After six years of continued success on local environmental projects, Flossmoor’s Green Committee has been promoted.
Village board members Monday unanimously awarded commission status to the nine-member Green Committee. Since its formation in July 2011, the panel has been a subcommittee of the Flossmoor Community Relations Commission. Now it will operate independently.
“I’m very pleased to see it expand to a full commission,” said Mayor Paul Braun, who thanked volunteers on the committee for their leadership on so many worthwhile green initiatives.
The board must still approve an ordinance that describes the functions of the Green Commission and how it operates.
Projects established by the Green Committee include Idling Gets You Nowhere, Start a Bag Habit and Recyclepalooza, which has drawn hundreds of people dropping off thousands of pounds of used products in the two years of the program.
Assistant Village Manager Allison Deitch told trustees that the Green Committee “has proven it can meet the board’s direction of activities and practices that promote environmental awareness and behavior in an effort to promote an environmentally conscientious community at the household level.”
Committee Chair Maggie Bachus told the H-F Chronicle that the group’s members have devoted an enormous amount of time and energy into local campaigns that have resonated with residents all over the Homewood-Flossmoor community, schools and local businesses.
“Unlike many communities, our passion about making positive changes to help the earth has only gotten stronger,” she said.
Bachus said the change from a committee to a commission “is extremely important for our group of volunteers.”
“It demonstrates that the Village of Flossmoor recognizes the importance of what we are trying to do – which is to educate our community about ways we can help the earth and be more conscience about the way we live, and the effects on the environment,” she said.
One of the new commission’s first programs, she said, will focus on replacing Flossmoor’s tree canopy. The commission will partner with other village departments to spread the word on Flossmoor’s Tree Share program and other initiatives, Bachus said. The campaign was introduced at Flossmoor Fest on Sept. 9.
Deitch said there were three reasons for recommending the promotion to commission status.
The Green Committee has shown it can function independently, she said, planning and carrying out events and initiatives that help residents incorporate environmentally friendly practices into their households.
Also, the current structure requires Bachus to attend monthly meetings for both the Green Committee and Community Relations Commission. Changing the committee’s status reduces Bachus’s volunteer obligation to one meeting a month. Bachus now has “double the workload and time commitment of other commissioners,” Dietch said.
Dietch said the committee already has the same commitment from village staff as any other commission.
“Realistically, the committee gets the same support as the Public Art Commission and Community Relations Commission,” she said. A village staff liaison is already assigned to the committee to attend meetings, fulfill reporting requirements and publicize programs and events.
Besides Bachus, Green Committee members include Brian Goesel, Jennifer O’Keefe, Ernie Ratowicz, Linda Tyson, Carrie Malfeo, Brian Zakem, Tyler Thompson and Tristan Shaw. H-F High School students Chloe Walls and Morgan Moore are committee interns.