Day: May 11, 2009

A slice of what’s coming down the pipe for Sunday

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Ink and paper for more than a century have dominated Tinley Park recordkeeping.

That means thousands of paper files, from handwritten meeting minutes to incentive deals with business owners, are packed in file cabinets or stored in binders and boxes in a village hall vault.

Scanning and digitizing those documents is one of the main goals of Trustee Patrick Rea, who officially becomes village clerk Tuesday.

He estimates the effort, which also includes moving some documents to storage, will take about 400 hours. Rea said that’s a small price to pay to make sure Tinley Park’s history is secure in case a tornado rips through village hall or another natural disaster destroys all that paper.

Staff members likely will share and shift responsibilities to get the job done, Rea said.

“The only reason I’m pushing this is that my experience indicates to me that this is an area that could be a real problem if we don’t solve it reasonable soon,” he said.

Rea was working for the federal government when Hurricane Katrina hit. Washington had trouble verifying who owned what property, which delayed financial help, because so many paper records were destroyed in the storms, Rea said.

A trustee for 38 years, Rea has worn several hats besides his village work. He’s a retired U.S. Army Reserves brigadier general, former regional administrator for the Small Business Association and former Illinois Development Finance Authority executive director.

Rea is grand commander for the International Knights Templar and is friends with European counts, who often attend parties in Washington Rea hosts during presidential inaugurations.

Want to know more? Snag a paper Sunday or come back to our Web site.

By Kristen Schorsch, Sun Times News Group