By Bob Uphues
When newly elected officials get sworn in, the audience in the council chamber is typically filled with family members and close friends.
At North Riverside's swearing in ceremony on Monday, there were plenty of those folks in attendance. Don't tell the state fire marshal, but the place was absolutely packed. The standing-room-only crowd was spilling out into the lobby.
One person in the crowd of well-wishers welcoming the newly elected VIP Party mayor and trustees to the village board was south suburban attorney Burt Odelson, whose firm Odelson and Sterk represents many municipalities in the Chicago area. Odelson and Sterk served as Brookfield's legal counsel during Bill Russ' tenure as village president.
Odelson also has recent ties to North Riverside. He was hired to represent North Riverside resident John Beresheim, who had filed a legal challenge to candidates opposing VIP in the 2013 election. His arguments were instrumental in keeping Rocco DeSantis off the ballot as a write-in candidate. Ultimately, DeSantis not only did not run as a write-in, he resigned his seat as village trustee.
Did Odelson's appearance at the village board meeting on Monday signal a possible change in village attorneys? Landmark reporter Bob Skolnik asked Odelson that question Monday night. Odelson didn't answer the question directly, instead telling Skolnik to "wait until next week."
On May 13, at a special meeting of the village board Mayor Hubert Hermanek Jr. will announce several changes inside village hall. He'll be appointing a new police chief, deputy police chief and a new fire chief at that meeting. There may be more changes to come.