Is this how we want to do things?

Updated: Dec 31, 2020

Orland Park's Frederick T. Owens Village Hall

by Orland Park Village Trustee Jim Dodge

On Monday, May 6, at the first meeting of the newly constituted Village Board an interesting thing happened. I’d like to know what you think. Both of these statements are factually true.

The likely headline: Village Board votes to substantially increase neighborhood road repair program.

The reality: Village Board voted for $3.8 million of un-budgeted expenditures, issues new debt to pay for it all, and gave the expanded contract to just one bidder without seeking other bids or input from other qualified firms for this expansion.

I love new roads as much as anybody in Orland Park, but I voted against this. Why? Doing the right things in the right way, after full deliberation must be the central governing tenant of what we do as a Board.

Unless I’m mistaken, in all of Orland Park’s history the Village Board has never taken this important of an action in such a rushed, non-transparent way. In just one vote, the Board blew up the unanimously approved budget to take on new debt equal to 7% of our annual revenues. You read that correctly.

We should have gotten more bids and input from more vendors; we should have had a broader policy discussion in public about the implications of blowing up our budget process.

If we are increasing our debt level, we should have talked about it at Committee, so the public knows it’s coming; if we are going to add debt, then only after a full public discussion, we might have adopted this as a bigger, multi-year project so more people benefit, etc., etc.

Your turn, you tell me at

This is a total end run around due process, due diligence and transparency, even if I want a new street. How can they just overthrow an unanimously approved budget like this and add more debt all in one night?

My street is terrible, I want it fixed and I want it fixed now. The ends justify the means, if the means aren’t illegal. Get it done.

a) I’m not sure what to think.

b) I don’t care.

c) Why am I asking?

I’d like to know how you want me to act as your representative. As many of you know, my home phone number has been listed since 1986: 708 549-8071. Please be respectful of the hours you call. Many thanks.

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