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Petition Filed For Referendum On Term Limits For Tinley Officials

A petition has been filed to hold an advisory referendum on term limits for elected officials in Tinley Park.

Unless there is an objection by Monday, voters in Tinley Park will have the chance in November to vote on whether elected officials in the village should face term limits in the future.

A petition containing 1,900 signatures asking the Village Board to hold an advisory referendum on term limits was filed with the Village Clerk’s office on Monday by attorney Steve Eberhardt.

The petition asks the village to place the following question on the November ballot:

 “Shall the Village Board of the Village of Tinley Park pass an Ordinance imposing term limits on all elected officials?”

Village Clerk Patrick Rea said the petition met the state’s standards for advisory referendums.

“Unless there’s an objection filed by Monday, the question will be on the ballot in November,” Rea said. “If voters want to see the petition, they can come to Village Hall.”

Eberhardt said the idea to call for term limits stemmed from a fight in 2010 between the village and neighbors in the Barretts subdivision over plans for a senior housing project near 179th Street and Harlem Avenue called Thomas Place, which eventually fell through.

“Me and my neighbors would go to Village Board meetings to oppose the project and the board would just look at us like they could care less,” he said. “We talked about their lack of interest and decided it was time to impose term limits.”

“It seems by the number of signatures we obtained that a good portion of registered voters feel that the Village Board doesn’t listen to them,” he said.

The question doesn’t specify how many terms officials should be limited to, but Eberhardt said he personally feels two terms is enough.

Mayor Ed Zabrocki, who has been in office since 1981, said term limits for local officials are extremely rare, and he didn’t know why Eberhardt was pushing for them.

“I don’t know his motivation,” Zabrocki said. “He’s never contacted me about it. I don’t know what we are supposed to be doing wrong.”

Zabrocki said elections are natural term limits for officials who aren’t doing their jobs.

“It’s incumbent on elected officials to do a good job,” he said. “Turnout at municipal elections is very small, so it doesn’t take a lot of votes to make a difference in a local election.”

“Term limits limit a person’s democratic process by denying them the opportunity to vote for someone,” Zabrocki said.

Both Zabrocki and Rea said if it goes through it will probably be the first advisory referendum in the village’s history.

“I’ve never heard of one in more than 40 years,” said Rea who has been clerk for four years and was a village trustee for 38 years before that.

As an advisory referendum, the result is not binding on the Village Board.

For information on the petition, residents can call Rea or Deputy Clerk Laura Godette at 708-444-5000.

Look for the Truth August 11, 2012 at 03:01 PM
Rich, I am confused by your comments. You say "Terms should be involved...", which I take as you want term limits but then say "If the elected are doing such a "great job" then theoretically they should win again.". But with a term limit they can't run once they have served the limit.
Look for the Truth August 11, 2012 at 03:03 PM
His career was teaching and guiding thousands of students. His service as Mayor was his giving to the community.
Look for the Truth August 11, 2012 at 03:25 PM
Generally this can happen, but do you have a case in point here?
Frank Williams August 11, 2012 at 03:34 PM
I'm afraid I must agree that politics is not intended to be a career. Entrenched power discourages meaningful opposition by its nature. Voters are denied choices by virtue of the fact new blood can't even get its foot in the door. Where wil the so-called "experience" come from to replace these guys as they die off? These guys are not gods; they are going to leave us one day, one way or the other. What are they doing to set the table for their replacements? Are they grooming hand-picked successors?
Tired of the B.S. August 11, 2012 at 06:44 PM
Case in point...Stroger Case in point...Daley
James August 11, 2012 at 07:20 PM
I too could not agree more mr.joe. Between the village vehicles ( guys driving around to pick up cigarette butts at the train station ) and police cars I'd say it adds an extra five minutes driving to the train most days. I count on average 3 squad cars on my way to work and back each day. Get out of the way so I can make it to work on the overcrowded roads you created. Also, who holds a car show every Tuesday as the tax payers are trying to get home in the train station parking lot? I wait ten minutes just to get out of the parking lot. The Oak Park train station is not going to be Naperville so give it up - you should have helped restore the historic houses you tore down. And yes, the flower watering landscaper is a joke. I could go on...
James August 11, 2012 at 07:41 PM
It should be the most fiscally responsible - have you looked at your tax bill lately? I'm not moving anywhere as I have been here far longer than them and with this referendum hopefully long after they are gone.
Steve Eberhardt August 11, 2012 at 08:09 PM
The Mayor says he wasn’t contacted about the “term limits” petition. At his request, a few months age we met for coffee and one of the topics raised was the Petition initiative. The Petition is meant to give the voters input on the issue. The voters should be able to tell their elected officials (1) whether they feel term limits are appropriate and (2) if so, what are appropriate limits. It isn’t intended to let the Board decide the issue nor is it intended to be a personal statement of how long I think an individual should serve. The issue is for the voters. As for motivations behind the initiative, while Tinley is a great place to live it is not a perfect place to live. We are facing some very difficult economic times and Tinley could be much more taxpayer friendly. You want to know ideas on how to be more fiscally responsible in tough times, visit “www.TinleySparks.com”. (1 of 3)
Summer August 11, 2012 at 08:10 PM
I SOOOOO agree with you! You It hit everything head on! You must be living in this area so close and feel how this has killed the equity of our homes and left empty retail spaces, lots and empty spaces in the heart of this town. I have been here 60 years and I am so disapointed in the Mayor and Board members.... we - the people of Tinley Park - tried and tried to tell you that your dreams were just that - DREAMS! Now we are paying the hard way. I could not sell my home today for what it is worth! I am stuck... here.. and with the tax increases. I am saying I never want to move from Tinley Park or my home. I am very disapointed with you Zabrocki and the entire board and I WILL vote you out if I can! (Linda century - I am sure NO IDIOT!)
Steve Eberhardt August 11, 2012 at 08:10 PM
Over the course of the last few years, many individuals (certainly some Village employees) have forwarded “tips” about issues of concern. Using the FOIA laws, information has been produced about such things as personal use of Village vehicles, pay raises, capital projects, problems with water meters, the use of an unlicenced private investigator, why the Village itself doesn’t “shop Tinley”, police protection, ambulance service, the purchase of event and charity tickets for elected officials at taxpayer expense, etc. etc. etc. If anyone wants further information about these topics, just give my office a call and I will be happy to share what I have learned. These are issues that should be openly discussed prior to elections. (2 of 3)
Steve Eberhardt August 11, 2012 at 08:11 PM
One example that everything is not perfect is the recent actions of the Village with regard to some personal issue Village vehicles. Awhile back the Village did not require employees to document personal usage. When that was questioned, the Village changed their policy and did require that records be kept. Now, the Village Manager has verified that take home vehicles given to Public Works foremen and the Head Mechanic are being turned back in to the Village. But, if no one ever questioned the Village on this issue, wouldn’t the taxpayers still be footing the bill? Another example is the huge pay raises realized by certain employees. That information came out just prior to passage of this year’s budget. The Village Manager advised that those raises wouldn’t be the same for 2012. So where there cutbacks only because some employee provided a tip and the information was made public? Tinley is a great town, but it is not perfect. And, every taxpayer needs to know what their tax dollars are being spent on as they try to balance their own budgets. (3 of 3)
Look for the Truth August 11, 2012 at 08:17 PM
Other cases include Rosemont and South Chicago, but like yours those aren't on point because they aren't Tinley Park. What is going on here in town that shows abuse of power?
Look for the Truth August 11, 2012 at 08:28 PM
I've read your site and many of the FOIA requests have been great in keeping things more above board and honest. This kind of citizen review and oversight is needed and should be applauded by the rest of us. Are there better choices to run against some of these folks? I haven't seen any on the ballet yet in my 24 years. Do I agree with all that they do? Absolutely not. But I havent seen any other candidate worth voting for more that what we have now. Maybe raising issues like you have will help, but limiting my options to not being able to vote for the current office holders weakens our town. Do you have aspirations to be the person to enact your visions?
James August 11, 2012 at 09:05 PM
Yes... there seems to be a disconnect between the village and the real world we are currently living in. With this insane economy a lot of us are forced to cut back everywhere just to keep our houses. I don't see this with this village. That's a shame. Oh yeah, they did recently stop cutting the grass around the retention pond behind my house making the area look terrible and further lowering the value of my property. Get rid of a couple of the patronage vehicles and cut your grass. I don't pay these taxes to live in a village that looks like Harvey,
4th wright August 12, 2012 at 03:00 AM
I agree with LFTT. If the politicians are doing poorly, they will succumb to Darwin's Theory of Evolution, they will become extinct because they could not - or would not - adapt to the wishes of the community. To deny the voters of electing those whom they feel serve them well is to throw the baby out with the bathwater. If you don't like the board, run against them.
Gehrig August 13, 2012 at 12:42 AM
Looking at the U.S. Congress and the State of Illinois Legislature I have a hard time thinking Darwin's theory can be applied so easily to politics. So why should counties and cities and villages be any different? Apparently we don't hear a lot of what goes on at the lower levels and someone has to do a FOIA to bring info to light. A political machine is a political machine.
Gehrig August 13, 2012 at 12:18 PM
If there had been term limits, do you think the Village's engineering firm which makes millions from TP would have hired waht would have been a former mayor's son?
Patti Lavin August 13, 2012 at 09:50 PM
It's not so much that people are complaining of wrongdoing as much as they are upset with poor judgement. That whole downtown idea is a stupid waste of money. Our taxes keep going up and prop values are ridiculously low. It may have been voted the best place to raise a fam, but who voted it? I didn't get a ballot, been here 19 years. I watched 6, yes 6, village employees remove an old tree... It took them all day. Paid too much and slacking. 2 guys removed 8 trees from my property in less time and did a better clean up. Limiting their time in office is a good idea, even if we got a bad seed, they'd be voted out... guaranteed!
Tinley Resident August 14, 2012 at 02:20 AM
A prime example of how a Mayor in office 31 years gets things done: A commercial development goes before the Tinley Park Zoning Board in early 2008 and fails to get full approval due to "safety issues regarding parking" raised by some Zoning Board members. Then shortly thereafter at the Zoning Board of Appeals meeting the same developer appears requesting that the development be allowed to go forward. Only this time Mayor Zabrocki is a "guest" at the meeting (don't think this happens very often!). Low and behold the Zoning Board votes and the development is approved 5-0! Then shortly after this a $1,000.00 campaign contribution is made to the Zabrocki election fund by this developer. This is the type of stuff that people in office for too long get accustomed to. Look at the contrbutions over the years that some of our local officials who have been in office for long terms. Its a who's who of those who get the "favored" treatment in Tinley Park. If two terms is OK for President of the US...then its good enough for our local officials. We need our local officials to to serve their terms and then go back to work like the rest of us or continue service in other areas of government.
Jim Quinn August 14, 2012 at 01:52 PM
As a somewhat hard core conservative, I have met the Mayor. He is as fair and honest as any politician I know. I honestly believe he is not concerned about party affiliation.He just cares about the Village of Tinley Park and the residents.... I think think it is just sour grapes...So Tinley resident that is afraid to show your name. Do you have any proof that the Mayor took a payoff, any at all? I think if you did, you would have put your name up there....By the way I also thought the entire downtown thing was a waste.now those buildings have been scheduled for demolition, and we are stuck with empty overgrown lots.But after serving 31 years , I think one mistake is nothing, you got my support Mr. Mayor.....
Jim Quinn August 14, 2012 at 01:54 PM
Good talking points...but without proof,,, just talking points.....
Jim Quinn August 14, 2012 at 01:56 PM
Ditto
Jim Quinn August 14, 2012 at 01:59 PM
If they are doing a good job, why would you want to get rid of them? If they suck, or corrupt vote them out... You people that want the Mayor out... grow some and run against him.....
Jim Quinn August 14, 2012 at 02:00 PM
Then run against him... what is so difficult to see here?
Jim Quinn August 14, 2012 at 02:32 PM
Well said.......
Tinley Resident August 15, 2012 at 12:02 AM
To Jim Quinn; 1.) 6/14/07 - Tinley Park Zoning Board votes down development going forward on 159th & Harlem Avenue due to safety issues with the amount of loading space by a 6-0 vote. 2.) 2/14/08 - Zoning Board Appeals approves the development at 159th & Harlem going forward with special guest Mayor Zabrocki in attendance. (please let me know how many times the Mayor has appeared as a "guest" at a Zoning Board or Zoning Board of Appeals meeting?) 3.) 2/18/08 - 4 days after the Zoning Board of Appeals meeting with Mayor Zabrocki as a "guest" - a $1,000.00 campaign contribution is given/posted to "Citizens for Zabrocki" by the developer (Musa). Now as a "hardcore conservative" go and put the name Mike Madigan or Jesse Jackson Jr in place of Zabrocki in any of the above and your response (and correctly) would no doubt be..."typical Illinois politician...running our state into the ground with the pay to play". The bad part of the above is that a small business developer or owner or just a citizen with an issue in Tinley Park that does not have the $1,000.00 to give to a re-election committee most likely would not get the "guest" appearance by a Mayor before a Zoning Board that this developer received. All this is available on line....sources used were (Tinley Park Official Website - Zoning Board Meetings and also the Illinois Election Contributions website)
Jim Quinn August 15, 2012 at 01:37 PM
Did you see money change hands? Is the Mayor allowed to be at these meetings? Did anyone hear or see Musa offer the Citizens for Zabrocki a grand if he forced the zoning board to see it Musa's way.still nothing but hearsay, unfortunately, still see it as sour grapes,,,there is nothing you presented that says the law was broken...Would I be suspect in this, hell yea... but this is Illinois,the libs elected these people, you don't like it, MOVE or run against him.......He has run unopposed for how many years?
Look for the Truth August 16, 2012 at 02:47 AM
You are right JQ. Lots of sour grapes by the term limits people. They have lots of things that are iffy, a few good things to point out to the village people that they are being watched, which is good for all of us. But they can't put together a platform and slate to run, so they want the rules changed to eliminate the people who have a plan and put in the effort. And to those who talk about politics was never meant as a career, your a few hundred years behind the times. Back when the US started rich people were the primary people in politics because they had a means to support themselves.
Joe The Plumber November 07, 2012 at 12:22 PM
Zabrocki Plaza? How about Veterans Plaza Pat myself on the back! Geez!!!
Larry January 22, 2014 at 01:35 PM
I agree with Frank Williams, there should be Term-Limits, when you have people making politics a career you have no new ideas and you are power hungry. Some political leaders have been in office for over 40 yrs. these positions were not intended to be careers. If the presidents tern is 2 terms, so should everyone elses!!!!

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