Burr Ridge candidate raises issue for new ethics committee
Updated: April 15, 2013 2:12AM
BURR RIDGE — The Burr Ridge Village Board approved appointments of four people to the new Ethics Committee on Monday.
And those in attendance wasted no time in giving the group an agenda.
John Bittner, a 38-year resident of the village and candidate for village president, questioned the hiring of a company owned by the son of former mayor Gary Grasso to handle the valet parking at some of the restaurants at Burr Ridge Village Center. Bittner said restaurant owners might have felt pressure to approve the deal with BLU Valet.
“There was no pressure. That would be a false statement,” said Bruce Kraus, director of operations for Eddie Merlot’s, one of three restaurants that use Grasso’s company for valet services.
Kraus said the hiring of BLU was the result of a bidding process.
“It was a good choice for us,” he said.
Village Center General Manager Scott Rolston said the center itself hired BLU to handle weekend valet parking at Wok N Fire as part of that restaurant’s lease agreement.
“I bid out that service to four different companies,” Rolston said. “BLU Valet was the low bidder.”
When First Class Valet offered a lower price, that company was hired and took over as of Feb. 1.
BLU still handles valet parking for Topaz, Capri and Eddie Merlot’s.
Acting Village President Robert Sodikoff, who asked to form the ethics committee, said the group will put guidelines into place to avoid any future perceptions of impropriety.
“It’s always good to set standards, and the higher those standards the better it will be,” Sodikoff said.
“As far as I know, we don’t have an ethics problem,” said Trustee Al Paveza. But an ethics committee, he said, can’t hurt.
“The more transparent we are, the better off we are,” Paveza said.
The committee also will be asked to consider term limits for trustees and the village president.
The committee will include trustees Len Ruzak and Robert Grela, former Village President Jo Irmen and resident Nora Hanlon, who has served on the Gower District 62 School Board.