InPerson Meeting: I speak to Ryan Berman
Updated: Jul 4, 2020
In response to my email to the board, Ryan Berman offers to meet me in person to discuss the situation. As before, the event happened, but the summary below are my notes from the event.
I spent an hour in the sun outside the Starbucks in Huntley with Mr. Berman.
He told me that this began because the police chief yelled at CAO Smith; but with no context as to why the calm man I saw on the video would have done that.
He explained that of all the accusations, the "most egregious" was retracted within an hour. I have no details about that; but he was very proud of this change in course and seemed to believe it was proof that the village staff was banning together to bring down CAO Smith and Mr. Stephan.
He told me that he "knew" that there was a plot on a Facebook Group to bring the business of the village to a halt with FOIA requests. I said, I knew of no such plot and yes, I had FOIA requests out because I wanted to understand. I went on the explain that some of what I had to FOIA was a direct result of the lack of communication from the village: Our Official Facebook page is rarely updated, the email sign-up doesn't work, the website for the village is outdated and lacks key information. (Note: one of the issues that keeps coming up is the flooding in the Gates, during the board meeting prior, Mr. Stephans had mentioned a need for a town hall to be able to educate the Gates' residents on the situation. I explained to Mr. Berman, that if information needs to be shared, don't wait for a Town Hall, but use a communication plan to get this information out there.)
With regard to my desire for better communication from the village, Mr. Berman told me "you seem intelligent" and would I be interested in joining a workshop on communications. As of the typing of this, I've never heard from him on this.
I inquired about the difference between trustees saying there are complaints and that there are not? And if there are none, what exactly is he investigating? He informed that he personally wrote all the questions, insisting that they would be tough questions that would be hard to lie to answer.
Finally, I told him that in the most recent board meeting, he tried to tell everyone that there is a process and to trust that process. I told him that he failed because what he should have shared was 4 sentences:
There is a process.
We are here in this process.
The next step in the process is this.
We expect to conclude this process by this date.
Note: In the board meeting following this meeting, Mr. Berman quoted me in his comments in an attempt to do just this outline. The board meeting after that he attempts to discredit me for FOIA requests.