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February 27, 2024

Tinley Park Officials Continue Flood of Resignations Amidst Public Scrutiny –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On March 30, 2016

Tinley Park, IL (ECWd) –

More Tinley Park officials have resigned their positions this week, amidst the continuing scrutiny the Village Board and high-ranking employees have received since thousands of citizens started packing Village meetings and demanding answers for why zoning codes appear to have been illegally tampered with to allow an out-of-state developer to gain approval for a low income housing project that would have never met code requirements without such tampering. 

In February, 7 members of the 9-member Planning Commission abruptly resigned once questions started being asked about why they signed off on the zoning code tampering. Now, Assistant Village Manager Mike Mertens and Village Trustee Bernard Brady have also abruptly resigned, a week after the Village was served with a lawsuit in Cook County chancery court asking a judge to void the illegal tampering done to the zoning codes. Trustee Brady was named as a defendant in that lawsuit and gave no explanation for his sudden resignation. 

Mike Mertens, an employee of the Village since 1998, is a controversial figure because he claims to have maintained two residences during the time that he’s held the position of Assistant Village Manager: a house in Tinley Park and another home in Chicago. The Village of Tinley Park requires high-ranking Village employees like Mertens to actually live in Tinley Park. Mertens’ wife works in Chicago and he told the Southtown newspaper in an interview about his resignation that he and his wife want to live closer to where she works, hence his resignation. But questions are now being asked about whether Mertens has actually been living in Chicago for some time and just commuting back and forth to Tinley Park, which would be against the Village’s residency rules for high-ranking employees like Mertens. It seems strange to many that Mertens would choose to resign as Assistant Village Manager now, when he’s held that position for the last 13 years and was likely to be named Interim Village Manager in May (or maybe even be made the new Village Manager outright). Why resign when Mertens seemed close to getting the big job? It doesn’t make sense. 

Brady is resigning a seat on the Village Board that is up for election in April 2017. Whoever is appointed to fill that seat on the all-male Board will thus hold the seat until that election. Many are hoping that Mayor David Seaman breaks up the old boys’ network by appointing a woman to fill Brady’s seat. 

Brady seemed to typically vote the way the old guard wanted him to vote instead of the way that the public wanted him to vote, so his resignation was received with cheers from many in Tinley Park. During board meetings, Brady slumped in his chair, made faces at the public, and occasionally sparred with other Board members. He seemed ill-suited for public office, particularly when the public started showing up in droves to demand answers at these meetings. Brady didn’t seem too much like having to answer to the public. 

When public officials and employees realize they are being scrutinized and the public has started paying attention, many discover an urge to scatter and resign their positions instead of answering questions and engaging with the public. These people seem to enjoy being part of a public body more when the public isn‘t paying attention.

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  • Dave
    Posted at 20:26h, 30 March

    Wow, could there be jail time for someone?

  • mj
    Posted at 09:12h, 31 March

    Some village board members actions at public meetings reflect a measure of arrogance. I would hope residents do not counter such behavior. Let the boards actions be theirs and theirs alone. Interim Mayor Seamen is exactly that. He is a past board member who may have been an outsider in truth. My concern is more for the sudden efforts to counter any investigations into the past. I also find it very suspicious so many board members suddenly are finding a need to leave. Public representatives usually don’t exit in mass. These are board members who have served for some time. I would urge all legal authorities and their agencies to eagerly pursue investigations. I think it’s time to consider asking the Justice Department to get involved. Why? Past and present board member actions seemingly appear to show contempt toward the public. Power corrupts and perhaps these members have been in power far too long hence the need to exit and block.

  • Jeanne
    Posted at 13:11h, 31 March

    These are public servants. Leave them alone. Find a new hobby and stop bothering and harassing these people. If you could do a better job then do it. Otherwise find something good to do with your lifes.

    • jmkraft
      Posted at 14:09h, 31 March

      Jeanne, just for you, we will double our efforts. Thanks!

      • mark from tp
        Posted at 22:32h, 31 March

        Right on jmkraft, and I do live in Tinley, keep up the good work to expose these “public servants”

    • Eric Blair
      Posted at 08:45h, 01 April

      Jeanne says: “These are public servants. Leave them alone.” Are you serious? If so then the word “Braindead” comes to mind. Along with a few more that can’t be posted here. Go back to sleep. Sleep is obviously all you do. What a moron.

  • Lynn M Gory
    Posted at 15:11h, 31 March

    I have been a resident of Tinley Park for over 45 years. I grew up here, raised my family here. I am just sick at all the controversy in this town that was once running like a well oiled machine. I would love to know the real culprits behind all these upheavals. I would moreso like to know the motives for all the nay saying fingerpointing and resigning. I have great Trust in Mayor Seaman to shake this off and mend our broken village. Its like savages have been unleashed. Your only tarnishing this great place to live by feeding the media. Im proud of Tinleys growth. I so happy I grew up in a such a great place and this mudslinging has stop. We should all be on the same team and if we disagree we should quietly amongst ourselves in closed meetings resolve our issues. Tinley Park is a beautiful Town lets remember that. My Father has Gory Park named after him for all his years as a unpaid public servant My Parents are buried here. That is why this Tinley Park daughter is sick of trash talking. Its time to work together to continue building the enriched community we strive for. I want my parents great grandchildren to know what its like to have a hometown as awesome as Tinley Park is and has been.

    • Jeanne
      Posted at 17:54h, 31 March

      NONE of this needs to be done out in public like this. They should be taking care of all of this in closed meetings. Only busybodies with no lifes care about any of this. This is not a soap opera for entertainment. Experts should just sort it out behind the scenes and it does not need to be dragged out for show and tell. This is not how things are supposed to work.

      • jmkraft
        Posted at 19:10h, 31 March

        Sounds like you are either part of the problem or related to part of the problem. Taking everything behind closed doors only creates problems and creates corruption. The only soap opera is of their own making. This is exactly how things are supposed to work!

        • Jeanne
          Posted at 19:54h, 31 March

          You don’t even live in Tinley Park so you should stay out of our business. Why don’t you focus on Edgar County because you are the Edgar County hotdogs and not the Tinley Park nothing.

          • jmkraft
            Posted at 19:59h, 31 March

            You are simply reminding us that we are doing the right thing. Thanks again.

  • anon
    Posted at 16:30h, 31 March

    A thought- maybe if you would quit poking holes in their ship the rats might quit jumping off?

  • Lynn M Gory
    Posted at 23:25h, 31 March

    There is always a few bad seeds in any organization . They are gone now. Time to refocus. Enough is enough.

    • jmkraft
      Posted at 07:40h, 01 April

      enough is only enough after people are held accountable

  • Gary
    Posted at 17:38h, 01 April

    When an elected body in a democratic society violates the public trust it is the right and obligation of the citizens to demand answers to the who, what, when, where and why questions being asked. No telling how this will end up or who will be left, but remember that local elections are coming up in 2017.

  • John Watson
    Posted at 18:25h, 01 February

    You are a total jerk. You helped blow up an excellent town. And you don’t have enough brains to know it. You should have your fat ass kicked

    • jmkraft
      Posted at 19:47h, 01 February

      Obviously you are clueless.