North Riverside Village Board meetings are pretty routine affairs most of the time. There’s never a lot of back and forth between trustees on issues, which are mainly hashed out at committee meetings, so they’re typically open-and-shut 15 to 20 minute affairs, give or take an audience comment or two.
So the standing-room-only meeting on Aug. 13 was interesting from not only the standpoint of just how many people are interested in the ongoing saga of the village’s fire department and who is going to lead it in the long term, but from the standpoint of who seems most invested in what happens.
The strangest element in all of this is the looming presence of former Mayor Richard Scheck, who continues to insert himself into local government not just as an interested spectator, but as an active participant.
It is understandable, of course, that Scheck would maintain a genuine interest in North Riverside. After all, he was its mayor for a quarter century and the political operation that continues to have a firm hold on the reins of government was one he built.
But after deciding it was time to leave public office in 2009 – the next election in spring 2019 will mark a decade since Scheck’s tenure as mayor — Scheck and his wife moved out of town, to Oak Brook.
Yet, the strong political influence remains. Judith Scheck and Richard Scheck’s company since 2009 have contributed more than $10,000 to the VIP Party, and Judith Scheck stated to the audience during the Aug. 13 meeting that she and her husband remain “active members of the VIP Party.”
We’re not exactly sure just how much influence the former mayor continues to exert as an active member of and large contributor to the VIP Party, but it is clearly becoming a sore point with many residents, who may be starting to wonder if the former mayor believes the residents of North Riverside incapable of governing themselves without his help.