LANSING | Village President Norm Abbott says a change in the layout to the Village Board meetings is meant to make trustees more visible to the public.
On Tuesday, that new layout was apparent in the courtroom at 2710 170th St., which serves as the Village Board chambers.
Gone were the two long tables set up in front of the seats where trustees, Village Clerk Patty Eidam and Abbott sit during meetings. Those tables served as a makeshift desk for the village’s department heads who attend board meetings in case trustees have questions about various issues.
Those department heads are still in attendance, but they’re now sitting in chairs set off to the side.
“Moving them over there clears the view, it lets people see us without anyone in their way,” Abbott said.
Also, the village attorney no longer sits next to Abbott but in front of him. While now-retired Village Attorney Dale Anderson usually would speak during meetings only if asked questions, Abbott said he is going to expect new Village Attorney Timothy Lapp to make regular reports about village business and legal issues.
“It will allow him to be more visible,” Abbott said of Lapp, adding, “We’re going to be doing many things differently in the future.”
The new layout bears a strong resemblance to the layout of the chamber at South Holland Village Hall, 16226 Wausau Ave., which Abbott said was not coincidental.
“It’s very close,” he said.
Village Administrator J. Wynsma, who held the same post for South Holland municipal government from 2004 through 2011, downplayed the similarity.
“This is not like South Holland,” he said.
But Abbott said he has long respected the way South Holland government operates, and said specifically of South Holland Village President Don DeGraff, “He’s doing something right, he keeps getting re-elected for nearly 25 years.” DeGraff has been village president since 1994.
“I wish I could be so lucky,” Abbott said.