Tinley Park Mayor Inauguration 2021
Monday, May 2nd 2021, the 24th mayor ever of Tinley Park was sworn in. Mayor Michael Glotz was sworn in along with his new board, including two women (Village Clerk Kristin Thirion and Trustee Colleen Sullivan)! The ceremony was live streamed via Facebook and featured former Mayor Ed Zabrocki who did an outstanding job hosting and retired Brigadier General Patrick E. Rea, who gave a fantastic history of Tinley Park speech. The video recording of the event is available to watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxxX_9zBKec.
To give you context, I was invited to come by new Trustee Colleen Sullivan who I interviewed last year about her children’s book Imaginary Larry. It’s one of the great gifts of this platform—getting to know people I probably wouldn’t have ever gotten to meet.
This being my first inauguration, I was oh so nervous and didn’t want to embarrass Colleen, so this is what I learned: Dress-code-wise, casual is perfectly fine (one of Colleen’s friends came in scrubs right after work), but most people dress business casual or whatever you would wear to church or a fancy cocktail party. For example, I wore a fit and flattering black sleevless midi dress, paired with my Geoffresh green leather moto jacket, and strappy nude dress sandals. After you conquer the dress up part, it’s really easy, just be at your utmost respectfulness levels. And when in doubt, do as others do: stand when everyone stands; put your hand over your heart when everyone puts their right hand over their—you get the idea.
What Happened On Inauguration Night
Small Black Lives Matter Protest Outside The Tinley Park Convention Center
As I approached the the convention center, I heared and saw from a far a small protest of two Black men. One was dressed in a Santa coat and the other wore a bear costume onesie and held a sign that simply read Black Lives Matter. They were saying things like “it’s already too late,” calling out Tinley Park and the post office of all places. I was surprised because Tinley was the site of one of the first peaceful protests in the U.S.A. following George Floyd’s murder last year. But I do remember that there were two sides of people on Oak Park Avenue that day. One side was chanting “Black Lives Matter!” and the other side behaved rudely towards them. I am hardly the authority on Tinley Park, I do know many people at the June 2, 2020 Blackout Tuesday Protest were not from Tinley. I didn’t see this protest from Monday night reported in any news outlets, but it is just as important as other larger ones that have taken place and will most likely take place again around the nation. Like anything, consistency is key in creating longlasting change. I heard those men Monday and I hope others who walked past them did too.
In The Room Where It Happens
So on to the main event—I walk into the convention center and the place is packed. Daniel Fitzgerald (my fellow commissioner on the TInley Park Branding and Marketing Commission) and his team did a beautiful job putting everything together—they deservedly were complimented for their work during one of the speeches.
It’s not a very long ceremony (it was about 42 minutes in length), you see the new board members sworn in, the mayor sworn in, but the big part of it that I loved were all the speakers who had captivating speeches, each in their own style.
Master of Ceremony: Ed Zabrocki
Not to put anyone else down, but I especially enjoyed hearing from Ed Zabrocki, undisputedly the most well known former mayor of Tinley Park. Heck, they named the downtown square Zabrocki Plaza, and you know someone is a big deal when they get something that prominent named after them. Even a northsider like me recognized his name when I moved down here and when he spoke it all made sense why he is so beloved. Zabrocki is very charismatic and his speeches went from funny to moving seamlessly. I especially love when he spoke about Mayor Glotz’s high school days at Brother Rice.
“Mike had sometimes a tumultuous career through Brother Rice, and spent a lot of time in the Dean’s Office. And we have at Brother Rice something called “jug.” Now those of you up at Loyola would call it detention, but we call it “jug,” which stands for Justice Under God, and while we were kind of vetting Mike before he took this job— we went back and went through his records to make sure that all of his jugs were served because he theoretically could not graduate. As we did tha,t what would you guess we would find? There were numerous outstanding warrants—jugs, or Justices Under God that needed to be fulfilled. So in order for us to clean up the record, we have one final Brother Rice High School “jug” for him. And it reads: Michael Glotz, May 3rd 2021. The reason for this: lots of unserved jugs. And your sentence: report to the Village of Tinley Park as mayor.—Ed Zabrocki
Tinley Park Son and Authority: Patrick Rea
Then there was Patrick Rea who talked about Tinley Park’s history. Rea was born and raised in Tinley Park, IL, and from my first meeting him back in 2016 at a Tinley Park Chamber of Commerce Christmas Party, he is well known and well respected in this town. He practically knows everything about it, and his speech is proof. I learned from great gems from his speech and he had beautiful things to say too. More fun facts about Rea: he became a Village Trustee in 1971 and served as Village Clerk from 2009 to 2017. As a life long advocate and supporter of veterans, he is credited with the creation of the Village’s Veteran’s Commission in 1974.
The Mayor of the Hour: Michael Glotz
And then there was Michael Glotz. Great speech, you should watch his speech. And like any smart man, the first person he thanked was his wife. I especially liked him calling out someone named Nancy O’Connor who I’m very curious about now.
“I’d also like to give a special thank you to Nancy O’Connor sitting in the middle of the room. She started this journey, back on February 4, 2016. It seems like a lifetime ago. I blame you for us being here. You were the one that put the plan together and we went forward from there. You’ve always looked out for me, you’ve helped our group and you would handle any tough task we had…and you would tackle it head on and accomplished it and I think everybody is well aware of it.“—Michael Glotz
It’s the recognizing of the women behind the scenes that I love—who knows, maybe we’ll see another female mayor in Tinley sooner than we realize.
Some more fun facts about Michael Glotz:
- He was recently named to the board of directors for Together We Cope, a homeless prevention agency located in Tinley Park this past March.
- Although Glotz not a politician by trade (he’s been a driller with Raimonde Drilling Corporation since 2005, he had a steady presence at Village Board meetings during the time when The Reserve apartment complex was being debated. His delving into village documents and questioning of village officials earned him the nickname “The Excavator,” also a nod to his work with the union that represents heavy equipment operators. He entered the political sphere when Mayor Jacob Vandenberg asked him to run with him on the Concerned Citizens ticket.
I of course fan-girled over Kristin Thirion and Colleen Sullivan, the new clerk and trustee of the village.
A Place At The Table
When everything was over I went up to congratulate Colleen, take a selfie with her, and start the evening together. It was straight out of a movie when we were walking cross to the dining area. Her 4-year-old grandson ran up to her and Colleen scooped him up. So much love in that hug, so much pride on both sides. Chance officially has the coolest grandmother right now.
Sitting at her family’s table, everyone was very welcoming. I met all her daughters, Taylor of course I bonded with since we both have toddlers and are close in age.
It was interesting to talk with Colleen’s uncle-in-law Marty, who just retired from the Village’s Public Works Department. I really enjoyed chatting with his lovely wife Mary.
I was learning so much from everybody (granted I was a little nervous not wearing my mask while eating), and the biggest thing I learned is just how small the world really is. And whatever negativity exists in the shadows of any town, the right people do step up eventually and keep the light burning bright—attracting the good back into a neighborhood and dissuading the negative.
“Do the right thing. The rest doesn’t matter.”— Marcus Aurelius
More people are like Colleen than we realize, those who easily share their table with you.
Once again, thank you so much Colleen Sullivan for inviting me to the Tinley Park Inauguration. The speeches were amazing and your family was great to hangout with afterwards at the dinner. What a smashing starstruck night!