Village Board Members
The Board of Trustees is the policy-making branch of the Park Forest government. The board is responsible for enacting all legislation for the health, safety, and welfare of the residents of the village. Trustees are elected to four-year terms. The mayor is elected to a four-year-term.
President Jonathan Vanderbilt is a fourth generation Park Forest resident. Vanderbilt holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Millikin University and has served on the Mayor’s Citizen Advisory Committee, the Park Forest Recreation and Parks Advisory Board, and the Park Forest Environment Committee. Vanderbilt was elected to his first term as Village trustee in April of 2017. Vanderbilt was elected to a four-year term as mayor in April of 2019.
Trustee Tiffani Graham is a lifelong resident of Park Forest. Tiffani has served on the Park Forest Youth Commission, the Rotary Club, and was a member of the Park Forest Sustainability Committee. Graham was elected to her first term as Park Forest Trustee in April 2015. Graham was re-elected in April of 2019.
Trustee Maya Hardy was selected by board members in June of 2019 to fill a vacated trustee seat. Maya is a 20-year Park Forest resident, holds a master’s degree in communications and training from Governors State University, and is the Regional Director of Development of the South-Southwest Suburban Region for United Way of Metro Chicago for almost 10 years. She has over 15 years of experience in public service. Maya was elected to a four-year term in April of 2021.
Trustee Candyce Herron is a 20-plus-year resident of Park Forest. Candyce was elected to a first term as village trustee in April of 2019. Herron, a high school physics and chemistry teacher, says schools and economic development are “at the top” of the list of changes she’d like to see in Park Forest.
Trustee Theresa Settles and her husband, James, have lived in Park Forest for close to 35 years, raising two daughters, who both attended Indiana School and Rich East High School. Settles is a registered nurse, and has been employed by Ingalls Memorial Hospital for the last 36 years. Settles was re-elected to a third term as Park Forest Trustee in April 2021.
Trustee Erin Slone grew up in Park Forest and after some time spent in other communities, Slone ultimately moved back to Park Forest. Erin holds a Bachelor's degree in Economics from The University of Chicago and a Master's degree in Integrated Marketing Communications from Northwestern University. She was elected to her first term as village trustee in April of 2021.
Trustee Joseph Woods was elected to his first term as Park Forest trustee in April of 2019. Woods previously served as Park Forest Public Library trustee. He hopes to “enact legislation and establish policy that achieves a sustainable budget, protects our environment, promotes ethical government, and ensures that Park Forest remains a vibrant, livable community.”
Roles of the Mayor and Board of Trustees
The Village of Park Forest operates under the Council-Manager form of government. More information on this form of government can be found here. In this form, the Mayor and six Trustees serve as the legislative and governing body. They are elected on an at-large basis by the residents of Park Forest and serve 4-year terms. General responsibilities of the Mayor and/or Board of Trustees include the following:
- The Mayor, with the advice and consent of the Board of Trustees, appoints all officers of the Village whose appointments are not otherwise provided for by statute. These appointments include the Village Clerk, Village Manager, Village Attorney and all members of Park Forest’s volunteer boards and commissions.
- The Board reviews and approves all motions, resolutions and ordinances pertaining to Village business. All such business is conducted in meetings that are open to the public and that take place in accordance with Board’s annual meeting schedule. Motions and resolutions are typically discussed at a Village Board Rules Meeting and approved at an ensuing Regular Meeting pending any additional research that may be requested by the Mayor and Board of Trustees. Ordinances typically include First Reading at a Regular Board Meeting before discussion at a Rules Meeting. Finally, ordinances are then approved at a subsequent Regular Meeting where they are posted for Final Reading before the Board’s vote of approval.
- All Village Board Meetings take place in adherence with State Statute, the Village of Park Forest Code of Ordinances, and an established set of Rules of Order and Procedure. The Mayor serves as the Chair of Board Meetings and does so in accordance with the Rules of Order and Procedure. In absence of the Mayor, the Senior Trustee in attendance will serve as Chair.
- The Elected Board is ultimately responsible for oversight of all Village financial matters. This includes review and approval of the annual property tax levy in addition to review and approval of the annual budget appropriations ordinance. Related to financial matters, the Board reviews payments made to vendors, consultants and contractors doing business with the Village. Regular financial updates are provided for Board review. An annual audit of Village financial transactions is conducted by an auditing firm selected by the Village Board. To continue the Village’s reputation as a leader in local government transparency, all Park Forest finance documents are posted on the Village website and are accessible here.
Additional details on the duties associated with the Mayor and Board of Trustees can be found in the Village Code of Ordinances.