Some cite cost-cutting but one trustee calls it ‘ludicrous’
The elimination of Oak Lawn’s business operation director, Chad Weiler, is either a cost-cutting move or political retribution, depending on who you ask.
The village board recently voted 4-2 to eliminate the department of business operations, which has been headed by Weiler since 2005.
Trustees Bob Streit (3rd District) and Carol Quinlan (5th District) voted against the move, saying it was political retribution against Weiler, who supported former mayor Dave Heilmann in his unsuccessful re-election bid.
“I don’t get it. Chad has successfully done his job and more,” said Quinlan, a long-time Heilmann supporter.
She credited Weiler for attracting new business to the community, overseeing the beautification of the village and leading efforts to ensure a success Fall on the Green festival each year.
“Overall, he’s enhanced the look of Oak Lawn,” Quinlan said. “In my opinion, it’s ludicrous.”
Village Manager Larry Deetjen told the board that the village work force has decreased by 20 percent since 2009. Additional cost-cutting measures, such as eliminating several vacant positions, will help the village hold the bottom line.
He added that the village’s focus has shifted to retaining existing businesses. Meanwhile, the public works department oversees the village’s beautification projects.
Deetjen added that he is in charge of economic development with help from all of the department heads
“We all have to accept more responsibility,” Deetjen said. “We’re going to have to be leaner. This was not an easy decision for me.”
Bury, however, criticized Weiler for failing to make connections within the village’s business community.
“I didn’t see a lot of networking, historically,” said Bury, a long-time Chamber of Commerce director.
Quinlan raised concerns that the loss of Weiler puts more responsibilities on Deetjen’s plate at a time when he is burdened with numerous responsibilities.
Trustee Bob Streit (4th District), who also voted against eliminating Weiler’s post, said he always received positive performance reviews.
“His only mistake was supporting our former mayor,” Streit said.
Eliminating Weiler saves the village $101,000 in annual salary and benefits, Deetjen said.
“You’re making a reasonable case to someone who doesn’t know better,” Streit said.