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Mayor starting search for part-time village finance director

  • Written by Dermot Connolly

Chicago Ridge Mayor Chuck Tokar informed the village board on Tuesday that he had contacted several municipal consulting firms to begin the process of hiring a part-time village finance director.

He explained during the village board meeting that he was going to contact one of the companies this past Wednesday, and a second one within the week. The need for a finance director came up following the village board’s recent passage of a new ordinance limiting the mayor’s ability to appoint department heads and other village officials.

The two appointments that five of the six trustees voted against were Burt Odelson as village attorney, and Tokar himself as budget director, a position he has held for years.

Trustee Bruce Quintos had previously said that the budget director role was only needed on a part-time basis, and should be filled by someone other than the mayor.

When he was asked after the meeting if the finance director position would replace him as budget director, Tokar said, “Well, that is up to the village board.”

He maintains that the new ordinance, which requires a majority of the board to approve all of his appointments, is unconstitutional and plans to file a lawsuit seeking a declaratory judgment against the board.

Also at the meeting, the village board approved the police department’s purchase of a new transit van to carry prisoners, as well as a radar recorder that can be installed on light or telephone poles to monitor traffic patterns and speeds on local streets.

Deputy Police Chief Dean Mann explained that both purchases -- $59,703 for the van and $3,655 for the radar recorder -- will come from seized narcotics funds allocated to the department so no taxpayer money is needed.

“The 2017 Ford Transit-250 van will replace an old, obsolete transit van that wasn’t really equipped to transport prisoners,” said Mann.

He explained that the new vehicle will be divided into three compartments, so male, female and juvenile prisoners could be safely transported at the same time if necessary.

He said visual monitors will be installed in it so the driver or other staff can ensure that no harmful activity is taking place. At Trustee Jack Lind’s suggestion, Mann said an audio recording component may also be added for the protection of both the police and prisoners.

“The radar recorder can be used to confirm a street or intersection as a hotspot,” said Mann. “Radar detectors in cars will give motorists a warning, but we will be able to collect the information without expending manpower. We can more effectively deploy our resources, rather than stationing a car there for hours.”

He said that if the department receives a request for a resident about the need for a traffic control device at a certain location, the recorder can be placed there for a week or a month to collect data on speeds and times of the heaviest traffic flow.

“It will give us more of a reference point, when residents come before the board to ask for a speed bump or stop sign to be installed,” said Lind.

By Dermot Connolly

Chicago Ridge Mayor Chuck Tokar informed the village board on Tuesday that he had contacted several municipal consulting firms to begin the process of hiring a part-time village finance director.

He explained during the village board meeting that he was going to contact one of the companies this past Wednesday, and a second one within the week. The need for a finance director came up following the village board’s recent passage of a new ordinance limiting the mayor’s ability to appoint department heads and other village officials.

The two appointments that five of the six trustees voted against were Burt Odelson as village attorney, and Tokar himself as budget director, a position he has held for years.

Trustee Bruce Quintos had previously said that the budget director role was only needed on a part-time basis, and should be filled by someone other than the mayor.

When he was asked after the meeting if the finance director position would replace him as budget director, Tokar said, “Well, that is up to the village board.”

He maintains that the new ordinance, which requires a majority of the board to approve all of his appointments, is unconstitutional and plans to file a lawsuit seeking a declaratory judgment against the board.

Also at the meeting, the village board approved the police department’s purchase of a new transit van to carry prisoners, as well as a radar recorder that can be installed on light or telephone poles to monitor traffic patterns and speeds on local streets.

Deputy Police Chief Dean Mann explained that both purchases -- $59,703 for the van and $3,655 for the radar recorder -- will come from seized narcotics funds allocated to the department so no taxpayer money is needed.

“The 2017 Ford Transit-250 van will replace an old, obsolete transit van that wasn’t really equipped to transport prisoners,” said Mann.

He explained that the new vehicle will be divided into three compartments, so male, female and juvenile prisoners could be safely transported at the same time if necessary.

He said visual monitors will be installed in it so the driver or other staff can ensure that no harmful activity is taking place. At Trustee Jack Lind’s suggestion, Mann said an audio recording component may also be added for the protection of both the police and prisoners.

“The radar recorder can be used to confirm a street or intersection as a hotspot,” said Mann. “Radar detectors in cars will give motorists a warning, but we will be able to collect the information without expending manpower. We can more effectively deploy our resources, rather than stationing a car there for hours.”

He said that if the department receives a request for a resident about the need for a traffic control device at a certain location, the recorder can be placed there for a week or a month to collect data on speeds and times of the heaviest traffic flow.

“It will give us more of a reference point, when residents come before the board to ask for a speed bump or stop sign to be installed,” said Lind.