The Michael Garvey administration officially assumed power Monday night as Cook County Clerk David Orr took oaths of office from new village board and library board trustees in front of a standing room only crowd inside the Brookfield village council chambers.
Garvey was sworn in as village president, while PEP Party running mates Catherine Colgrass Edwards, Kit Ketchmark and Michael Towner were sworn in as trustees and Dan Raddatz was sworn in as clerk.
After receiving a standing ovation that seemed to transform the chambers into campaign headquarters on election night, Garvey addressed the friendly audience briefly.
“It took a lot to get to this night,” he said. “I’ve thought about how best to repay everyone for the faith they’ve shown in me. The only way is to do my best and try to be the best village president I can.”
In the only piece of business before the new board, trustees voted 4-1 to appoint new legal representation for the village. VIP Party trustee Linda Stevanovich, now a minority member of the board, was the lone dissenting vote.
“We’ve had this law firm before,” said Stevanovich of Storino, Ramello & Durkin, the firm that will serve as village attorney, prosecutor and adjudicator. “I didn’t like them then, and I don’t like them now.”
Stevanovich expressed hope that she would be able to work with the new administration, but wasn’t sure there was much common ground politically between her and the new PEP majority.
“I’ve been in the minority before,” she said. “Mike has reached out to me, and I hope that continues.
“I guess you could say I’m cautious, very cautious about the way things will go,” Stevanovich added. “I’d like to see the progress of the last four years continue, but I don’t have a lot of faith in that.”
Trustee Alan Dorobiala, a former PEP member who jumped to VIP after the 2001 election, said he would continue to focus on street improvements and economic development.
“I’m here to do what I think is right for the village,” Dorobiala said. “I’ll work with the administration to the best of my ability.”
No one will have to wait too long to get an idea of what the new administration will push as its agenda. Garvey said that by the board’s next meeting on May 23, he’d like to have a trustee candidate to recommend to the board to fill the vacancy created when he was sworn in as president.
Garvey will also name committee/department liaisons on May 23. One sure bet is that he will name Ketchmark as the village finance chairman, replacing Wil Brennan who lost in the April 5 election. Ketchmark was formerly the finance chair under former President Bill Russ, but was yanked from the job in May 2002 in a complete shakeup of committee assignments.
Stevanovich, currently the village board’s liaison to the Playgrounds and Recreation Commission, said she has asked Garvey to consider keeping her in that role.
“Hopefully he’ll keep me as the recreation liaison,” Stevanovich said. “I think we should work toward a park district for the next election. It was one of my goals when I was first elected trustee.”
Garvey acknowledged Stevanovich’s request, but refused to speculate on his appointments apart from Ketchmark as finance chair.
“I’ve considered it like I have all the others,” Garvey said.
At the May 23 meeting, Garvey is also expected to slate a discussion for a change in the structure of village board meetings. During the campaign, Garvey hinted he may return to holding four meetings per month, two committee of the whole sessions and two business meetings on alternating Mondays.
He has since backed off that statement, saying he may seek to reverse the order of the committee of the whole sessions and business meetings every two weeks, so that no committee discussion would come on the same day as a vote on that issue.
“I want the meetings to be more conducive to public participation and public comment,” Garvey said. “I want meetings to be more accessible.”
Garvey also hinted that he may schedule separate budget workshops in the coming months as the village works its way through adopting the 2005-06 budget, and scheduling special executive session meetings in order for the board to talk about union negotiations currently underway.
As for rumors that persisted during the campaign and in its aftermath that Garvey would seek to cut staff at village hall and in Public Works, Garvey said they weren’t true.
“I’m not hiring or firing any employees,” Garvey said. “The only position for which I’m seeking applications is for village manager. That’s the only employee to be changed and the only one in my power to change.”
Village Manager Dave Owen will continue to work on an interim capacity until a new manager is found, Garvey said.
“I know I can work with Dave Owen in the interim,” Garvey said. “I want there to be a smooth transition.”