123 Madison Street  
Oak Park, Illinois 60302  
Village of Oak Park  
Meeting Minutes  
President and Board of Trustees  
Monday, March 13, 2023  
6:30 PM  
Village Hall  
I. Call to Order  
Village President Vicki Scaman called the Special Meeting to order at  
6:32 P.M.  
II. Roll Call  
Trustee Wesley joined the Meeting via video conference per Village Policy  
for remote participation.  
Trustee Enyia joined the Meeting at 6:41 P.M.  
6 -  
Village President Scaman, Village Trustee Buchanan, Village Trustee Enyia, Village  
Trustee Parakkat, Village Trustee Robinson, and Village Trustee Wesley  
1 - Village Trustee Taglia  
III. Consideration of Motion to Adjourn to Executive Session to Discuss Minutes,  
Pending Litigation and Collective Bargaining  
It was moved by Trustee Parakkat, seconded by Trustee Robinson to adjourn into  
Executive Session. The motion was approved. The roll call on the vote was as  
5 -  
Village President Scaman, Village Trustee Buchanan, Village Trustee Parakkat,  
Village Trustee Robinson, and Village Trustee Wesley  
2 - Village Trustee Enyia, and Village Trustee Taglia  
V. Reconvene to Special Meeting in Council Chambers and Call to Order  
The Special Meeting reconvened at 7:21 P.M.  
VI. Roll Call  
6 -  
Village President Scaman, Village Trustee Buchanan, Village Trustee Enyia, Village  
Trustee Parakkat, Village Trustee Robinson, and Village Trustee Wesley  
1 - Village Trustee Taglia  
VII. Agenda Approval  
It was moved by Trustee Parakkat, seconded by Trustee Buchanan to approve  
the Agenda. A voice vote was taken and the motion was approved.  
VIII. Non-Agenda Public Comment  
There was no Non-Agenda Public Comment.  
IX. Regular Agenda  
An Ordinance Amending Chapter 8 (“Business Licensing”) of the Oak Park  
Village Code by Adding a New Article 41 (“Lawn  
Maintenance/Landscaping”) and Amending Chapter 7 (“Buildings”), Article  
0 (“Contractor Registration”), Section 7-0-1 (“Contractor Registration”) and  
Chapter 17 (“Offenses”), Article 1 (“Identification Of Specific Offenses”),  
Section 17-1-30 (“Noise”) of the Oak Park Village Code  
Village Manager Kevin Jackson introduced the proposed ordinance to ban  
gas-powered leaf blowers effective January 1, 2025 and a concurrent  
amendment to strengthen enforcement of the noise ordinance.  
Nick Bridge, member of Plan Commission and OPCAN: Thinks the Village  
is headed in right direction but is dismayed about the two-year delay. Gas  
blowers are noisy and inefficient and put out as much pollutant as a truck.  
Banning gas blowers from June through September would ease the pain.  
Imposing a 65 decibel limit and operation before 8:00 A.M. is also positive.  
The effectiveness of these measures depends on enforcement, which has  
been absent. Suggested the Village Board direct the Environment &  
Energy Commission to look at phasing out lawnmowers as well.  
Development Customer Services (DCS) Director Tammie Grossman  
presented the Item.  
Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer Dr. Danielle Walker presented  
the DEI analysis.  
Trustee Buchanan inquired about the timeline. Director Grossman  
responded that all leaf blowers are currently allowed between 7:00 A.M.  
until 6:00 P.M. The proposed ordinance would shrink the timeframe to 8:00  
A.M. to 6:00 P.M. and would take effect immediately. The Village will  
develop a list of regional landscapers and mail letters with a copy of the  
ordinance and the restrictions.  
Trustee Buchanan asked if a business license is required for landscapers  
who have physical offices. Director Grossman responded that they are  
required to get a general business license but there is not one that is  
specifically for landscaping companies. The Village wants to clarify the  
definition of the business and require a business license that includes  
home-based landscaping companies.  
Trustee Robinson raised the issue of language access. She noted that  
Palm Springs did a very concerted bilingual effort to get information out to  
businesses that included radio ads. Dr. Walker agreed that is why it is so  
important to determine who is the landscaping population. The Village's  
outreach efforts will include bilingual outreach, working with the  
Communications Department to generate material in English and Spanish,  
and having Spanish speakers and/or translation services.  
Trustee Robinson recommended making bilingual material available to  
homeowners at Village Hall and on the website that they can give to their  
landscapers. Dr. Walker confirmed that is part of the Village's equitable  
outreach strategy.  
Trustee Buchanan asked why this will take two years. Director Grossman  
responded that the Village wanted to provide enough time for the DEI  
analysis and focus groups. If it is determined that the Village needs to  
provide economic incentive or assistance to landscapers, staff will bring a  
proposal to the Fall 2023 budget conversations to be implemented in 2024  
before the ban takes effect June 2025.  
Trustee Parakkat said he remembered the amount previously discussed  
for economic incentives was $1M. Director Grossman responded that she  
does not anticipate it being even one-tenth of that. Trustee Parakkat  
suggested providing an analysis to determine if there are other  
sustainability initiatives to reduce carbon emissions that can give a better  
bang per buck than these costs for incentives and enforcement. There may  
be alternative models of enforcement than an FTE. Director Grossman  
responded that the Village does not want to rely on enforcement, but rather  
on voluntary cooperation through education and outreach so that additional  
enforcement costs are not necessary.  
Trustee Buchanan noted that this issue came from residents with a petition  
of over 1,000 signatures. Gas blowers are noisy, emit many greenhouse  
gases, and are a worker health and safety issue. This is a great pilot case  
for what the Village is going to do for climate change mitigations. She  
quoted the International Labor Organization's definition of a just transition  
as "greening the economy in a way that is as fair and inclusive as possible  
to everyone." She recommended including the workers in addition to the  
owners in the focus groups. She said the costs should be passed onto the  
homeowners who are choosing to get their lawns serviced. She said she  
would like to see this happen sooner.  
President Scaman said she knows some business owners start their  
businesses with used equipment and the focus groups will be important in  
determining that.  
Trustee Wesley said a big concern for him is changing the demographic of  
business owners in our community. Regarding enforcement, he said he  
does not want police responding to complaints about leaf blowers and he  
will vote no if that is on the table. He said the Village does not have the  
manpower for that and he does not want the relatively white community  
calling the police on the relatively brown landscapers.  
President Scaman clarified that the enforcement piece would be someone  
from DCS. Director Grossman added that if a resident calls in, the police  
will get the information, and DCS will contact the resident. DCS would not  
ask police to write a ticket. DCS can also promote a phone number for  
residents to call.  
Trustee Wesley said the homeowners should pay for citations because  
they are contracting the landscapers and they should be familiar with the  
Village ordinance. Director Grossman responded that the ordinance is  
written to be able to ticket the contractor and/or the homeowner.  
Trustee Wesley said he is on board with the focus groups and second  
language communications. He suggested doing outreach to neighboring  
communities for those affected that may not live in Oak Park. Dr. Walker  
agreed the Village wants to be inclusive of everyone who will be impacted.  
The engagement process will start with the landscape contractors and then  
think about who else needs to be included in the conversation.  
Trustee Wesley inquired about Section 8-41-4 which says "prior to June 1,  
2025, the operation of gasoline-powered leaf blowers is prohibited  
between June 1 to September 30." He wondered if it is signed today it  
would mean all gas blowers will be prohibited right away. Director  
Grossman confirmed that is correct.  
Trustee Enyia said residents should remember what these gas blowers  
emit into our air and what safety hazards they pose for workers. He said he  
wants to ensure the communications piece is there and working with  
translation agencies and providing flyers and QR codes. This is one of  
many issues the Village Board is addressing.  
President Scaman said there is a cultural competency and sense of pride  
among some business owners for fixing up old equipment and keeping  
costs down as opposed to raising costs and passing those onto the  
homeowner. She had this conversation with the C4 urban efficiencies  
group who is concerned that Oak Park can mess this up for other  
communities if we do not take the time to be thoughtful and listen to these  
business owners, who may choose to go elsewhere. As a result, the  
business owners who can convert to electric blowers will gain more  
customers and can raise their rates and make Oak Park more of a  
community of privilege instead of the diverse, equitable, inclusive  
community we aim to be. She said it may be possible to shorten the  
timeline after conducting the focus groups. She encouraged utilizing C4 for  
the education piece and the engagement piece with neighboring  
Trustee Robinson asked if the effective date on the ordinance remains the  
same. Manager Jackson confirmed the effectiveness date of the ban will  
remain the same and the education and outreach activities would start now.  
Based on what is discovered in the outreach process and doing a  
cost-benefit analysis to determine if incentives are required, staff will bring  
that back to the Village Board to consider amending the ordinance.  
Trustee Wesley asked again for clarification of the ordinance. Director  
Grossman clarified that voting tonight will ban gas blowers from June  
through September effective immediately, and will ban them year-round  
starting June 1, 2025.  
Trustee Parakkat asked if there would be any enforcement now if the  
ordinance is passed. Director Grossman responded that the Village has  
inspectors out in the community and will be using internal staff for  
Trustee Wesley noted that if this ordinance is passed, the Village would still  
be doing a partial ban before doing any outreach reach or communication  
with the folks that would be impacted by it. Director Grossman clarified that  
the Village is not intending to do enforcement by issuing tickets this  
summer. The Village intends to tell people there is a ban during the  
summer months.  
Trustee Wesley asked who will be communicated with. Director Grossman  
responded that the Village has the names from the survey. When  
inspectors see someone using a gas blower, they will give them  
educational material.  
Village Attorney Stephanides noted that the current Village Code provision  
Section 17-1-30 already prohibits gas blowers during that time.  
Trustee Wesley asked why this ordinance is banning them again if they are  
already banned. Director Grossman responded that the Village moved the  
provision from the noise ordinance to the business licensing ordinance.  
It was moved by Trustee Parakkat, seconded by Trustee Enyia, that this  
Ordinance be adopted. The motion was approved. The roll call on the vote was  
as follows:  
6 -  
Village President Scaman, Village Trustee Buchanan, Village Trustee Enyia, Village  
Trustee Parakkat, Village Trustee Robinson, and Village Trustee Wesley  
1 - Village Trustee Taglia  
Public Safety Annual Report  
Village Clerk Waters read the following public comment aloud:  
Kurt Roskopf: Tonight's presentation shows 266 motor vehicle thefts and  
90 catalytic converter thefts last year. These are serious crimes affecting  
quality of life and presenting a financial burden for Oak Parkers. How many  
resulted in arrests? Concerned there aren't consequences for this type of  
crime. The numbers show police are only stopping eight cars daily and  
writing one ticket. There has been a four-fold drop in citations in the past  
few years. Why such a sharp decrease? Is current enforcement enough to  
ensure safe streets?  
Manager Jackson introduced the Item which is an overview status of the  
Oak Park Police Department (OPPD) and an overview of crime trends. He  
introduced Chief of Police Shatonya Johnson to give her first annual report  
as chief. Chief Johnson was appointed November 7, 2022 after having  
served as Interim Chief since April 14, 2022. During that time, there was a  
retirement and a promotion of a deputy police chief. There are currently two  
vacancies at the command level that the Village is ready to fill sometime in  
Chief Johnson introduced Interim Deputy Chief Jacobson, Administrative  
Commander Murphy, and Commanders Stewart, Kane, and Dransoff. She  
presented the overview and highlighted three areas of staffing, crime stats,  
and key initiatives for 2023.  
Trustee Robinson said she looks forward to receiving information about the  
vehicle-related theft arrests. She wondered if the catalytic converter thefts  
may be difficult to track and there may be natural barriers to arrests. Chief  
Johnson said it is a proactive approach to use the bright paint as a  
deterrent. She said it also requires victims to be cooperative and sign  
Trustee Robinson asked if citations are expected to increase now that  
COVID-19 concerns have decreased. Chief Johnson confirmed that is  
Trustee Robinson referenced the 22 FTE shortage and the fact that the  
work is still being done. She asked if OPPD is spending more money by  
paying overtime and about the potential for having the police force being  
overworked and the increase in the propensity for injuries and workers  
compensation claims. Chief Johnson responded that it's important to also  
look at the employee benefits provided so she does not believe OPPD is  
spending more in overtime than it would if it were fully staffed. Regarding  
officer burn out, when OPPD can project a shortage, they put out for  
voluntary overtime and it does not have to be a full 8-hour shift.  
Trustee Robinson asked what is the highest priority from the BerryDunn  
report that OPPD needs Village Board support from. Chief Johnson  
responded that it would be a new facility. She said OPPD appreciates the  
support of the Village Board. Trustee Robinson added that she  
appreciates the level of input and support OPPD has given to Jailyn Logan  
Bledsoe's family.  
Trustee Enyia thanked OPPD for doing more with less, for their proactive  
work on the wheel lock, and for getting 80+ guns off the street in one year.  
He said he spoke to a 7-Eleven owner who said he feels so much safer  
now with the ordinance. He said he appreciates OPPD being proactive  
with body cams.  
Trustee Enyia noted the variance in flock numbers and the alarming rate of  
African American males that were stopped and the cases where the LEAD  
system didn't work. Chief Johnson responded that it wasn't necessarily that  
the LEAD system didn't work but rather the jurisdiction that put it in failed to  
take it out. The people who are stopped are random because OPPD  
doesn't control the alert or see the person who is driving.  
Trustee Enyia clarified his concern that when a person of color is stopped,  
it can be very triggering for those individuals even if they haven't done  
anything wrong. He requested a continuous retraining to understand this  
system can be flawed and forge a relationship with outside agencies to  
figure out how to make it more accurate.  
Trustee Enyia asked how the trauma training for officers can be mandated  
before they are on the street. Chief Johnson responded that for the crisis  
intervention training, OPPD is ahead of the curve at 60% and applied for a  
grant to be able to have in-house training which would accelerate that. She  
said OPPD practices procedural justice whereby officers take time to  
educate the driver about what took place and why. She acknowledged the  
stress individuals experience when seeing a police car behind them and  
said OPPD does what they can to minimize that impact. They educate  
them and allow them to voice their frustration and treat them fairly and be  
transparent in what they're doing and why.  
Trustee Parakkat said the presentation reinforces his belief that our  
community safety and police department are in the right hands with Chief  
Johnson and her team. He noted that he did not see the word  
"enforcement" in the 21st century policing and wondered if that was  
intentional. Chief Johnson responded that enforcement goes with crime  
reduction which including community policing. If OPPD is proactive in its  
approach and is present and visible, it would directly minimize crime. She  
said it does not include the word enforcement but it is essentially the same  
thing that OPPD is working to reduce crime.  
Trustee Parakkat referenced the significant increase in overall crime from  
2021 to 2022 and requested an explanation. Chief Johnson responded that  
the increase takes place in warm months. She said the catalytic converter  
thefts and motor vehicle thefts constitutes some of the shift but it goes back  
to property crimes, with an additional 84 incidents from 2021 to 2022,  
compared to 11 additional incidents of society crime. For violent offenses,  
it is a one incident difference, which is consistent with the fact that we are  
impacted largely with property crime and OPPD is trying to be proactive in  
that area.  
Trustee Parakkat said traffic issues are a recurring theme so he  
appreciates putting a metric on that and training staff to focus on that.  
Trustee Buchanan said that the recruitment and retention is worrisome and  
sad that officers are leaving the profession, retiring early, or not joining in  
the first place. She made a comparison to the field of medicine where the  
remedy to making mistakes is malpractice. She said there isn't that type of  
remedy with policing so we are left with people who have been harmed by  
police practices. She said we all support the police department and want  
the police there when there is an immediate threat to our safety.  
Trustee Buchanan said she encourages a continued humility and openness  
to the fact that there are people harmed and the police have a reputation of  
closing ranks and protecting which creates additional harm. She said she  
appreciates this possibility of a change of culture. A healthy profession  
shouldn't require blind support; it requires criticism and calling out when  
mistakes are made. Chief Johnson said she is constantly asked from  
community members about what the police need from them and her  
response to them is to hold us accountable. It takes a village to keep the  
community safe.  
Trustee Enyia referenced a situation he saw recently that involved two youth  
and 5 or 6 police cars. Chief Johnson said OPPD received a citizen  
complaint regarding that incident as well and OPPD investigated it. She  
explained that when there is a report of an in-progress crime, officers will  
respond. As soon as they determine there is no threat, they will go back in  
service. If it is on the cusp of two different beats, multiple officers will arrive.  
There are also three officers who are in training and also trying to get there  
Trustee Parakkat asked if a projection can be made on crime based on  
trends so far this year. Chief Johnson responded that it is early in the year  
but OPPD has seen a slight decrease in catalytic converter thefts thus far.  
She does project a decrease as a result of providing the steering wheel  
Trustee Wesley said he appreciated Chief Johnson's presentation.  
President Scaman said that she is feeling from OPPD that we are in this  
together and working as one village to better ourselves and ensure we  
continue to be ahead of the curve and listen to the community. She gave  
her appreciation to the chief and her department.  
Manager Jackson thanked Chief Johnson and OPPD for preparing the  
presentation and the Village Board for their engagement. He said the  
Village remains committed to providing quarterly updates on crime  
statistics to monitor trends.  
X. Adjourn  
It was moved by Trustee Parakkat, seconded by Trustee Buchanan to Adjourn. A  
voice vote was taken and the motion was approved. Meeting adjourned at 10:30  
P.M., Monday, March 13, 2023.  
Respectfully Submitted,  
Deputy Clerk Hansen