Five Niles trustees, out of six, continued to assertively use their powers Tuesday night in what some might call an experiment in the democratic process.
While some suburbs' village boards vote in unison with their mayors, the five overrode Mayor Robert Callero's April 24 veto of an ordinance.
Four of them also voted against re-appointing Village Manager George Van Geem, who has held the post for about six and a half years, and served as finance director before that, for about 20 years total of village employment, according to Callero.
Van Geem remains in the post for now, however.
State law says the mayor has to re-appoint village officials (top staff positions) each year with the advice and consent of the trustees, explained Village Attorney Joe Annunzio.
Law is vague on what this means
So if the trustees don't consent to the appointment, does that mean the person is out of a job?
"Not necessarily," Annunzio said. "The law is vague about what happens if he doesn't get the advice and consent of the trustees. He's not out of a job now."
The law does say that if no one is filling the position, then the last person who was appointed--which would be Van Geem--remains in it, Annunzio explained.
Annunzio said the village will consult with an independent law firm which specializes in this area of the law, permit them to do research and then listen to their legal advice. They will need to deliver their opinions before the next village board meeting on June 26, he said.
Trustees showed independence by overriding mayor's veto
Trustees also overrode Callero's veto at the April 24 board meeting of an ordinance the trustees passed at an April 18 special meeting.
The ordinance enables the board of trustees to obtain legal counsel separate and apart from the village.
However, the budget the board passed at Tuesday's meeting does not contain money for that legal counsel, Annunzio pointed out.
"I have some discretionary funds for some legal advice, but not for that," he said.
The five trustees who overrode the mayor's veto are Chris Hanusiak, Jim Hynes, Joe LoVerde, Rosemary Palicki and Louella Preston. Those who voted not to reappoint Van Geem are Hanusiak, Hynes, Palicki and Preston.
LoVerde clarified that he voted yes to the veto override because of an issue about getting legal advice regarding past buyout packages for previous village managers.