Editorial – Leadership & Priorities

money down the toilet

According to the Miriam Webster dictionary “Leadership” is the power or ability to lead other people.

According to Forbes magazine, “Leadership is a process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others, towards the achievement of a goal.” Based upon the Forbes definition, those currently holding elected positions in Morton Grove are sadly lacking the quality of leadership.

According to an article in the Morton Grove Champion in May of 2014, a consultant hired by the current administration and paid with our tax dollars shared the following with our elected officials: “Morton Grove’s proximity to Lake Michigan gives it options few other suburbs enjoy to escape the steeply rising costs Chicago is charging for delivery of water.”

“Either Evanston or Wilmette can provide water more cheaply than Chicago”, said Patrick Glenn, senior engineer with Gewalt Hamilton Associates. One other option he presented was the Northwest Water Commission, which has a water main running through Morton Grove, but may not be able to provide enough water capacity.

“We see bigger savings with the Evanston project, but it’s a more expensive project to accomplish,” he said. “The savings would result from cheaper water rates, which would add up over the long term.”

Though Morton Grove is a relatively small customer, his firm’s number-crunching showed a clear benefit to Morton Grove, Niles and Park Ridge if they partner together to get either Evanston or Wilmette water delivered.

Morton Grove, Park Ridge and Niles are small users surrounded by larger users. But when the three are grouped, they make the largest customer in the area,” he said.

If the three did enter an agreement to build an infrastructure of water mains, it would cost Morton Grove $25 million and provide a first-year savings of $1.5 million over Chicago rates, he said. That assumes Morton Grove will issue 20-year bonds that carry a 4 percent interest rate and an annual payment of $1.84 million.

Under that scenario, if Chicago raises its water rates by 2 percent a year, Morton Grove could save $95 million over a 30-year period by using Evanston water, he said.

Eight months later, the current administration passed a budget for 2015.

In that budget was a line item for a new position to handle the village media and communication at a combined cost of salary & benefits of $65,900, (the previous administration accomplished cable production with volunteers at no cost to taxpayers).

There is another line item for the part-time village attorney at a combined cost of salary & benefits of $134,400.00, (pretty good for a part-time job). Apparently, because the village attorney is a part timer there are also line items for a retainer for a village prosecutor in the amount of $25,000 and a labor relations attorney in the amount of $100,000.00. The budget shows a total of $309,000 for legal services.

These are but two of many questionable” spending decisions along with an additional request to hire another consultant to determine if the building purchased for the new police station is “suitable” and whether or not to relocate village hall to that location.

All this while police and fire pensions remain underfunded and there was no consideration given to a new water source. This year the “village” will “eat” the increase in Chicago water rates, (that means instead of receiving a 2% increase in your water bill, the 2% will come out of your property taxes at the expense of other needed programs.)

Warren Bennis said: “Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.”
Bill Gates said: “As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.”

What we need are village leaders who know how to prioritize, to put first things first for the benefit of all Morton Grovers.

What we seem to have as elected officials in Morton Grove are folks who lack vision and go out of their way to accrue power to themselves. What we have, led by village president DiMaria and party boss Grear is a political machine that would make the old Chicago organization blush.

Morton Grove residents deserve better.



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