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UPDATED: Who is Running For Village, Fire, School and Library Boards in April 2013?

Hopeful candidates for five Orland Park boards have submitted their petitions to get on the ballot. Find out who is running in the races.

Updated from original Dec. 17 post.

The 2012 Presidential Election is long over, but our local election season is just getting started.

The petitions have been submitted. Candidates for Orland Park Village, Orland School District 135, Consolidated High School District 230, Orland Fire Protection District and Orland Park Public Library boards, as well as Orland Park mayor and Orland Park village clerk, have thrown their hats into the ring.

Before the lists are finalized, a period now begins where people can object to a candidate's petition. Those questioning the legitimacy of petitions have until Jan. 4 to file claims with the respective taxing bodies, except for D230 which will be accepting until Jan. 3

Frank Grabowski, who now serves as the Consolidated High School District 230 Board of Education president, will not be seeking re-election.

John Carmody, the Orland School District 135 Board of Education president, did not file to run for mayor, despite his April announcement that he would run. Carmody has repeatedly declined to answer previous questions about whether he would follow through and run or not.

D135 board members Mary Bragg and Tom Cunningham were late entries in the election Wednesday, with both filing just before the cut off time at 5 p.m. 

Other additions to the races include Larry Moran for the Orland Fire Protection District board. Moran serves as the Willow Springs fire chief. James McCague is running for library board, and four more candidates were added to the D230 race. 

Here are all the candidates:

Orland Park Village Board (three open seats), Mayor and Village Clerk

  • Dan McLaughlin (mayor, incumbent)
  • John Mehalek (clerk)
  • John Fotopoulos (board trustee)*
  • James Dodge (board trustee, incumbent)
  • Kathy Fenton (board trustee, incumbent)
  • Brad O’Halloran (board trustee, incumbent)

*Fotopoulos is running as a Republican, and as part of an already-established party, had the option to submit petitions in November.

Orland School District 135 (four open seats)

  • Michael Carroll
  • Michael Maratea
  • Laura Berry
  • Sandra Kulak
  • Nathan Jaisingh
  • Ann Gentile (incumbent)
  • Mary Bragg (incumbent)
  • Tom Cunningham (incumbent)

Orland Fire Protection District (two open seats)

  • John Brudnak
  • Martin McGill (incumbent)
  • Jayne Schirmacher
  • Glenn Michalek (incumbent)
  • Larry Moran

Consolidated High School District 230 (four open seats)

  • Carol Baker (incumbent)
  • Laura Murphy (incumbent)
  • Ben Twietmeyer
  • Kathleen Murphy-Peterson
  • Melissa Gracias
  • Tony Serratore
  • Susan Dalton
  • Anthony Catalano

Orland Park Public Library (two open seats)

  • Diane Jennings (incumbent)
  • Catherine Morrisey-Lebert (incumbent)
  • Linda Zec-Prajka
  • James McCague

Return to Orland Park Patch later for more information about the candidates.

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Sandra December 28, 2012 at 07:02 PM
All I know is that I am not voting for any of the incumbents in the school districts. Our tax rates are ridiculous!!! As for the village I'm definitely voting for Fotopoulos and Jim Dodge (although I do not approve of his decision on the apartments). Fenton needs to go.
Jennilin December 29, 2012 at 01:29 AM
Bob- If they don't have Bragg as a former union member, they have two more choices: Sandy Kulak, former President, Orland Council of Educators or Michael Maratea, former President for d140 teacher's union. I really hope I'm not the only one bothered by that huge conflict of interest!
P.Y.T. December 29, 2012 at 02:51 AM
Oh, dear Lord, Jennilin... is that really true?
P.Y.T. December 29, 2012 at 03:13 AM
Googled and verified... alas... it is all true, Jennilin. Can we get some write-in candidates, please? Cuz D135 ain't looking so good, AGAIN! Orland School District 135 (4 open seats) Michael Carroll YES Michael Maratea probably not Laura Berry ?? Sandra Kulak probably not Nathan Jaisingh Friend of Ann Gentile's supposedly, so NO WAY Ann Gentile (incumbent) NEVER Mary Bragg (incumbent) No Tom Cunningham (incumbent) NEVER EVER
John Paul December 29, 2012 at 04:20 AM
I served with both Cunningham and Bragg when I was on the D-135 Board. I can tell you that mary Bragg was a good board member. She was a good advocate for the taxpayers in the district and I never saw her as a shrill for the union. Ol' Cunningham...As a slick politician, I give him a B+, as a board member, well that's another story. As far as the 2 candidates with union ties; what I would like to know is how active they still are with thier unions. The reason I say that that is our former Business Manager, Rich Lesniak was a former union president, but was an excellent business manager and definitely looked out for the district and its taxpayers when negotiating. Also, when Jim Lieb was a principal, he served on the district's negotiating team. Although he also once served as a union president, he was a very good negotiator for the district.
Ralphster December 29, 2012 at 12:51 PM
Ben, can you tell us how much David Maher will get for a pension from the Village of Orland Park when his term expires in April 2013? Or for that fact all the trustees and Mayor. No wonder our pension system is in ruins when part time elected officials get pension credit for IMRF.
Bob December 29, 2012 at 04:11 PM
John, by what measure are you saying that these people were "good negotiators for the district?" I honestly don't know the recent results, but I'd like to know when they negotiated contracts that had district salaries and benefits that either resulted in costs to the district per affected employee, including longevity increases, being less than or equal to the rate of inflation? I would argue that anyone "negotiating" to give more than this didn't do such a great job, especially since 2007. I DO recall the board agreeing to double digit salary increases a few years ago, JUST BEFORE THEY PASSED A TAX INCREASE "FOR THE CHILDREN" BECAUSE THERE WASN'T ENOUGH MONEY TO MAINTAIN QUALITY PROGRAMS! BTW, is 135 still raising taxes by selling working cash and life safety bonds using "backdoor referenda"?
Bob December 29, 2012 at 04:22 PM
PYT, I'm a licensed professional Civil engineer, and the drainage problems could've, and perhaps should've, been fixed outside this project. When they rebuilt the stadia, they were subject to additional code requirements to install detention basins to hold stormwater. Had they not added to the impermeable area of the site with the renovations, a few million in costs may have been saved. They also were REALLY stupid in their planning for unnecessarily digging up and replacing the parking lots at Stagg and Sandburg. Costs doubled when they made some horrible mistakes in their soils evaluations. We're talking over a million dollars in excessive costs here. Before they got into the details of these projects, they expelled all professional engineers from the Building and grounds committee, preventing tough questions from being asked and scrutinizing some really bad ideas by the administration. I understand the 230 board is also excluding all engineers and design professionals from the committee again this year. This isn't just carelessness. Avoiding knowledgeable oversight on committees is Board and adminstration political policy in 230.
Thunderstorm December 29, 2012 at 05:03 PM
I am sure that McLaughlin made a deal with the devil (Gorman) for no one to run against him. However, that being said, I would vote for McLaughlin over Gorman any day. At least he didn't file bankruptcy a few days after winning the election.
Thunderstorm December 29, 2012 at 05:08 PM
I also believe that Laura Berry was an administrator in 135 also? Sandy Kulak was an administrator and then when Linda Anast May came in, her position was eliminated so was became a teacher. She would be BAD for the district. Bragg is like Baker, they want everything for the teachers/staff/administrators. Cunningham is, well, a typical politician. He needs to go. Who is running for library and fire? Don't know much about that. I went to the library the other day to renew my card and got hassled. When we asked a question, the lady said she didn't know becuase she was new and only had been there since July. JULY??? Don't know your job after 4 months? Plus the library has to get up to speed with the new technology. Anyone affiliated with Hastings in 230 must go.
Thunderstorm December 29, 2012 at 05:13 PM
I used to know Sue Dalton from Park school many years ago. She always did the right thing and for the right reasons. She was a good person. My only concern is that she is/was good friends with Sue Cachey who was on the board in 135 when there was trouble. That is the only negative thing I remember about her otherwise she was a very good person. Sue Dalton was involved in the PFE at Park and High Point. After that, I stopped attending those meetings as my mother was sick and needed my time. Never went back to them again.
Jeff Fitzwell December 30, 2012 at 12:23 AM
It also is interesting that many of you who have opinions operate under aliases. That is a conflict of interest in itself.
Batman December 30, 2012 at 04:40 AM
Jeff, it's for everyone's protection to use alias.
Thunderstorm December 30, 2012 at 07:09 AM
And how do we know your real name is Jeff Fitzwell? I just looked you up and you have never commented on anything before. Maybe it is a made up name to accuse others of just what you are doing?
Bob December 30, 2012 at 05:01 PM
Found out some things about district 230 candidate Anthony Catalano. Apparently, according to "LinkedIn", he's a youngster who graduated from Sandburg in 2007 and went to Loyola University. He also was a judge for the debate team in 230, givng him a continuing connection. I've probably attended more committee and Board meetings than anyonoe not drwaing a 230 paycheck, and I've never seen him bother to attend one, let alone comment or bring up an idea for improvement of the district. He was also President of the Student Body at Loyola, President of the Debate team, and a student rep on the Loyola Board of Trustees. The only clue to his politcs is that he worked politically to get the GA to give out $200 million it doesn't have in student aid. I don't know him, but his record infers that he's politically ambitious, and typically people with those ambitions don't serve the taxpayers and students well, but spend a lot on capital work to get booster group support and give out unfairly large salaries and benefits to staff to win union support in future politcal endeavors. This guy needs to have some tough questions to find out if he's going to sell out the students and taxpayers to pander to the unions and contractors that do most of the political contributions in the district. IS the local press up to that task? Based on past perfomance, that's unlikley. Some of us need to do some digging deeper.
Ben Feldheim (Editor) January 02, 2013 at 03:14 PM
Maher will not be receiving a pension from the village. More details regarding mayor and trustee positions are forthcoming.
Jennilin January 10, 2013 at 12:21 AM
I just heard that Tom Cunningham filed petitions to run for Community College Dist. 524(Moraine Valley) Board of Trustees. I believe that if he were elected to both boards he would have to step down from one or the other which would create a situation where his replacement would be appointed. The voting public deserves to know that this would circumvent their ability to elect a person of their choosing.
Bob January 10, 2013 at 04:32 AM
Jennilin, here's the situation when a candidate files for incompatible offices (taken from the 2013 Candidates Guide): "May a candidate file for more than one office? Yes, however, he must withdraw from all but one office within five business days following the last day of petition filing, if the offices are incompatible. If he does not withdraw from all but one incompatible office, his name will not be certified for any office.[10 ILCS 5/7-12]" This means that if he filed for both, he should not be certified and and appear on the ballot for ANY of the two offices. If you want to get him off both ballots, contact the school boards prior to candidate certification and he should be off both. Ben, do you want ot dig into this?
Jennilin January 10, 2013 at 09:35 PM
Thanks Bob for the reference, I read through the pertinent sections of the guide. This led me to the question of : Are the offices incompatible? I found this on iasb.com "The Illinois Attorney General’s office has compiled a comprehensive list of incompatible offices. Some offices found by Attorney General opinions to be incompatible with the office of school board member are: Board of Review member, City Council member, City Manager, Community College District Trustee, County Board Member, County Engineer, County Zoning Administrator, County Zoning Board of Appeals Member, Educational Labor Relations Board Member, Fire Protection District Trustee, Park District Board Member, Township Assessor, and Township School Trustee. The Attorney General’s index of opinions can be found at: www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/opinions/index1975topresent.pdf (see pg. 5 for incompatibility of offices). This information seems pretty clear and was easy to find( but I am a lay person, not an attorney). I'm not sure that enough of us(voters) care to get informed about these local elections and that some politicians count on this.
Colleen Gavin January 10, 2013 at 11:25 PM
Since Cunnigham did not withdraw from 1 of the positions within 5 business days after the last day of filing, shouldn't he be removed from both ballots?
Bob January 11, 2013 at 01:42 PM
Jennilin, it is not unusual for a politically biased school board to nullify the law in order to protect their friends on the ballot. There is recourse, however. An objector can take the election board's ruling to court for judicial review. This happened in Palos District 118 about 15 years ago. Several candidates connected to the political "combine" that runs the patronage in the district got lazy and only filed about 55 of the 50 required signatures, and the objectors showed that there weren't 50 VALID signatures on the petitions. The Election board, nmade up of friends of the candidates who were part of the same patronage network, overruled the objection. The objectors appealed to the courts, and the election Boards ruling was quickly overturned. After that, the deposed candidates ran as write in candidates and were elected. They received over $37,000 for campaigning for the non-paying school board seats. That would be about $80,000 in 2013 dollars. I understand from acquaintenances in the campaign that Mike Madigan told them he'd arrange for up to $100,000 in campaign financing if they needed it. Think about it. Why would someone "invest" that much money in a local school board election? FYI, there was a state's attorney's investigation into the maintenance progam at the time because hundreds of thousands of dollars in checks written to the managers kids had no back up, and his wife got a no-bid contract for the district security system. Smells bad.
Bob January 11, 2013 at 01:46 PM
How did this turn out? The US attorney's office said they may have grounds for indictments, but they wouldn't get involved while a state's attorney's investigation was under way. The Democrat state's attorney's office kept it "under investigation" until the statute of limitations ran out. There's a lot of dirty stuff going on in local public schools. Too bad we don't have an active press in our area making the effort to do a little digging.
Ben Feldheim (Editor) January 11, 2013 at 02:30 PM
Here's my article from yesterday on the challenge to Cunningham's petitions. http://orlandpark.patch.com/articles/cunningham-s-d135-election-petitions-challenged Bob, April is still a little while away. Have some patience. What you've mentioned isn't falling on deaf ears. But try not to assume that because you don't immediately see an article on something you mention within the next day (though you'll notice less than 24 hrs. elapsed since mention of Cunningham running for Moraine and my story), that we're not working on it. Thanks. Also, thank you for the quality discourse in this thread, folks. The criticism has been rather constructive and I just wanted you to know I appreciate that.
Diane Jennings January 23, 2013 at 12:02 AM
Did you know that Cathy Morrissey-Lebert, a long time Orland resident, is a busy mother raising two children in addition to working full time as a labor and delivery R.N.? in fact, that's why she wasn't available to file her own papers --she was at work, helping to deliver babies. Yet with all of that, she still has found time to VOLUNTEER her services to the OPPL board of trustees for the past six years. Cathy is a strong voice on the library board advocating fiscal responsibility, and it is because of her efforts and those of the other members of the library board that funding for our wonderful library, with all of its exciting programming, accounts for only three one-hundredths of one percent of your annual tax bill. We serve the community without recompense, and would like to hear from some Patch contributors who appreciate those efforts. Diane Jennings
Diane Jennings January 23, 2013 at 05:12 PM
Had you taken the time to do a study of the subject (as the OPPL Board does in setting salaries), you would have found that salaries at the Orland Park Public Library, including that of the director, assistant director, etc., are in line with the salaries of comparable positions in neighboring library districts. In fact, they probably make less than some of the people in other areas with libraries that are not nearly as well run, or as highly regarded, as OPPL. Further, did you note that, although modest raises were given this year, employees were also required to pay more towards their insurance coverage, wiping out much of the "gain" they saw. The OPPL Board is well aware of the economic times; that's why raises were small, employee insurance costs went up, and the library has consistently come in under budget for the past several years. Diane Jennings
bsosover February 21, 2013 at 08:18 PM
Please look at your tax bill____look at it____ I will speak to you as your elected leaders do----Fire District??? Its the 21st century time to rid the taxpayer of this joke----School districts??? declining enrollment---"ITS for the kids?? We need a news organization to tell us what these "leaders" are thinking--The esteemed leader Laughlin?? time for change baby====
Thunderstorm February 24, 2013 at 05:37 AM
Just reading this again JP -- how about when Linda Anast May resigned and you wouldn't accept it? What a joke that was! Or when you wouldn't let the teachers at Prairie, Liberty, or Jerling have an extra week to get their classrooms back in order before school started after the construction? Or you violating the Open Meetings act when Cachey and Svabek left the closed session meeting and the Attorney General was called? I am sure you forgot about those times. Or when a school board member received letters in the mail that indicated that she she be quiet or else ....? Yeah those were the fun times, weren't they? Or when you would not let Cachey or Svabek speak in open session? Or when a school board member wanted a copy of the superintendents's contract and you wouldn't give it to the member? She had to request it throught a FOIA? Too bad you didn't run a second time, it would have been nice to see you be a sore loser!
Thunderstorm February 24, 2013 at 05:47 AM
Oh boo hoo Diane. I pay more each year for my insurance too. Cry me a river!
Butch Zignotovich March 19, 2013 at 11:57 PM
Fire candidates I would love to see a town hall meeting giving each candidate time for introductions and a question answer session. I think all of the great news surrounding our firefighters in the recent past shows the need for serious leadership. I would like to see a debate type setup or time for each to give a presentation listing there issues and goals.
Larry Moran March 20, 2013 at 01:59 AM
Butch, I would love to have that opportunity. I'm certainly ready any time. Trib Local has already run one story, the Prairie and of course the Patch are coming out with articles as well. While some ideas sound politically safe, they lack the interaction of someone asking questions. I'll talk to anyone and answer any questions. Email me at VoteForLar@Gmail.com , post a question here, or let's get together with your friends and neighbors. Maybe Ben can even swing an online debate! Larry Moran Candidate for Trustee Orland Fire Prot Dist

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