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  • Writer's pictureTricia Babischkin

Canceled: Board Meeting, January 26

Late Friday, the Village announced that the scheduled board meeting for January 26th is canceled due to a lack of agenda. While I think there are many open agenda items, I am guessing there's a bit more to this cancellation than a simple lack of agenda.

Since the outrage directed to Trustee/Mr. Berman was vocal at the last board meeting and he mentioned that he was getting angry emails at our objection hearing, I am not surprised that Mr. Berman would not have wanted to face public scrutiny again. However, in the course of the hearings, we also learned that Phil removed nomination petitions from the election official and from Village Hall -- this is a disturbing interference in the election process. Even if neither Trustee Dan or Trustee Pam asked Phil to do this for them, when they learned of what he did; why exactly did they not report the situation? So, like Mr. Berman, I would guess that Phil, Pam, and Dan don't want to face the coming public comments regarding their blatant disregard for the sanctity of our election process.

But more disturbing to me than their obvious fear of the public asking them questions, I'm concerned over the hiding from doing actual business. Here's the list of promises of open items that have not been addressed:

  1. Phil promised we'd have the results of the investigation of Sgt. Cole by the end of this month. While I have no doubt of the outcome of that "investigation," they have had this ongoing since December 4th, when Ofc. Pluviose left and that's longer than Former Chief Richardson was on Administrative Leave --- which again, Sgt. Cole was not put on.

  2. Months ago, we've been promised a budget review. The residents have found almost 20 errors in the budget that was passed almost a year ago that there have been NO acknowledgment of and no corrections to. However, with the addition of the audit and management letter -- there are now bigger questions -- including a declining impact fund balance that isn't well explained.

  3. Speaking of money, there should be budget workshops planned in March. I asked our CAO last week to meet with me on my (admittedly, long) list of questions about our current financial state to get those understood before the budget workshops. I've not heard a response.

  4. When the situation over lights on the driving range sprung up, we were told that in addition to the lights coming down, the container/bar thing was being removed and the portable gas tank. We were also told that there were ongoing discussions about the structure itself. Has there been no update? And are the container and portable tank gone?

  5. Construction at 47 and 176. In September, Phil shared that he personally spoke to the Lazar Bros and they were going to be clearing the land to prep for building to begin in the spring with a hopeful July open date. He announced that the leveling and clearing would be done in the upcoming week. All that has occurred in the past 4 months is the erection of a sign. I have seen not one piece of construction equipment out there to do anything to prep the land for building. The last time I watched a gas station be built, from clearing to open date was a lot closer to 9 months - a year than the 3-4 months Phil is promising. The permits to bury the tanks alone take a significant amount of time.

These issues do not go away just because the board cancels a meeting. I'm beginning to feel like this board -- Phil and Pam, specifically who are asking you to let them continue to manage our village like this -- have not mastered "Object Permanence" -- this is the child development stage when a child learns that objects continue to exist even when they can't see them. Remember playing peek-a-boo with an infant? How they are always surprised you are still there after they cover their eyes. Think of the cat who hides her head under the bed, believing they are hidden, though their tail is sticking out. Or think of the ostrich, sensing danger, shoves their head in the sand instead of facing it head on.

The board is asking you to cast a blind eye to their lack of oversight. They are asking you to ignore any questions or doubts about how they manage (or mis-manage) the money, the staff, and the infrastructure of our village. And as this election nears and the real doubt they will survive a vote (a performance review of sorts), they are getting more and more blatant about avoiding the public and making underhanded and dangerous decisions regarding the long term health of this village.

To be crystal clear, it is the elected officials duty when leaving office to leave the municipality better than they found it. When first elected as a Trustee, Phil inherited a village that had a AAA bond rating, a healthy reserves, and internal controls that the public could easily see what was happening with the money. In the years he has served, both Phil, his friends that he's placed in office and the administration he supports have gutted our reserves; been caught in countless falsehoods regarding the state of things; and has supported the single most unprofessional dealings with the public. He's allowed trustees to make personal attacks on residents, he's allowed his need to stroke his ego and be the great fixer to overrule common sense and following established law and process. He couldn't even follow the proper procedure to file his own petition for nomination to ask you, the residents, to let him continue this for four more years.

The good news is that we are 71 days away from this election and in that time there are now only 4 more scheduled board meetings.

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