As candidates organize, Oak Lawn trustee to step down
As candidates for public office in Oak Lawn gear up for the April 9 election, the most vocal critic of Mayor Dave Heilmann is stepping down.
Trustee Tom Phelan (6th), who was elected to his seat in 2005, wrote in an email that part of the reason he is not running for re-election is because his friend and former state Rep. Mike Carberry agreed to run for his post.
Carberry was a state representative from March 2010 to January 2011 after being picked to replace former state Rep. James Brosnahan (D-Evergreen Park), who retired early.
Phelan said he has known Carberry, the Cook County deputy director of facilities management, for 30 years, and endorses him in his quest. Phelan wrote that he also is leaving his post because he wants to focus his efforts on “bringing change to the mayor’s office.”
He supports Heilmann’s challenger, Sandra Bury, an optometrist and community activist who owns a Complete Vision Care business in Oak Lawn.
Phelan has been at odds with the board majority, which recently authorized a forensic audit into his running of the village’s Fall on the Green festival in 2011. Phelan was accused of using the festival as a political tool, but the audit found the village board as a whole needed to establish better controls over such events.
“ ... Despite all the attacks and slander and lies being hurled at me and others by those responsible for all of the wrongdoing, I am not motivated by personal grudges or vendettas,” Phelan wrote about not running for re-election.
Phelan frequently criticized Heilmann and the mayor’s allies, including Trustee Robert Streit (3rd).
Phelan recently alleged that Streit steered a six-figure contract to a roofing company with whom he has familial, political and business connections. The FBI is investigating that contract.
Trustees Alex Olejniczak (2nd) and Tom Duhig (4th), and Clerk Jane Quinlan — all incumbents — are running as independents, as are challengers Bury, Carberry, and Tim Desmond (1st).
Desmond owns Jack Desmonds Irish Pub in Chicago Ridge.
“It’s important people realize what’s at stake,” Bury said. “What’s at stake is higher taxes and fiscal responsibility.”
Olejniczak said that while many of the candidates endorse each other, they are not running on a slate because they did not organize earlier.
They will be facing the “Independence Party” slate, led by Heilmann, who is running for re-election. His slate includes Melissa Moran for clerk, incumbent Trustee Cindy Trautsch (1st), and trustee challengers Julie Misner (2nd), Tim Reilly (4th) and Carol Sheahan (6th).
Heilmann and Phelan did not respond to multiple messages left Friday.
Streit and Carol Quinlan (5th) are not up for re-election.