I am one opinionated gal, and although I typically share my ranting’s and musings with my closest friends, today I feel compelled to reach my fellow Winnetkans because I sense we have a divisive undercurrent coursing through our town and the latest neighbors with battle scars are Village Trustee nominee Joe Adams and challenger Patrick Livney.
Somehow, the position of Village Trustee has been twisted to become a vote for or against affordable housing. That issue was asked and answered by our community last April; this election is about determining who is going to represent each one of us, acting as Trustee and setting Village policy through the adoption of ordinances, resolutions, motions and budgets. A Trustee is not a volunteer position to be decided lightly, it’s the pinnacle of responsibility to serve your village. Therefore, the higher the post, the more scrutinized screening process the candidate should have to pass.
The Caucus Council is not a rubber stamp to the nominating committee. The Council operates as the check and balance system and sometimes the broader population will respectfully disagree with a decision. In this situation, the Council functioned exactly as it should and it was the right choice to remove Livney from the slate of candidates and insert Joe Adams instead. Here’s why:
Although I don’t know exact numbers, it’s been commented that there were as many as 100 residents volunteering for the three Trustee positions. I would expect there to be a multi-level screening process before the final round of applicants filtered down to the nominating committee for an extensive interview process.
Somewhere along this multi-level screening process two questions should have been asked:
1. What is your past community service experience/positions held in Winnetka?
2. Are you named as a defendant in any pending lawsuits-yes or no?
These are reasonable, unbiased, neutral questions to ask anyone. I would like to see every candidate nominated as a Village Trustee to have a documented progressive path of community service.
Patrick Livney wants to jump with both feet to the top position of Trustee; in contrast, Joe Adams began his community service with the Zoning Board of Appeals in 2005. Over seven years, his hard work and dedication led him to the President position. Adams has diligently served this community; his past performance has gained our respect, and he has absolutely earned this nomination to the slate of candidates. I’m confident that in the Trustee position, Adams will continue to research community needs and respond within the best interests of our Village.
Although Livney is named as a defendant in a few civil lawsuits, it’s only fair to assume that he’s innocent until proven guilty. That being said, I simply cannot support any proposed Village Trustee candidate entering the position with pending lawsuits, it’s just bad policy and completely unnecessary to choose a candidate with a serious unknown variable when you consider the vast, equally-qualified applicant pool that Winnetka can draw from. I would feel more comfortable considering Livney for a future Trustee position when his name as defendant is eliminated from all remaining lawsuits or there has been a judgment by the court whether he is liable or not liable.
It’s unfortunate that these two men have been unwittingly pitted against each other. Livney may be a good candidate, but he’s not the best man to be supported for the job today-Joe Adams is.
It’s up to the Winnetka residents to make their own informed decision and take the time to cast their vote at the Town Meeting on Monday, November 12th, 7:30 p.m. in the Skokie School auditorium.
Lee Ann Rechtin of Winnetka