The biggest factor to influence voters in the last election in November and in this election April 5 is the role of the Orland Fire Protection District (OFPD). It is the most over-taxed agency in Illinois, collecting more than $30 million to provide fire protection services that other communities can provide for as little as $7 million.
The Fire Protection District has been under siege by taxpayers, angry at the excessive taxes, and the abuses in the misuse of fire department equipment. So which candidates do you think the firefighters are supporting?
Well, they are donating to the campaigns to re-elect Orland Park trustees Ed Schussler and Pat Gira, and newcomer Carol Ruzich. The Orland Professional Fire Fighters PAC is backing them, donating just last week $1,200.
Schussler, Gira and Ruzich are running under the Orland Park United Party (OPUP) banner. The committee doesn't show much but recent A-1 forms, which are required when donations of $500 are made in the 30 days before an election, show that loads of money has been coming their way, including from the firefighters.
Ruzich has a committee, but it had no funds as of the last filing. Ruzich is a team player though and donated $3,200 to the OPUP. Gira's campaign fund has about $2,173 as of the last required filing, and much of that was transfered as a donation to the Orland Park United Party.
Schussler gave himself about $6,200, and he transferred or donated about $3,500, listed as being from his own pocket, to the OPUP.
In contrast, Trustee candidate John Fotopolous has given himself a few thousand dollars through his law firm.
Blair Rhode, who is running with Christopher Evoy and are considered the lead candidates for the Orland Fire Protection District's two contested board seats, donated money from his own pocket to the Fiscal Voices campaign fund. Rhode donated $5,000.