Village Board Adopts New Rules of Engagement

A divisive proposal to add more Robert's Rules of Order to Oak Lawn's municipal code gets nod by new board majority.

The mayor flexed his new board majority and to curb “unnecessary fighting” during village board meetings.

Mayor Dave Heilmann presented a draft of proposed changes to the “Rules of Order,” at last month’s village board meeting. Title I, Section 6-5, Rules and Order of the village code are based on Robert’s Rules of Order, long considered the gold standard for running meetings effectively and fairly.

Sign up for the Oak Lawn Patch newsletter and breaking news alerts.

Not everyone was happy with the amendment, which

Dr. Sandra Bury, a business owner and community activist, criticized the proposed amendment at Tuesday’s Oak Lawn Village Board meeting—calling them “Dave’s Rules.”

“It’s really a violation of democracy,” Bury said. “Mr. Mayor, please take ‘Dave’s Rules’ and file them away somewhere for a long time.”

Trustees agreed to removing the word “political” from one of the mayor’s rules, concerning the placement of items on the agenda “which [may be] designed for any obstructive, improper or political purpose.”

“In fairness to the criticism in the vagueness of that term, I respect that criticism,” Heilmann said. “I understand the vagueness.”

Trustees were provided with a side-by-side comparison of the mayor’s draft alongside the respective Robert’s Rule. The rule to placing items on the agenda also gives the chair of the village board president the authority to remove such items if the chair suspects one or more board members are using parliamentary procedure for “obstructive purposes.”

Trustee Tom Phelan (Dist. 6) said he didn’t disagree with the idea to maintain control and decorum, but expressed concern about a member prohibiting a concept, issue, audit or investigation from being placed on the agenda by virtue of one person having aboard majority.

Follow Oak Lawn Patch on Facebook.

“That is actually counter to what Robert’s Rules and our democracy stands for,” Phelan said. “At the end of the day we have to vigorously debate issues and ideas … we try our best not to get out of control and overreact but obviously we’re all passionate people.”

Calling the draft “chilling,” Phelan added, “as mayor you could say I consider it obstructive and improper. What’s our discourse, who do we appeal to?”

Provided more than one trustee supports the placement of items on the board agenda, village board members are currently permitted add any matter on the agenda.

“I don’t disagree with you,” Heilmann told Phelan. “The idea is for anything obstructive. The village president can’t say ‘you can’t put that on the agenda. How do we get a 4-2 majority to address that?”

The village board also quibbled over a new addition mandating that any PowerPoint or audio-video presentation by a board, staff or third party wishes to have displayed at board meeting be sent to all village board members in advance.

Heilmann said the measure was designed to eliminate “surprises.”

Trustee Carol Quinlan (Dist. 5) thought the addition protected the board minority, although she felt materials for display at board members could be included in the board’s packet the Friday preceding board meetings.

“When I was very much in the board majority there were several times a PowerPoint came to this board that I knew nothing about until a sudden a screen comes down and information is give out,” Quinlan said. “It was very obvious that the board majority did now about it.”

Heilamnn said the idea was to restrict anything that might cross the line to be discussed at the board table.

“You’ve done a good job of keeping boxers in their corner,” Trustee Tom Duhig (Dist. 4) told the mayor. “I hated to see impassioned discussion squashed. I’d rather see that than a bunch of bobbleheads. Let’s keep the ten commandments as is.”

“I don’t know which meetings you’ve been sitting through,” Quinlan quipped.

The Oak Lawn Village Board passed the new rules 4-3. Phelan, Duhig and Trustee Alex Olejniczak (Dist. 2) were the dissenting votes.


Garbage August 16, 2012 at 04:42 PM
Grunty – What world do you live in? “This is our city, and we are all on the same team here.” I’m sure that King Dave and his 3 stooges are on a different team as the rest of the Board. Now that the King has the majority of votes (including his) he is ramming issues through that give him more power which he needs to continue to boost his ego. He is an actor and lawyer and he needs the spot light. He has been at odds with the Board ever since he lost keeping his buddies as the village attorneys. He has created a power grab and now he is positioning himself and his stooges for the election next year. Wouldn’t be surprised if he already has someone in mind to replace the Manager after said election. His interests are for him and not the village. How many meetings has he missed for rehearsals on his pet acting career? Photo ops is all he cares about. And sure Carol would be “disturbed” about the Odelson report. It was surely directed at her leader. They are an embarrassment to this village!
Grunty August 16, 2012 at 05:14 PM
I live in a world where I think people can have an intelligent discussion without insulting each other.
andy skoundrianos August 16, 2012 at 05:48 PM
Sad day for Oak Lawn I'm probably the only resident who blogs here that has watched board meetings for 20 years. Meetings back in the day were a lot worse than any meetings the board has now.Mayor Heilmann has never liked the village manager form of government. His group failed miserably to get a referendum on the ballot to eliminate the village manager form of government Oak Lawn has had for 57 years. He wants total control of everything. The fact of the matter is this.. as Board president the Mayor chairs the meeting,he controls it,and can call anyone out for breaking the rules!!. If these meetings became unruly,the Mayor himself is to blame for it happening. He could have stopped this years ago but he didn't. Now that an election is coming up here comes " Dave's Rules " What is next Dave?? Going back to censoring public comments and arresting residents that don't follow " Dave's Rules " too ?? Democracy ends in silence..
Oaklawntaxpayer August 16, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Sandra, If Roberts Rules of Order are good enough, why have they been abandoned in fact by so many legislatures? The truth is that the board has never strictly followed Roberts Rules and in any case, do you think that a document from the 1800's has any bearing on life today? Power Points weren't even invented when robert made his rules. Apparently there must not be much difference between these rules and Roberts Rules because wasn't that the big concern at the last meeting. I thought your boys claimed that there were huge differences. Now that they've actually realize that assertion is wrong they are resorting to name calling and quips about the theater. Oh so did you. How very Mayoral of you young lady!
OakLawnGuy August 16, 2012 at 06:03 PM
Hey everyone, there's an election coming up. Instead of mourning the passing of Democracy as you know it, practice Democracy as it is, and vote for the candidates of your choice. Heck, run for office if that's your goal! It matters not who you vote for, but if there is another 20% or less turnout in a municipal election, that will just be plain ol sad.
anthony August 16, 2012 at 09:56 PM
Whats the penality for violating said codes of conduct? Can Public speakers violate these codes of conduct? Can public speakers directly question board members since they cannot directly question each other.. Anything a trustee feels he is stifiled from saying a public commentator is not subject..
anthony August 16, 2012 at 10:11 PM
Big time..... Mr Streit came up wih a serious catch phrase in forensic audit.. Anyone who has no financial or political interests would consider voting for a person that exspouses a complete overall forensic audit... Seniors even... I must confess i will re use the phrase 'leave the ten commandants as is"
swaymart32 August 16, 2012 at 11:47 PM
Tommy boy with a muzzle? He will blow up like Augustas Gloop!
QC August 17, 2012 at 12:03 AM
OLT That would be way to drastic of a change for them. Look what just telling them that they have to take turns to speak and behave has turned into.
QC August 17, 2012 at 12:08 AM
Sandy Before long you'll be choking on those "Kudos". I cannot believe you're still in bed with those slime balls! What goes around.....
QC August 17, 2012 at 12:14 AM
Phelan You're just ticked off because You got took, as they say. Be a man take Your Medicine and shut the heck up. Then call a therapist
QC August 17, 2012 at 12:24 AM
seems to me li'l andy that they have been repeatedly "called out" for breaking the Rules and their response to it has been basically, flipping him the bird! Their continued attacks on Heilmann and Carol Quinlan are Bizzare to say the least. I fthe meetings were going the WAY that they SHOULD HAVE (Civilized) there would be No need for the change, correct?? PS Is Bob mad at you, or just lying in the weeds for now??
What??? August 17, 2012 at 01:48 AM
Dear swaymart32, whosi Augustus Gloop<
What??? August 17, 2012 at 01:51 AM
Andy get another drum will ya. that ones worn out
QC?? August 17, 2012 at 03:35 AM
QC do you ever think The Mayor does anything wrong?? Oh wait you wouldn't criticize yourself.... too much of a narcissist aren't ya Dave??
andy skoundrianos August 17, 2012 at 04:10 AM
What are you talking about QC?? Dave never has run the meetings well.He constantly breaks his own rules esp. when it benefits him and his enemies are being attacked. This is all for the camera anyways Dave is afraid of the election coming up and doesn't want any " surprises " wink wink. Never has Roberts rules of order been tweaked to benefit the majority, if that was true why didn't the gang of four as you called them change the rules two years ago?? Man it would have been fun if you saw some of the trustees threatening each other and asking for fist fights of course those weren't on TV. Must remember IMAGE is EVERYTHING with the King. Oh yeah are you mad with Dave for working with Bob?? You know he backed a candidate against Bob just a year ago.
andy skoundrianos August 17, 2012 at 04:12 AM
I prefer a Drum Works double bass kit if you want to buy it!! What???
Sandra Bury August 17, 2012 at 04:49 AM
Oaklawntaxpayer: The last version of Robert’s Rules was published in 2011. It’s the 11th edition. Could a document from the 1800s have any bearing on life today?Absolutely. And how about an even older one - like the US Constitution? Seems relevant to me! Points 6 to 10 were Robert’s Rules. Point 11 starts to get creative. Points 12, 13, 14 and 15 definitely shifted to Dave’s Rules. It was not the 95% Robert’s Rules that Mayor Heilmann represented it to be to the Board of Trustees and the residents. Not by a longshot. It’s a sign of weakness to be deceptive: weak character, weak position and a tremulously weak man.
What??? August 18, 2012 at 12:14 AM
Dear Andy I'm at Toys R Us, what aisle is that in???
Grunty August 18, 2012 at 12:52 AM
What??, They are in the isle closest to the video games on the north side of the store. Your welcome, I. M. Grunty
Tommy's Mommy August 18, 2012 at 12:55 AM
Hey garbage- pay backs a beach haven't you heard? LMAO
Tommy's Mommy August 18, 2012 at 12:58 AM
Deep Andy~really really deep.
andy skoundrianos August 18, 2012 at 03:33 AM
Aisle 6 What??
andy skoundrianos August 18, 2012 at 03:36 AM
Wait I thought that Dave likes Bob now maybe Maybe Dave got rid of the so-called tapes??
umpaloompa August 19, 2012 at 03:12 AM
Dr. Sandy, Is your job to post on this internet rag? Can you try a different picture-hands on the hips indicate an aggressive posture. Also, 'Dave's Rules????' I know you think that was clever, but it is not. Please let us know if you're running for mayor or are you trying to take over where Myrna left off???
Sandra Bury August 19, 2012 at 05:28 AM
Hey umpa - the photo's not going to change anytime soon. At least it's my own identity. Just sayin...
ken crosby August 19, 2012 at 06:05 PM
The Mayor of Oak Lawn thinks hes king and changes the very constution i went to multipal wars to defend. I got a 50.00 ticket and never got a chance to give my side. I went to pay my fine and brought up the fact i didnt get a day in court i was told you live in a rental property so your fine sticks ordered by the mayor
OakLawnGuy August 20, 2012 at 12:03 PM
What was your infraction?
QC August 21, 2012 at 04:27 PM
OLG Looks like ken?LOL just wanted to slam the mayor, doesn't want any questions. go figure.
anthony August 21, 2012 at 05:03 PM
Honestly go with the electric drums... No offense to anyone the bands could be professional musicians not garage guys that want to get a gig(the whole rock band thing is so dated )


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something