When voters in Brookfield swept the PEP Party back into power, they changed just part of the way the village was managed. With the hiring of Riccardo Ginex last week, the election campaign finally ended.
What voters sought more than anything, in our opinion, was twofold: They wished to see transparency in village government and a strong village manager. The new government has been running the show for just a little over two months now, so the jury is still out on transparency.
But the hiring of Ginex seems to indicate that at the very least, Village President Michael Garvey wants a village manager who will take charge and run every aspect of village operations while leaving policy to the village board. We hope that Ginex will prove to be a manager who can walk the minefield of Brookfield's shifting and partisan political landscape, and that the PEP-controlled board makes good on its promise to keep a clear line drawn between its duties and the manager's.
It's also our hope that the opposition members on the village board will begin to involve themselves in the current government and not take the passive stance they've exhibited since the election.
One of the more troubling pieces of information gained from last week is that neither of the VIP trustees on the board?"Linda Stevanovich and Alan Dorobiala?"set aside time to interview Ginex during the search. In the back channels, VIP sent out word that the two had been shut out of the interview process by Garvey. And at the Aug. 10 meeting where Ginex was hired, former VIP Trustee Wil Brennan asked if the two had indeed been given the opportunity to even see his resume.
It turns out that both had been sent his resume along with an invitation to contact Ginex to set up an interview. Stevanovich appeared reluctant to admit that was the case. But for what possible reason?
It's probably naive to think that partisan politics are going to disappear in Brookfield any time soon. In fact, watchdog groups and opposition political parties have a real purpose in any society.
But it's troubling when politicians appear to put their narrow personal agendas ahead of the good of the village. The whispering campaign that Garvey was simply ramming through some sort of crony as the new village manager without comment from the opposition on the board was an example of that kind of short-sightedness. It was just that kind of behavior that Brookfield residents reacted so strongly against in April.
You'd think that lesson would have been learned, but that's apparently not the case. Of course, VIP will charge that PEP engages in the same kind of rumor-mongering. As the last weeks of the April election proved, neither party is innocent of dirty politics.
And while neither party wants to be seen as defenseless in the face of ongoing criticism, it is up to both parties?"VIP and PEP?"to raise the level of discourse and tone down the politics. Both parties say that the citizens of Brookfield and progress are their main concerns.
They could begin proving that by focusing on those issues and stop trying to simply undermine one another, either actively or passively.
The voters aren't stupid, and they are aren't as invested in party politics as VIP and PEP members might think. They know a self-serving politician when they see one and they'll know progress and professionalism when they see that, too.