The often-divided Oak Lawn Village Board was united in praise for outgoing Trustee Carol Quinlan, who received a standing ovation from the board and the audience as she stepped down at Tuesday’s meeting after representing the 5th District for eight years.
At the often rough-and-tumble meetings in recent years, Quinlan has been known to trade barbs with fellow board members. She and Trustee Robert Streit (3rd) formed the minority bloc on the board for the past two years since Mayor Sandra Bury took office. Quinlan called a Bury “a piece of work” after one heated exchange last year. But Quinlan was magnanimous in her closing remarks, thanking constituents and past and present board members, and village staff, she worked with over the years, including Bury. The mayor presented her with a plaque in honor of her years of service to the village.
Quinlan also thanked her predecessor, former 5th District trustee Marjorie Joy, who was in the audience.
“You have all at times challenged me, frustrated me, helped me and taught me. I know we have all had the best interests of residents in mind, and have worked hard for the betterment of Oak Lawn,” she told the board. “I’ve worked hard these past eight years for every resident, not just the 5th District. And I’ve met such caring residents I am humbled by your support for me, and I can only hope I did justice to my job as trustee.”
Of Village Manager Larry Deetjen, whom she has also tangled with, Quinlan said, “I know you put in countless hours of work. You have dealt with many strong points of view and I understand that can be difficult.”
She also thanked newly elected Trustee William “Bill” Stalker (5th), who was sworn in at the meeting, for agreeing to run for the office.
“I feel much better stepping down, knowing that you will be representing the district here.” She said.
Quinlan concluded by thanking her husband, Joe, and sons, Connor and Matt, for their love and support.
“I know this hasn’t always been easy on you,” she told them publicly.
“It has been a pleasure working with Carol,” said Trustee Robert Streit (3rd) of Quinlan, his closest ally on the board, and his only one for the past two years. “She has always been a bright spot on this board…thoughtful, deliberative and respectful. As a lifelong resident and mother [who chose to raise her family here], she brought a passion that will be hard to be replaced.”
“And she will be remembered as a champion of the original vision of the Stony Creek Promenade,” he added, getting a last dig in about what has become a bone of contention between the two of them and the rest of the board regarding the types of businesses now going into the retail development at 111th Street and Cicero Avenue.
He and Quinlan contend that the original plan for an upscale plaza is not being realized.
“Carol has given eight great years to the district, and has served the people of Oak Lawn well. She set high standards and her attention to detail will be hard to match,” said Stalker. “I promise to serve you well. We live in a great community that has a few problems, but none that we can’t solve,” he continued.
In addition to Stalker being sworn in at the meeting, the newly re-elected Streit and Trustee Tim Desmond (1st) also took the oath of office, surrounded by their families.
“The election was about the issues – [Making village government] more transparent, and making Oak Lawn a community where everyone feels safe in their homes,” said Streit.
Desmond, who was first elected two years ago to complete the term of Jerry Hurckes, thanked voters for giving him a full four-year term.
“It is a privilege to work for the people of the 1st District, and all of Oak Lawn,” he said. “I look forward to moving the village forward, and attracting new businesses. We have a lot of work to do, and I’m looking forward to getting going on it.”