Our View: Timing of Tinley study suspicious
SouthtownStar editorial January 14, 2013 10:46PM
Updated: February 16, 2013 6:20AM
The village leaders in Tinley Park are a close-knit bunch, aligned with the same political party and having run the village together for many years. Mayor Ed Zabrocki has been mayor since 1981, and village Clerk Patrick Rea was a trustee for 37 years before being elected clerk in 2009.
Two of the six trustees have been on the village board since the 1980s, a third since 1999 and the three others who have joined the board since 2007 either were appointed by Zabrocki or ran with his political slate to replace Rea and two other longtime trustees.
This isn’t a group that’s big on change. That’s why the voters’ strong support for term limits on elected officials in a Nov. 6 advisory referendum has some of them in a tizzy.
Zabrocki and a couple of trustees came out against term limits before the referendum, arguing that they weren’t needed because voters could oust anyone they wanted to via an election. That’s somewhat disingenuous because residents don’t always have a choice — either because of voter apathy or a well-entrenched political organization discouraging challengers.
Zabrocki and his political allies contend that their longevity reflects voters’ satisfaction with their governance and Tinley Park’s direction. That may be so. But if residents are so happy with the leadership, why did they vote by a more than 2-to-1 ratio for term limits?
That overwhelming outcome left village leaders with no choice but to, at least outwardly, seriously consider such a change.
The village board plans to soon form a commission (members appointed by Zabrocki) to study the pros and cons of term limits and submit a report to the village board. It could’ve been created weeks ago. The group can take up to six months to issue its report. Why so long? Well, that deadline falls well after the April 9 village election.