Public Watchdog.org

Ald. Melidosian’s Dangerous Liaison With The Library

01.29.18

Why are Park Ridge residents Alice Dobrinsky and Amy Bartucci so concerned about the attendance at Park Ridge Library Board meetings of the City Council’s liaison to the Library Board, Charles Melidosian (5th)?

And why did those concerns prompt such a lengthy article in last week’s Park Ridge Herald-Advocate: “Residents voice concerns over Park Ridge Library Board attendance,” January 23, 2018?

Historically, the attendance of aldermanic liaisons at City board and commission meetings was irregular-to-rare. That changed in 2009 when mayor Dave Schmidt – in response to the Council’s new Committee of the Whole (“COW”) structure following its reduction from 14 aldermen to 7 in Spring 2007 that also cut the number of monthly regular Council meetings and Council committee meetings from around 12 per month to 4 per month – encouraged aldermanic liaisons to become more pro-active in their interactions with their respective boards and commissions, especially when significant issues might be on those meeting agendas.

But Schmidt, who himself was the Council’s liaison to the Planning & Zoning Commission while he was the First Ward Alderman, realized that aldermanic liaisons didn’t need to attend every meeting of their respective boards or commissions to do their jobs. A lot of the liaison’s duties can be accomplished just by the liaison’s reading the minutes and board packets, and by being accessible to its members.

It’s against that historical backdrop that we consider the significance of Dobrinsky’s and Bartucci’s complaints about Melidosian’s – and certain Library Trustees’ – meeting attendance.

According to that article, both Dobrinsky and Bartucci were troubled by Melidosian’s absences – he reportedly attended 12 of 26 regular board and COW meetings since being appointed Library liaison in February 2017 to replace the late ald. Dan Knight. Ostensibly their beefs arose from the Library’s failure to fill the Library Director vacancy since Janet Van De Carr retired in June 2017.

We wrote about that goat rodeo in our 12.15.17 and 12.26.17 posts, including about how hired-gun library recruiting consultant John Keister fed our Library Board two candidates, one of whom he was simultaneously recruiting for the Palatine Library Director position – apparently without telling our Board – that she accepted just as soon as she was announced as a finalist for our position. And the other finalist, Aaron Skog, withdrew right after his first public vetting, although his qualifications were so questionable we have to wonder how he even got to be a finalist, other than by being the last midget standing.

According to the H-A article, Bartucci faulted Melidosian for not attending the November 27 public vetting of Skog even though the City Council was meeting that night: “If there is a [City Council] liaison not attending and [the library board] is in the process of finding an executive director, I felt this deserved more attention.”

Seriously?

Melidosian belonged exactly where he was that night – at 505 Butler Place – instead of at the Library auditorium listening to Skog. But apparently that concept doesn’t jibe with Bartucci’s view of City, and Library, government.

Yes, we know – thanks to the Jennifer Johnson’s curiously incomplete cite to the City’s Handbook for Elected Officials – that aldermanic liaisons are “expected” to attend the meetings of their respective boards and commissions. The Handbook, however, does not set any specific requirement for liaison attendance, nor should it – because the duties of a liaison can be accomplished in many ways, some far more effective than by sitting at an uneventful meeting.

And, not surprisingly, Ms. Johnson overlooked that other provision in the very same paragraph of the Handbook (at page 10) that states: “It is not the role of the liaison to express opinions on any issue before the Board or Commission in the liaison’s capacity of Alderman.”

So riddle us this, Ms. Dobrinsky, Ms. Bartucci and Ms. Johnson: What did you expect Ald. Melidosian – or Mayor Maloney, or any other alderman – to do had they been in attendance at the November 27 public vetting of Skog, hours before he withdrew his candidacy for the director’s position: Wave goodbye?

As best as we can tell, Ald. Melidosian has attended virtually all of the Library Board’s regular meetings and a few of its COWs. And, frankly, on occasion he has over-stepped the role of an aldermanic liaison by expressing his opinions about matters before the Board. But we don’t hear Ms. Dobrinsky, Ms. Bartucci and Ms. Johnson beefing about that.

So what exactly is their agenda?

To read or post comments, click on title.

7 comments so far

It looks like Dobrilovic, Egan and maybe Lamb have targets on their backs. Egan I can understand, because he’s a conservative. The other two do not seem to be.

Are the complaints against Melidosian just a smoke screen, or do they really want him out as Library liaison? And, if so, who do they want to replace him?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Ms. Bartucci posted a comment to the 11.28.17 H-A article about Skog’s withdrawal calling him “impressive” at his public vetting on 11.27.17 and announcing that she was “bummed” that he withdrew his name. That may be part of it, but it still doesn’t explain what she wanted Melidosian to do.

i use the Library a couple of times a week and I can’t tell any difference in its operation now versus when Ms. Vande Carr was there. That makes me wonder why those two ladies are complaining about anything. I also wonder what they want that they aren’t currently getting.

I was at that 11/27/17 forum. Skog looked like a clown and talked in platitudes and buzzwords that convinced me he was not a good choice, even before this blog’s editor proved it by getting him to admit that he has never prepared a library budget and that the organization he was running regularly posted big operating deficits.

Maybe Bartucci likes clowns and deficit spending?

EDITOR’S NOTE: From what we’ve heard and read about her – including her posts and comments on social media – she does sound like your typical the-more-government-the-better person.

Frankly, this editor was stunned to discover (through Googling Skog while sitting at that forum) that he was even a finalist, given that he had never worked as a librarian and was pretty much just a glorified IT manager as the head of SWAN, a consortium that facilitates Illinois libraries’ accessing of each others’ collections and sharing data; and that SWAN had posted hundreds of thousands of dollars of operating deficits over the past couple of years, which Skog defended as having been intentional so that the annual cost to member libraries could be lowered. You can read more about it in the H-A article: http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/park-ridge/news/ct-prh-library-director-candidate-tl-1130-20171128-story.html

I should have known you were the one who chased off Mr. Skog. You led the effort to get rid of Jan and now your trying to sabotage the hiring of a library professional. Why don’t you just move away?

EDITOR’S NOTE: This editor didn’t lead the effort: He just sat back and watched everybody else on the Board, over time, come to their own conclusion that she had become an impediment to the Library’s moving forward. But if asking the questions this editor asked Skog caused him to run away, then he wasn’t worth a cup of warm spit to begin with.

As for moving away, this editor ain’t going anywhere. Besides, you freeloaders need another resident who pays RE taxes (via rent) but uses next-to-nothing, and whose kids went primarily to Catholic schools, thereby saving the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in unused public school tuitions. You’re welcome!

How about moving someplace with lower RE taxes? There are many of us patriotic tax-paying residents that enjoy the amenities that Park Ridge offers. Quit your whining..

EDITOR’S NOTE: This editor has never complained about high taxes per se – you must be confusing him with the likes of Kathy (Panattoni) Meade and her freeloader ilk – but about stupid and/or wasteful taxes that don’t provide at least a dollar’s worth of value for each dollar extracted from the taxpayers. See, e.g., Maine Twp. spending around $900K a year to give out less than $200K of general assistance benefits.

Of course you don’t complain about high taxes. You have not even seen a property tax bill in years because you rent.

Beyond that, while an exact number for how much rent goes toward taxes is a gray area, I think it is fair to estimate (look at rents in PR and research what percent of rent goes to taxes) that you are on the hook for well under 3K per year.

If that was my property tax bill I would not complain about high taxes either.

EDITOR’S NOTE: I wasn’t complaining about them when I was paying 4-5 times that amount, either.

On the other hand, $2,000 of that speculated $3,000 RE tax bill goes to D-64 and D-207, free and clear of any concurrent use by my children. Compare that to the likes of the one and only Kathy (Panattoni) Meade, who reportedly pays double that amount of RE taxes but pulls out $28,000-42,000 of D-64 services annually.

Just to clarify, I stated “well under 3k per year”. There are rentals in PR for a grand. If you use 15% going to taxes that would be $1800…..it may even be lower than that.

EDITOR’S NOTE: And it may even be higher than that. The point isn’t how much in taxes you pay but how much in taxes you use – because, at the end of every day that consumption outpaces contribution, the equation becomes less sustainable.



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