The Riverside village board held its much-anticipated special strategic planning session Saturday at the Discovery Center over at Brookfield Zoo. For six hours, elected officials and department heads set goals and objectives for achieving them, but very little in terms of concrete answers resulted.

In that sense, the session was a bit of a let down. No one talked specifics regarding the future of village departments. Members of the historical commission and the recreation commission were on hand – we’re guessing because those are two groups that have been hamstrung by past budget cuts and anticipated finding out something regarding their eventual fate – but neither area received any specific attention.

What it boiled down to by the end of the affair was a decision to reaffirm goals stated by the Riverside Community Alliance majority over a year ago. The village needs to address the budget, attend to the business district and preserve and enhance the Olmsted landscape (aren’t these the evergreen issues in Riverside?).

The budget examination and any suggestions for change in the way services are delivered, if it’s going to happen, has to happen before June, when village department heads begin planning the 2011 budget.

There was also some support, principally by Trustee Lonnie Sacchi, the board’s finance chairman, to hire a business development director to spark economic development in the village.

To that end, the village president, the board’s finance chairman, the village manager and the finance director will sit down to meet in the next couple of weeks to “define” a process for reviewing the budget.

It seems to us that that process was defined by the board majority early in 2009 – they promised a top-down audit of the budget to rein in what they believed to be wasteful spending and find more efficient ways to deliver services.

So, do it already.

Whether meetings like Saturday’s were meant for the board to find some sort of common ground is kind of irrelevant at this point. The RCA is piloting the ship and it needs to lead the way. Last April, voters sent a crystal clear message by electing the entire RCA slate by a convincing margin, based on the group’s claims that they had the answers to Riverside financial problems.

Since the election there has been some attempt to qualify the process, principally by using the national recession to account for the delay. That, too, is irrelevant. Recession or no, the RCA had a plan. If spending was an issue during the “good” times of January 2009, then it sure must be an issue in during tough-luck 2010.

It’s simple. You were elected to lead and you are wavering. It’s time to tell Riverside in no uncertain terms what the direction is to be for the next three years. You’ll make some people happy; you’ll infuriate others. This is what happens when elected officials must act on what it is that got them elected in the first place. It comes with the job description