Longtime Civic Volunteer Cites Reasons for Run
Mike Carroll is a familiar face in Orland Park. For the last three decades, the local attorney has volunteered with a number of community organizations.
Carroll’s civic involvement dates back to the mid-1980s when he first volunteered for the village’s Emergency Services and Disaster Agency (ESDA). He has been affiliated with the Orland Park Lions Club for more than 15 years, is a past president and currently serves as the group’s secretary. Carroll is a past recipient of the Lions International's coveted Melvin Jones Award, the highest recognition of exemplary service to the member's club and the community it serves.
The former Orland Park police officer and communication training officer is a founding member of the Orland Park Law Enforcement Organization (OPLEO) and is a past president of the Southwest Bar Association. Carroll has served as an assistant coach with the Orland Youth Association and is currently an assistant cubmaster and den leader for Orland Park Cub Scout Pack 383.
“I don’t consider myself a politician,” Carroll said, “I’m a volunteer.”
“All of my civic activities --- since I’ve lived in Orland Park --- have been in a volunteer capacity. The fact that you must be elected to volunteer your time for the school board is simply a reality,” Carroll said. Carroll has filed to run for the Orland School District 135 School Board in the local elections to be held on April 9, 2013.
The longtime village resident moved to the community as a child in 1976 and is an alumnus of District 135 and Carl Sandburg High School. He graduated from Northern Illinois University before receiving his law degree from John Marshall.
“Why am I volunteering?” Carroll asked. “First, I’ve been startled and disheartened with the lack of civility at some of the school board meetings,” he said. “The board members are all volunteers and they owe each other respect, treating each other with common decency. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been happening at District 135,” Carroll said.
Carroll and his wife, Jennifer (Gobeille), are both graduates of District 135 and their two sons are currently students in the district.
“Secondly, I believe that personal agendas have caused certain board members to take actions contrary to the common good,” Carroll said. “One example is breaking the longstanding inter-governmental agreement with the Village of Orland Park for the use of ballfields and other facilities,” he said.
“Most taxpayers don’t realize that the school board voting to end its decades long agreement with the village is costing the taxpayers money,” Carroll said. “We are paying for the school district to maintain these ballfields that had for years been tended to by the village’s Parks Department, all because personal agendas were given a higher priority than what was a win-win situation for Orland School District 135 and the Village of Orland Park. It just doesn’t make sense,” he said.
Carroll’s legal background is general practice with concentrations in criminal law, real estate and municipal and administrative law. He has completed more than 250 trials and hearings as lead counsel. Carroll also serves as an administrative hearing officer, judging thousands of locally adjudicated offenses in a number of suburbs. He has served as a legal affairs officer and as a village prosecutor for area municipalities, along with serving as an instructor for the Northeast Multi-Regional Training Program and at Robert Morris University.
“Another area that concerns me as a taxpayer and as a District 135 parent is the personnel decisions that have led to costly lawsuits,” the attorney said. “School board members are elected to serve the taxpayers who feel they’re the best volunteers for the job. You’re not elected to cost the taxpayers more money,” Carroll said.
Carroll's third area of concern includes the district's services for special education. "As the parent of a child who relies on special education services, I want to ensure
that District 135 is among the best, keeping up with the advancements in special education and in assistive technology."
“Finally, I disagree with the current board’s recent decision to levy the maximum increase on taxes possible, 3.0%, and to blame the teachers’ new contract as the reason when evidence suggests that a small --- perhaps even 0.5% --- increase or no increase at all for the immediate future would have sufficed,” Carroll noted.
“School districts comprise the largest portion of a resident’s property bill and the residents of Orland School District 135 deserve representation that will act on their behalf, not getting into expensive lawsuits, raising taxes for no reason and jeopardizing the district’s reputation,” Carroll said.
“The District 135 School Board needs to act in the best interest of the children and the taxpayers who foot the bill, leaving personal opinions and relationships aside,” Carroll said, “I’m volunteering to help District 135 get back on track because this has not been happening with some of the current board members.”
“Everyone in Orland School District 135 has a vested interest in our schools whether you have kids in the district or not,” Carroll said. “Those of us with kids in the schools want the best education possible for our children and property owners know that local schools have a direct effect on property values and whether or not people want to live here,” he said.
“I’ve lived in the district for almost 40 years and I’ve been active in the community for almost as long,” Carroll said, adding, “I know the Orland Park community. I know our schools and I know that I can help Orland School District 135.”
Area residents are invited to help with Carroll’s campaign by liking his Facebook page at Michael F. Carroll for Orland District 135 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.