By Illinois Review
Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau is obsessed with control – and it’s why he’s pushing a referendum that would give him virtually unlimited power in Orland Park.
He controls the Village Trustees.
He controls restaurants and bars as the liquor commissioner.
He controls who gets contracts with the Village.
And now he wants complete and total control of all Village activities and day-to-day operations under a referendum that was presented at the last minute – without any input from the community; and without a comprehensive plan, during the January 16, 2023 Village Board meeting.
Orland Park, a village of just over 50,000 residents, has been a council-manager form of government since 1983. That managerial style relies on a full-time Village Manager who reports directly to the Village Board of Trustees, of which the mayor is the chair.
Orland Park’s current Village Manager has held that position since 2019, after Pekau pushed out the former Village Manager.
But elevating the mayoral position to that of a full-time, Chicago-style mayor, and by effectively eliminating the need for a full-time Village Manager, Pekau would become the most powerful political figure in Orland Park in over forty years.
In Chicago, which has a mayor-council form of government, Mayor Lori Lightfoot has enormous power and influence over city matters.
And sources confirm that last year, Pekau fortified the Village Hall Board Room, replacing the windows that overlooked a pond, with bulletproof glass – installing a secure door and adding a film that gives a “frosted” look on the glass, to enhance security measures.
Footage of Village Board meetings in 2020 reveal an open-glass background.
Footage of Village Board meetings in January of 2023 reveal the new, secure layout with bulletproof windows, a new, secure door and frosted glass.
During the pandemic, Lightfoot exercised her powers and instructed the Chicago Police Department to quietly create a special unit of over 70 police officers to protect her home and office – in addition to the 20 police officers that were already part of her security detail.
Under a mayor-council form of government, Pekau could do the same, instructing the Orland Park police chief to quietly assemble a special unit of officers to provide full-time protection – including a motorcade of SUVs, officers at his home and office, guarding him around the clock, no matter where he is.
And judging by the upgrades to the Village Hall Board Room, it appears that Pekau is laying the groundwork and making the case that he will require a full-time security detail as the mayor of a village with just over 50,000 residents.
By comparison, Chicago has over 2.7 million residents.
In addition to being power-hungry, Pekau is also paranoid. And the security measures that he’s putting in place at Village Hall proves that.
In Russia, President Vladimir Putin is paranoid about his safety – and he employs a full-time person to taste his food to make sure that his meals aren’t poisoned.
And Putin now travels by an armored train – fearing that his presidential aircraft will be shot out of the sky.
He even travels with his own toilet and instructs his security detail to place his human waste into bags for fear of people examining it and discovering secrets about his health.
While ruling Iraq, Saddam Hussein feared people would know his location, and so he instructed the cooks at his palaces to prepare meals every day to keep people guessing his whereabouts.
Hussein also had body doubles.
In North Korea, Kim Jung-Un also travels with his own toilet, fearing that his health would be revealed by examining his waste. He even had a private bathroom installed in his bulletproof limousine for extra security measures.
It’s ironic that Pekau fears for his safety – or wants to project that optic, so he can justify a full-time security detail if his referendum passes, when he spends so much time talking about how safe Orland Park is.
Pekau even dubbs Orland Park as the safest city in Illinois, tweeting,
“I joined Newsmax to talk about rising crime in Chicago, a stark contrast to OP’s distinction as the safest city in IL. The anti-law enforcement policies/rhetoric of Lightfoot, Foxx, Casten & Newman put our communities & officers at risk.
Perhaps Orland Park isn’t safe at all – and it’s why Pekau is enhancing security measures and installing bullet proof glass and frosting the windows in the Village Hall Board Room.
And maybe the next time you see Pekau, he’ll be traveling with his own toilet.
But as the saying goes, “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”