Election in University Park for Mayor Slated For April 2

3/13/2019, noon | Updated on 3/13/2019, noon
Vivian Covington has been the Mayor of the Village of University Park since 2011 and is once again running for ...
Photo Caption 1: The Mayor of the Village of University Park, Vivian Covington, (pictured) is running for reelection. Photo Credit: Provided by Vivian Covington Photo Caption 2: Former Village of University Park Trustee, Joseph Roudez III, is running for Mayor. Photo Credit: Provided by Joseph Roudez III

Election in University Park for Mayor Slated For April 2

By: Katherine Newman

Vivian Covington has been the Mayor of the Village of University Park since 2011 and is once again running for reelection to keep her job which she loves.

Election Day for University Park is on April 2 and Covington is being challenged by two candidates, Dr. Nakia Hall and Joseph Roudez III.

“When I first moved to University Park I was a renter and I loved the area so I started going to the board meetings to learn what was going on, who was doing what, and what I could do to help,” said Covington. “I thought that it was the greatest thing in the world to be able to serve the people, to be involved in where I live, and do something good for where I live. That was the reason why I ran the first time,” said Covington.

One of Mayor Covington’s challengers, Dr. Nakia Hall, has been a member of the Crete-Monee School District 201-U board since 2009 and has a bachelors degree in teaching, a masters degree in counseling and doctorate in ethical leadership.

Covington’s second challenger, Joseph Roudez III, is a U.S. Army veteran and served on the Village of University Park’s Board of Trustees for 12 years.

“I know I have the experience and the knowledge, after serving on the city’s council for 12 years, that makes me truly qualified,” said Roudez. “It would be very selfish of me to sit back and not offer myself to be Mayor of this community when I know that there are a lot of issues that I could address immediately.”

Like many other south suburban communities, University Park has experienced financial challenges. Upon taking office as Mayor, Covington said that the village’s finances were “a hot mess.”

In 2017, according to Mayor Covington, a federal investigation was launched to determine whether or not the Village of University Park has misused money from their TIF fund. Following that, members of the board of trustees called for Covington to resign from her position as Mayor.

Mayor Covington alleged one of her greatest challenges thus far has been having a board of trustees that did not fully support her.

Responding to Covington’s allegations about a lack of support coming from the board of trustees, Roudez, who served as a trustee under Mayor Covington's leadership said, “There is nothing that the board of trustees denied Mayor Covington that was beneficial for the growth and future well being of our community.”

Roudez, who served as a trustee from 2005 to 2017, added, “We were always in support of an agenda that had progressive priorities for the people,” he said.

Discussing the city’s finances further, Covington added, “I don’t handle the money day-to-day,” she said. “The board put together a process that makes sure any money coming out the TIF at any time must go through our attorney and everything is going to be thorough and transparent.”

Mayor Covington said that she anticipates for the financial investigation in University Park to be completed this year following the submission of their 2019 audit.