Voters Should Reject “Union” Park Board Slate


On August 16, 1937, pro-union President Franklin D. Roosevelt authored a letter to the head of the Federation of Federal Employees, commending the latter on his organization’s resolution against strikes in government service.  FDR wrote: 

All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management. 

We heartily agree with that view, and with similar views expressed by private-sector union leaders like the iconic AFL-CIO president George Meany.  Those views and the public sentiment they engendered were sufficient to keep unions out of the public sector until the late 1950s, when public-sector unions gained official recognition in Wisconsin and New York City.  

By 2009, public-sector union members outnumbered their private-sector counterparts, despite there being 5 times more private-sector workers than public-sector ones.  As a result of that increased union membership and collusion between our elected public officials and public-sector employee union leaders, this nation’s taxpayers are not only facing higher government current operating costs, but also as much as a trillion dollars of unfunded public-sector retirement obligations for employees who can (and often do) retire 10 years earlier than their private-sector counterparts, with guarantied pension benefits that dwarf our 401(k)s.     

Now, in 2011, we have a “first” in a local election: a slate of candidates – Nicholas Giordano, Kristen Mattes and Peter Wachowski – being sponsored by Local 73 of the Service Employees International Union (“SEIU”), the very union that represents some of the Park District’s workers. 

And by “sponsored” we mean Local 73’s vice president Tim McDonald circulating their nominating petitions;  and the union’s paying for that slate’s signs – as reported in last week’s Park Ridge Herald-Advocate (“Park Ridge Recreation and Park District: Union-backed candidates criticized by opponents for park board seats,” Mar. 22).

That raises a serious question of to whom those candidates will be beholden if elected.  That question distinguishes them from all three of their opponents: incumbent commissioners Jim O’Brien and Mary Wynn Ryan, and newcomer Mel Thillens. 

O’Brien has been a dependable voice for fiscal responsibility in his four years on the Board.  Thillens brings both financial and recreation experience from the private sector in the form of his work for his family’s businesses: Thillens Check Cashing and Thillens Stadium. 

And although we have disagreed vehemently with Ryan on the closing of Oakton Pool, and on running the Community Center and the Senior Center more profitably, we believe her views on those topics are more her own than the simple parroting of the position of some special interest or other.   

That’s why we strongly encourage you to vote for Jim O’Brien, Mary Wynn Ryan and Mel Thillens for the Park Ridge Recreation and Park District Board on Tuesday, April 5.

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3 comments so far

I’m troubled that a union which represents park district employees would try to elect park board members. And I’m even more troubled with the judgment of candidates who say they are independent of the union but would accept the help and money they accepted from the union.


Have you been in a cave?? If you find this troubling you must either have been in a cave or OTL. This is the way it has been and, since the Supreme Court turned back corporate campaign contributions, it will be even more so. You are troubled by the judgement??? What about elected officials that have made clear tracable decisions based on contributions?!?!?

The problem is that most people are troubled by the unions but not troubled by the Koch brothers or vise-versa. They are both wrong!!!

EDITOR’S NOTE: PublicWatchdog would be suspicious of the Koch Brothers (or George Sotos) gathering petition signatures and funding local political campaigns. But not as suspicious as we are of contributions by the SEIU to the campaigns of people who are supposed to be guarding the Park District treasury from, among other things, pillaging by the SEIU.

Let’s not forget that an SEIU backed majority on the Park Board (recall that Commissioner Brandt was backed by the SEIU in his election win in 2009 – and if the three SEIU folks running today win, we would have a majority of four on teh Board) could be seated and move to immediately fire the Executive Director and place an SEIU person at the helm. That would be a disaster for the citizens of Park Ridge.

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