Wednesday, January 25, 2012

City Manager Process...... ongoing!

We have made progress on our search for the City Manager and have been very excited by the high volume and quality of respondents. I expect that the City Council will appoint a City Manager in early spring. As acting City Manager, our very own Patrick Brennan is doing a great job and we are very lucky to have him on board.

Our Senator Mark Kirk

Very troubling to hear the news about Senator Mark Kirk having a stroke. The good news is he made it through that event and will recover.  I know I join many in wishing Senator Kirk a quick and complete recovery. Senator Kirk has been a great citizen and supporter of ours in Highland Park and he will be in my prayers.
Whether it be supporting our schools, veterans, and open lands, Mark has always has been there for us.  Get well soon Mark!!!

Ethics again discussed

Over the years we have been strengthening our Ethics ordinance to remove the appearance or reality of  any conflict between our elected / appointed officials and outside interests. Currently, we are debating whether anybody who is an official of the City of Highland Park be allowed to represent (for hire) anyone in front of the City.  Currently, Commissioners are not allowed to represent others in front of their own commission.

This debate is weighing the risks of disenfranchising qualified citizens whom might do work with the city on behalf of themselves or others from sitting and contributing within our commission system of government. The point in this action would be to take away any perception of conflict that might be caused by these dual roles commissioners might hold. Expert advice and participation in our system is a must for us to make good decisions. Can we recruit quality commissioners under a stricter code and should we disenfranchise those professional citizens that have conflicts? While these questions have not been easy for most, I side on a more restrictive option to remove any doubt or possibility of conflict.

The Council has asked Councilman Blumberg and Kaufman to dig into this one more time and report back to the Council for another discussion.

Lobbying Ordinance

Councilman Paul Frank has sponsored an ordinance to register folks who are paid to appear in front of the City to represent others. This ordinance is moving forward and will be on a City Council agenda soon. The ordinance as presented should not impact many or cost us much to implement. It will provide an online list of those hired to push (for or against) issues of public policy or actions to be taken by the City.

Park and 41 CVS and Starbucks gets approval

UPDATE!!  The development on Park and 41 got a preliminary approval (5-2) from the City Council. We will continue to work with the State to promote a better flow of traffic. I expect the developer to be back for final development approval in short order.

Green Town Highland Park gets Green Light!

We will be holding a Green Highland Park conference on sustainability on or about October 17, 2012. Looking forward to working with fellow Green Folks on developing a program that will give our participants a "Wow" experience.

This workshop will be centered on Highland Park and how we can work with our neighbors and citizens to promote clean energy, cultural arts, other sustainable practices to enhance our lives and community. Over the next several months we will be meeting with leaders to develop a program that will be engaging, informative, and enlightening for all those attending.

Please contact me with your thoughts for presentations and programs for this event...