Tinley Park mayor: Term-limits issue won’t ‘fall between the cracks’
BY STEVE METSCH email@example.com November 9, 2012 3:34PM
Steve Eberhardt and Darlene Carrero hold petitions at the Oak Park Avenue Metra station in Tinley Park, IL on Friday, July 6, 2012. | Matt Marton~Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 12, 2012 6:19AM
The people have spoken, and the Tinley Park Village Board was listening, according to Mayor Ed Zabrocki.
After 72 percent of Tinley Park voters last week approved an advisory referendum about requiring term limits for all elected village officials, Zabrocki said he and the village board will address the issue.
“This is not going to fall between the cracks. The people want us to take a look at this, and we will,” Zabrocki said. “It would be dishonest of us if we didn’t.”
Zabrocki said he plans to ask each village trustee for his opinion and said the board eventually may vote on the idea.
“I wouldn’t rule it out,” he said.
That’s good news to village resident Steve Eberhardt, an attorney who collected signatures to get the question placed on the ballot.
“To ignore (the results) would be political suicide,” Eberhardt said.
It’s already been difficult for village officials to ignore Eberhardt, who has flooded the village hall with Freedom of Information Act requests over the years and is running for mayor.
Eberhardt denies that the term-limits question was designed to springboard his mayoral campaign, a claim Zabrocki views with skepticism.
Instead, Eberhardt said the outcome proves residents are not pleased with the status quo.
“Everybody says (the board) has been in there too long. Term limits was the litmus test to see what people are thinking, and I believe it said there’s a lot of people who aren’t at all happy with the board,” Eberhardt said.
Zabrocki said the question confused some voters.
“Many of the people I talked with before Tuesday thought that the term-limits question applied to local, state and federal office. A lot thought they were getting rid of guys in Springfield and Washington,” said Zabrocki, adding he probably would sign on if that had been the case.
Zabrocki said he was not surprised the vote was lopsided.
“We expected it to pass because it’s the tenor of the times. Let’s face it, people are fed up with government, period. And that’s understandable. Look at the situations we have in Illinois and in Washington,” he said.
Zabrocki, who has been mayor since 1981, said he does not consider the term-limit question a personal attack.
“Many voters told me, ‘You guys are doing a good job,’ ” he said.
Eberhardt said the measure was approved despite a negative campaign that saw postcards mailed to residents telling them: “Keep good government in Tinley Park. Vote NO on term limits.” Signs were placed near polling places, he said.
“I think it backfired on them. Most people I talked with were outraged that there was no information (on the cards) as to who sent them out,” Eberhardt said.
Eberhardt wondered whether Zabrocki or the village board was behind the mailings.
“They’re not from me,” Zabrocki said. “No campaign funds were used. No village funds. I assume it’s from the same folks who put up the signs.”