch needed something to do, as did Duhig, who hasn’t been assigned to a board committee since being elected in 2009.

Asked if phone calls had been placed prior to the last week’s village board meeting, Quinlan, the newly assigned liaison to the beleaguered , said the mayor “mentioned it in passing.”

“He said he needed to look at committees and that’s about it,” Quinlan said, adding that she had no idea what function the quality control committee served.

The most bizarre votes cast that evening were by Streit, who a year ago, in the wake of the Odelson Report told Patch:

With the new “Gang of 4,” Heilmann has the votes, including his own, to fire the village manager, as “the cost of doing business in Oak Lawn.” An alternative was ultimately turned down by Advocate Christ,

Last December, the mayor had proposed tabling both ordinances after the medical center claimed it knew nothing of the village’s parking tax plan. Heilmann was voted down by the old “Gang of 4”—Streit, Olejniczak, Phelan, and Duhig.

Earlier this month, at Advocate Christ's Salute gala that raised a record-breaking $1.5 million for modernization of the medical center.

Regarding his “vendor contract negotiations,” Phelan says he worked with village business director Chad Weiler in “streamlining costs for bands” that performed at Fall on the Green.

"You will find ZERO, nada, none of me or my name on any contract for our special events,” Phelan said in an email. “Each and every one was signed by our village managers or perhaps one of their designees.”

In addition to the Quality Control 3, Phelan has been reassigned to the technology committee, a role in which I believe he will be extremely effective. (Put me back on your list, bro.)

Phelan can start by spearheading a redesign of the village’s hideous web site. A search function and directory of village staff members’ phone extensions and email addresses would be a nice start.

In the words of Bette Davis, with the next consolidated election fast approaching, "fasten your seatbelts because it’s going to be a bumpy ride."

In Phelan's warped mind May 30, 2012 at 12:41 PM
Several points here should be made. Obviously the author has a "great source" in Mr. Phelan. The author denigrates the Mayor by saying he was "starring in the role of Oak Lawn Mayor". Then she goes on in a phelanesque way to opine: "With the new “Gang of 4,” Heilmann has the votes, including his own, to fire the village manager, who has proposed charging Advocate Christ a community health services fee as “the cost of doing business in Oak Lawn.” An alternative optional plan to charge a parking tax fee was ultimately turned down by Advocate Christ, which now offers free visitor parking The only problem with that opinion is that nobody has mentioned doing that at the board table. Lorraine admits she was in a VIP tent for sponsors! Hello, can anyone say conflict?
fred wiese May 30, 2012 at 02:05 PM
It looks like the larryd followers are having a fear bubble on how they can protect thelarryd. The Mayor is getting people in place that he feels will care about all of the Oak Lawn citizens. Please keep the heat on for the foreseeable future. Thanks
Oak Lawn Gal May 30, 2012 at 02:38 PM
I'd STILL like to know what Bob Streit is getting out of this new alliance.
tmarc75 May 30, 2012 at 03:10 PM
Forgive my ignorance, but are these meetings open to the public?
Oak Lawn Dude May 30, 2012 at 03:20 PM
Maybe it isn't a new alliance. Maybe the parties just agreed that Tommy Boy should be replaced.
Oak Lawn Dude May 30, 2012 at 03:22 PM
I was thinking the same thing.
Oak Lawn Gal May 30, 2012 at 03:30 PM
It wasn't just Phelan though. They pulled Alex from his committees too.
Tony S May 30, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Dave H took it to them direct. He is committed to Oak Lawn future. Yes he a machine. But other wise he seems to be ok for business in Oak Lawn and is not closed minded like the other towns. I want a better Village and expect only the best from our board members.
OakLawnGuy May 30, 2012 at 03:53 PM
Yes! Held every other Tuesday at 7:30 in Village Hall, except during the summer when they occur once a month.
OakLawnGuy May 30, 2012 at 03:55 PM
I'm thinking this is not an alliance but an arrangement. The "victors" each got something they wanted. I really think it's that simple.
Oak Lawn Gal May 30, 2012 at 05:15 PM
It's possible. We won't know until there's another key vote where they pick sides again.
Oak Lawn Homegirl May 30, 2012 at 06:55 PM
After watching the video it seems less of a Bette Davis drama and more of "Much Ado About Nothing". All the drama is in the writing.
fred wiese May 30, 2012 at 07:36 PM
Good call
osp May 30, 2012 at 08:28 PM
What is king farouk talking about when he says "they forced jerry hurckes out for three years"? Wan't he part of the" they " back then? I've said it before and i will say it again Heilman is nothing but an actor.
Steve S. May 30, 2012 at 10:13 PM
Why is everyone surprised when political shenanigans happen in Oak Lawn, I need a scorecard to tell who is with who on a weekly basis. They are all hypocrites and out for themselves. We need to get rid of the entire board, so the new board can do the same thing!!! Never changes.
Sandra Bury May 31, 2012 at 01:42 AM
Dave H, can you please expand your thoughts for me on how you feel Mayor Heilmann is good for business in Oak Lawn? Thank you!
OakLawnGuy May 31, 2012 at 01:13 PM
I'd be interested in hearing from both sides regarding how Mr. Heilmann does nothing for businesses in town or how he promotes it along with new business. People toss "good for" and "bad for" statements back and forth with few details for those of us who are not involved in an Oak Lawn business.
Sandra Bury May 31, 2012 at 01:21 PM
Whooops. My comment was for Tony S. This eye doc needs to wear her readers more. My apologies.
Sam Wilson May 31, 2012 at 03:05 PM
I agree with Oaklawnguy. It really is that simple.
Sam Wilson May 31, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Steve, I like the board as it is. I wouldn't want a "yes' board that agrees all of the time. Everyone up there on the stage believes they have something to bring to the table, and the voters who put them into office agree. It's great to watch. Uncomfortable at times, yes, but at the end of the day, each side is keeping the other side honest.
Sandra Bury June 01, 2012 at 01:28 PM
Since I haven’t heard back from Tony S. as to why Heilmann is “ok for business” in Oak Lawn, I’ll start the discussion that OakLawnGuy has requested. I’ve been a director with the Oak Lawn Chamber of Commerce since the days when Mayor Kolb would attend nearly every meeting. As a small business owner it meant a lot to me that I could attend a monthly luncheon with him (and other village officials) and discuss things that were a concern in the community. There was a strong connection, bond and ongoing conversation. There was a visible interest in what was going on in the trenches. Once Dave Heilmann became Mayor, that free and good communication slammed to a halt. (The exception is Village Clerk Jane Quinlan who regularly attends meetings. As a result, there is genuine love for her in the business community.) His only interest in attending meetings seems to be when he is the star, such as his State of the Village address. There is just no dialog, and this weakens the business community.
Sandra Bury June 01, 2012 at 01:28 PM
As a small business owner, I have seen him only interested in large corporate concerns rather than the small . When a decades old mom and pop business posted a sign in their window directly across from Village Hall that they were closing, if Mayor Heilmann noticed, he didn’t call to see what the issues were. Small business issues in Oak Lawn don’t cross his mind. There are significant and real concerns to be vented and worked on together. Without strong Village partnerships, small businesses are treading water to stay afloat. It could be so much better. Oak Lawn deserves better. Small businesses are what give Oak Lawn its unique flavor and keep our community vibrant. They should be supported, not ignored.
QC June 03, 2012 at 03:32 PM
QC3? Heh heh heh.... Where's andy?

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