Former Yorkville Mayor Art Prochaska Jr. was appointed to the city’s plan commission Tuesday despite objections from some residents and aldermen.
Mayor Gary Golinski appointed Prochaska to the spot over commission chair Anne Lucietto, who lives outside the city but within 1.5 miles of the city limits.
“He was the only application I received from a city resident,” Golinski said of Prochaska.
Aldermen approved the appointment, 6-2, with Ward 1 Aldermen George Gilson Jr. and Ward 4 Alderman Diane Teeling voting against it. The plan commission is an advisory board that makes recommendations about proposed developments in the city and within 1.5 miles of city limits.
A handful of area residents who spoke against Prochaska’s appointment during public comment at Tuesday’s city council meeting pointed to litigation involving a landfill proposal, botched deals with developers and massive development that happened during Prochaska’s administration as mayor.
Todd Milliron, who lives just outside the Yorkville city limit, said Golinski was motivated by politics.
“Mr. Prochaska is the one who appointed Mr. Golinski to the city council in 2007," he said. "He's someone who could be given credit for starting Mr. Golinski's political career. There are members of this council sitting here tonight who actively campaigned against the landfill and formerly attacked Mr. Prochaska for his actions as mayor.”
Milliron said Lucietto served on the plan commission since 1990, after serving on the city’s library board for two years.
“Gary hasn't even lived in Yorkville for 10 years,” Milliron said.
But Golinski defended Prochaska’s record, pointing to development such as Jewel Food Store, Menards, Rush-Copley’s free-standing emergency center and Raging Waves Waterpark.
“I don’t understand all the controversy but I think he’s done more for the city than some of the people in this room,” Golinski said during the city council meeting. “The development has been phenomenal.”
After the meeting, Prochaska said some of the financial problems the city currently faces in light of stalled residential developments were beyond his control and the control of other city leaders while he was mayor.
“I want to continue to serve the people of Yorkville by helping to make sure the city’s growth is reasonable and responsible,” Prochaska wrote in his application for the plan commission.
Before voting, Ward 1 Alderman Carlo Colosimo emphasized that the plan commission is an advisory board that sends recommendations to the Yorkville City Council. Ward 3 Alderman Chris Funkhouser said he was surprised to see Prochaska’s application but he would support the appointment.
“I have given this a lot of thought,” Funkhouser said. “For somebody who has taken as much abuse as he has and is still willing to come back, that takes a lot.”
Gilson asked his fellow aldermen to hold off on voting on the appointment to “spend some time putting the right person on this advisory board.”
“I could go on and on about why I don’t think Art [Prochaska] should be on this commission,” Gilson said.
Golinski also appointed longtime commission member Tom Lindblom as the new chair; Lindblom had chaired the plan commission before Lucietto’s appointment.