Mayor Bob Straz (left) and students Ethan Bernsee and Gabriela Espinoza take part in the Oct. 17 mock council meeting. (Photos by Jeff Vorva)

Mayor Bob Straz (left) and students Ethan Bernsee and Gabriela Espinoza take part in the Oct. 17 mock council meeting. (Photos by Jeff Vorva)

Students ‘comfy’ in mock city council meeting

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CLARK 1

Craig Clark was sworn in as a police sergeant Oct. 17 at the Palos Heights City Council meeting.

By Jeff Vorva

Sometimes mayors are on the hot seat.

But for Palos Heights Mayor for a Day Ethan Bernsee? He liked the seat just fine.

“The chairs are comfy,” he said. “And it (the meeting room at City Hall) looks fancy.”

The Independence Junior High School eighth-grader was the mayor in the city’s annual mock council meeting Oct. 17, which served as a warmup to the regular council meeting.

The real mayor, Bob Straz, had a message for the mayor for a day and the students who had other roles in the mock meeting. Students from around the area were selected based on the essays that they wrote.

“Please keep in mind as you move forward is to keep involved and stay involved,” Straz said. “It’s one thing to write an essay and say something but take the effort and take the time. Join. Become a volunteer. Help your community out because that’s what we need – young leaders who can step up and fill roles.

“To be honest with you, as someone who is involved in a lot of not-for-profits and civic organizations I find that right now it’s really hard to get people to join. People just don’t want to step up. Hopefully this is your first step in making that commitment.”

Bernsee had the dual role of mayor and city attorney.

Gabriela Espinoza was the city clerk and city treasurer.

Aldermen were Evelyn Pizer, Alexander Rivera, Zak Bowen, Moira MacLeod, Brynn Gonsur, Omar Yousef, Isla Roditis and Lukas Yerkes.

Money matters

The council voted to loan $250,000 to the Palos Heights Public Library as that entity is waiting for money to come from Cook County, which is running late on sending out some of the tax money due.

It also approved a $2.9 million fund balance transfer from the general fund to the capital improvement funs and $1.6 million from the water and sewer fund to the water and sewer capital projects fund.

The council approved road and construction projects totaling close to $400,000 but Alderman Jack Clifford said that due to grants, the city will not have to pay.

New sergeant

New Palos Heights City Clerk Shannon Harvey performed her first swearing-in ceremony as she swore in new police sergeant Craig Clark.

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