By; Andrew Guzaldo
On April 9th 2012, the public and those of us in the media who follow politics could not really determine who would be better to lead Elmwood Park. With skeptical minds, many went to the polling places with huge doubts about the future of Elmwood Park. With an outgoing longtime serving village president, the future was uncertain. The people of Elmwood Park were presented with ambiguous choices. “Who was the better man to lead Elmwood Park as Village President?
Do we elect someone who never held public office and was a complete newcomer? Or on the other hand, residents thought how can a former State Representative that held no executive office lead a smaller community?
Historically in Elmwood Park, the village president has been the driving force behind village politics. In Elmwood Park, municipal government, as defined by the village code occurs within a system of president, board of trustees and with an appointed manager. The president and trustees are elected as single members as the result of an at-large election. The village manager serves as an appointee of the Village President and board of trustees.
But despite this seemingly workable system, our worry was not about the management of village business, but rather the leadership of our hometown. Leadership isn’t management. They are not synonymous. A good manager does not necessarily lead, however Leaders lead, and managers take orders… Manager’s makes plans, measure, monitor, coordinate, solve, hire and fire. However leaders lead people. Although Elmwood Park had a manager that could easily be replaced, it would soon be without a leader, which was a significant undertaking, need for the village!
However leaders lead people. Although Elmwood Park had a manager that could easily be replaced, it would soon be without a leader. So what is leadership? Some say that it is a way to use influence to maximize the efforts of others towards achieving a goal. Political influence usually has been associated with the “expenditure of political capital,” as if political leadership is the spending of money you received as political contributions. Nonetheless, when political influence is used to maximize the efforts of government to achieve a beneficial goal for the people, this is “true political leadership.”
Many were skeptical about the viability of a former State House Representative, that would be coming to a Village in an election process. However Skip Saviano, was familiar to Elmwood Park and resided there for a number of years…Nonetheless, his supporters and believers were successful at exercising their vote. This caused a clean and clear cut election of Angelo Saviano. For the skeptics, after Savaino’s victory it was simply time to put all aside and honor the Village President. Regardless of whether you were a supporter or one of those skeptics, it has become quite clear that Saviano’s agenda is to continue to preserve Elmwood Park, and to begin to make it a more desirable place to live, and improve safety for all especially the children of Elmwood Park.
Just a few of Saviano’s new plans for Elmwood Park include cleaning up our street of rodent infestation. Under Saviano, the Village of Elmwood Park is now using Anderson Pest Control to inspect and treat areas for rodent activity. The overall plan includes treating public areas, as well as the property of residents.
Luckily for the residents of Elmwood Park, Saviano has shown the ability increase his political influence by doubling it almost immediately. As soon as he was sworn in, he began to show his political influence. Despite years of promises that the state and federal agencies, flood relief and infrastructure projects did not materialize. As a result of Saviano’s influence, the village and its residents are now seeing a turn for better. The streets and sewers are being tackled with the support state run agencies.
The Flood Mitigation projects have the streets of Elmwood Park, as seen in these photos Saviano checks the material and, “hands on” wants to know what they are doing. Work has begun work on 80th Ave between Belmont and Sunset. Soon the project is entering its next phase and crews will wrap up construction on the first stage of the project and looking ready to get started on stage two of the project. This certainly does not seem like the old gridlock and budget faults that once even threatened the celebration our perennial “Taste of Elmwood Park”
In politics, especially in Cook County, influence and thus leadership has gained a negative connotation. Many have been influential at times, but others have been far less successful and fallen trap to greed and personal ambition. Perceptions of how well an elected official is doing his or her job are critical not only in staving off electoral challenges, but also to the success of exercising their political influence or political leadership, when trying to achieve an agenda!!
For Angelo “Skip” Saviano, his strong public support will provide him the latitude to pursue his political agenda. The measure of his success will be how his constraints as a local politician will affect his ability to achieve policy innovations and reform in a more global way.
In politics, leadership requires an individual to obtain or maintain the support of other political participants or to develop the ability to persuade others to do something they might not necessarily consider doing otherwise. This is where Saviano’s experience will shine.
Political capital, otherwise known as influence, comes from a politician’s ability to gather sufficient public support and backing to get elected. After a politician is elected this political capital becomes political influence, the arsenal of political leadership. Nonetheless, for elected officials this influence typically wanes over time, especially if they lose elections.
BOTTOM LINE=When exercising political influence is done at the expense of one’s own political future, it clearly becomes the sign of true leadership. This is exactly what Saviano has demonstrated as a state Representative for a number of years downstate Illinois!!!
But now as Elmwood Park Village President, Angelo “Skip” Saviano continues to never give in easily to defeat, since the first day he took his oath, he entered his office, rolled up his sleeves, and began to comply with what he promised the residents! This is a quality that his supporters, and now the residents will truly admire!!
Now, his Elmwood Park constituents will learn to appreciate him at his word, since many of his plans are not for immediate gratification, but rather more for the long haul and eventual benefit of Elmwood Park hometown’s resident’s future.!!!
Date printed: 9/20/2013
Portions copyright © 2012 Before It’s News Inc., All Rights Reserved. Before It’s News® is a registered Service Mark of Before It’s News Inc..