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posted: 10/1/2012 5:00 AM

Editorial: A sad lack of leadership in Lombard

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The Daily Herald Editorial Board

The village of Lombard has been without a leader since Village President William J. "Bill" Mueller died Aug. 18.

It seems humility, common sense and decency died with him.

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Since his death, the six trustees elected to serve on the board have failed miserably at selecting an interim replacement. No matter that the interim leader now will end up serving until next spring, at this point only about seven months. It's just too much for the trustees to settle on giving anyone that power and gavel.

Of course, part of the problem comes because Trustees Zachary Wilson and Keith Giagnorio plan to run for mayor in the April election. Trustees Greg Gron, Bill Ware and Laura Fitzpatrick do not. Newest trustee Peter Breen has not indicated publicly whether he'll run.

At two separate meetings, the trustees repeatedly have failed to settle on a replacement. At one meeting in early September, they rejected motions nominating four of them to lead: Wilson, Gron, Fitzpatrick and Ware.

They also nixed a plan other communities have used to rotate in an acting mayor on a monthly basis, giving each of them a chance in the big chair. They even had trouble deciding who should preside over that first meeting at which they failed at choosing a leader. The trustees ended up picking a name from a hat.

That was an unfortunate omen of what was to come. At a second meeting two weeks ago, three trustees walked out of a meeting at 9:15 p.m., thereby ensuring no one would be chosen to serve because there was no quorum.

Efforts to choose the longest-serving trustee, Gron, so far have failed. A suggestion to appoint the newest trustee, Breen, also failed to attract enough support.

This is downright silly. And embarrassing. Lombard residents ought to consider punishing them all for their ridiculous intractability.

They're getting plenty of good advice and chiding from themselves and others, but they don't seem to be listening.

"I have no intention of playing hopscotch with this position," Fitzpatrick said at one point.

"I will not play any numbers games. This is not a casino," Giagnorio said at a later meeting.

Not playing at all also isn't an answer. It leads us to conclude the trustees are behaving like children who pick up their bats and balls and go home when they don't get their way.

They should all be ashamed. They should be shamed into settling on a choice at their next meeting Thursday, if not sooner. Pick the longest serving. Pick the shortest serving. Put all the names of those who say they won't run in April in a hat and pick one. Just get this done. Residents deserve better. It is simply sad that even a public lecturing by Mueller's widow didn't even prompt trustees to act. We can't say it any better than Eileen Mueller did: "It is now your job to collaborate in the best interest of Lombard."

Not your best interests. Lombard's. Choose.

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