Oak Park village president David Pope is moving on two commission-chair appointments, of seven waiting to be made, village clerk Sandra Sokol told one of the commissions last night, 4/1.
He’s very thorough about it, said Sokol, who noted that the issue, or at least commissions in general, had come up the night before in a candidate-forum debate. Indeed, opposition candidates in the April 7 election have accused incumbents of downgrading the commission structure. Commissions and boards are volunteer groupings of citizens whose job is largely to advise the village board.
Last night’s meeting was of the Community Involvement Commitee (CIC), which recruits and recommends members for the 25 other commissions and boards, including the Zoning Board of Appeals, which is more than advisory but has statutory authority. Each commission has an appointed village board liaison. Sokol, who is retiring as clerk after 16 years, is laison to the CIC.
Four citizens came before the CIC last night as prospects for appointment to a commission:
* a historic-preservation professional, with a view to joining the village’s Historic Preservation Commission
* a lawyer willing to take on the time-consuming and sometimes-hot-seat zoning-board or Plan Commission duties
* a building-rehab contractor who has served on other commissions and for whom CIC members seemed to prefer the Community Design Commission
* a woman in her early 20s, raised in Oak Park (she named the junior high), who had got off class in her master’s program early so as to make the meeting. She mentioned two commissions, Community Relations and Housing Programs Advisory.
The members, eager to find younger citizens willing to serve, were especially glad to see this woman.
All four, none older than in his or her 40s, were typical in my experience of watching CIC prospect sessions, being earnest, willing, and apparently quite competent.