An alderman's change of address has some residents in a tizzy, prompting Oak Forest City Council members to take a closer look.
Ald. Dan Ensing (5th Ward) was forced to relocate to a different home outside of the ward and Oak Forest, after the termination of his apartment lease. The move caused several unnamed residents to question whether Ensing currently meets the city's residency requirement to serve as an alderman.
“I've been hearing rumblings about this information for over a year,” said Ald. Chuck Toland (4th Ward).
Toland added that he had previously spoken to Mayor Hank Kuspa twice about the issue and that both times the mayor told him that Ensing did still meet the city's requirements.
During the city council's Tuesday, Nov. 13 meeting the council addressed the issue and determined, with the help of the city's legal council, that though Ensing does currently live outside of the city, he still meets the residency requirement.
“My understanding is, that after reading the packet that this is perfectly legal, for an alderman to move out of town, out of his ward or even out of the town,” said Ald. Rich Simon.
The council agreed that the lease termination was unexpected—according to documents, the lease was terminated due to the sale of his building to a new owner, who chose not to extend the lease—and that since it is Ensing's intent to find new housing in the ward, that he still met the requirement.
“As long as his intent is to come back,” Simon said. “What I'm saying is, that should put any grumblings to rest.”
Ensing said the matter is moot because he and his wife are currently looking for a new home in the ward, and already have a timetable for their return.
“My wife and I are looking at selling her townhome after the first of the year,” Ensing said. “After the holidays, we're looking for a house to rent temporarily in my ward, or buy a permanent house. … We're hoping to do it by the beginning of the summer.
"We've set a one-year timeline.”
Want the latest in Oak Forest government news? There's more where this came from.
- llinois Tollway Streamlines Process to Contest Violations
- Why They Voted: Southland Residents Speak Up
- City Council Sets Stricter Rules for Video Gambling