By Lucas Hawley -
Tuesday, Tinley Park voters overwhelmingly passed an advisory referendum in favor of term limits for their elected village officials with a 71.62% to 28.36% margin (16,126 to 6,386 votes). It was a nonbinding referendum, meaning that the village board can disregard the people’s opinion on the matter.
Stephen Eberhardt, the Tinley Park resident behind getting the referendum on the ballot and currently running for mayor of Tinley in the upcoming 2013 village elections, said in his victory email to supporters, “We’re waiting eagerly to hear something from the Village Board. Yet, based on the mayor’s prior comments to the press, we’re not at all optimistic that the current Village Board will take any action to pass a term limits ordinance.”
In the past when the referendum got onto the ballot mayor Zabrocki said; “I don’t understand why someone would want to impose term limits?”(Tinley Park Junction interview Aug 9th).
Out of 8 elected Tinley Park Village officials that 4 have served over 25 years:
- Edward J. Zabrocki: Mayor: 1981 (31 yrs)
- Patrick E. Rea: 1980-2009 (37 yrs) Village Clerk: 2009-Present (3 yrs)
- David G. Seaman: 1984 (28 yrs)
- Gregory J. Hannon: 1987 (25 yrs)
And the other four, under 15 years being Board Trustees:
- Brian S. Maher: 1999 (13 yrs)
- Thomas J. Staunton Jr: 2007 (5 yrs)
- Patricia A. Leoni: 2009 (3 yrs)
- T.J. Grady: (2 yrs)
The final decision is ultimately left up to the village board, but they have to be thinking now even though they are against term limits, how would it look in the upcoming election if they were to deny something that was overwhelmingly supported by the voters? Are they willing to risk a potential public outrage by voting it down?