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  • Writer's pictureTricia Babischkin

In Defense of Experience

Normally after a board meeting, I spend that evening looking at my notes and processing what happened. I make it my normal practice to not write anything that is not fully thought out and with as much detail as I can uncover. And while tonight is no exception -- I feel it is important to begin that I'm upset.

Not that long ago, I should in the bar at Turnberry Country Club talking to Trustee Augustine and explained that I will believe everything someone tells me up until the point they lie to me and then I will never believe them again. I hold a simple standard that says that once trust is broken it is incredibly difficult to rebuild.

So, to this end, I need to share that our CAO, on the record and recorded for posterity, told 91+ residents this evening something that was completely untrue. Her description of Sgt. Cole's years of police service was like me describing my years of playing piano because I took lessons when I was 7 and still can pluck out Heart & Soul today. You don't count from the first day on the first job; you count in hours, years, decades of consistent service in the police community.

Under FOIA, from an agency that does not shame members of the public for asking for information, I have the qualifications of our current officers and a few prior officers. And I’m sharing with you the actual truth. I’ve purposefully hidden their names so you can tell me which of these officers would you like to be in leadership positions in the village.

Of the nine officers listed, four of them are no longer in our department. Which ones of these would you like to be the five still with us? Which ones of these would you want to be supervisors. I also can note that some of those five have confirmed that they were not approached by CAO Smith as she claimed in her explanation of the process.

Additionally, I have no idea if Ofc. Pluviose had put his application in at another department -- would you blame him? But if he was willing to take a leadership position why did you not even bother to interview him for the position. I never asked about a sergeant's exam (good call by the residents who did -- and better call by the resident who spoke up and said, "Just because it hasn't be done before, doesn't mean you can't start now.") Do you think any of those officers might make good chief or acting chief material?

We are losing incredibly talented officers. We are losing talented staff. By the latest count, in tenure of our CAO, we have lost 21 employees. The full time, permanent staff of the village is right about 21 people. How is it so clear to everyone except 5 board members and 1 village president that leadership in this village needs to change?

So, Mr. Berman, when you see a sign that says we support our Village Staff -- the question is why don't you have that sign? Why don't you fight for the incredibly talented staff that you claim to support? Those signs are there because we want the staff to know we hear them -- why can't you?

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