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  • Writer's pictureTricia Babischkin

Spoke: Second Time I Spoke at a Meeting

This is a transcript of the words I spoke to the board on 6/23. This was the meeting I presented the petition to the board.

A little over two weeks ago, I sent an email to this board expressing my concerns over failures to follow Village Code, the lack of a response to the video’d altercation between the Village President and the Police Chief, and concern for the liability the village was open to due to the nature of the complaints that were becoming public. Almost every board member responded and a few even promised that all my concerns would be addressed at the last board meeting. So, I gave you a chance, and while my admonition was mentioned, the actual response to my concerns was deafening silence.

Maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised this seems to be routine for this board.

As a board, you swore an oath to uphold the Village Code; but how many of you had read it in the last two months? You are expected to use our tax dollars wisely and not waste them, but yet, in the past year:

1. You have figured out how to take a profitable golf course from making $80-$100K year to losing $140K last year.

2. You’ve doubled your salary and you hid it inside a consent agenda; then you cut our Village Clerk’s hours and the pay she receives for coming to the meetings. Do you realize that you voted to pay yourselves DOUBLE what the Clerk gets per meeting and she appears to do three times the work you do at these meetings?

3. You approved using HR Green for building inspections with a noted increase in costs, but failed to raise permit fees to cover the cost increase even though this was promised in the request. As a result, my property taxes are paying to inspect every pool, patio, and deck in this village, instead of being fully covered by the permit fees as per our Code.

4. Speaking of permits, looking through the permits pulled in the past year, I do not see one for the new driving range structure at Turnberry. While I’m all for golf course improvements, there’s a process that all building in the village must follow. Where’s the confidence that all processes are followed equally and fairly across all properties in the Village?

5. You have increased our average legal bill for the month of May by $22K which appears to be exclusively calls and conferences between the CAO, the President and a few smaller Trustee calls. One can only conclude that this increase is due to the reported “investigation” but I’m lost as to what could have been investigated, since The President, at least two Trustees, the CAO, and the Village Attorney have all said on the record that there are no formal complaints.

Do not misunderstand me, this isn’t limited to two people, I hold each of you accountable for either actions that you’ve taken or complacent inaction that has passively condoned bad behavior. At the end of the day, there’s not one of you who is blameless in where we are and why we have so many outraged residents. Frankly, I shouldn’t get notes from current village staff that read in part, “no one has fought for us…” “I thought no one would listen” “I love your support” — do not misunderstand, they found me, I didn’t reach out to them.

You’ve had more chances to do the right thing than most people in this world, often those opportunities have been gift-wrapped and handed to you, but when given the option, you have repeatedly not stepped up. I’ve waited two months to see you figure this out; the staff at Village Hall has waited years. So, without faith that you will do the right thing, I worked with the residents to help guide you. Tonight you will be receiving a petition signed by nearly 200 residents (and let me remind each of you that is more than half the people who voted for you) asking you to step up and take reasonable and fair action.

We believe that the best course of action is put CAO Smith on Admin Leave. Frankly, I think everyone involved needs a real cooling off period and this seems like the best path to get to that spot. During her leave, the Village will find someone who is truly independent to investigate the complaints that were reported to Trustee Young and reduced to written form as per the Anti-Harassment policy in the handbook — that I know CAO Smith signed. I would add that this needs to be done swiftly because if CAO Smith is not at fault, I’d prefer her back working for the Village and then we can look at a mediator to repair the damage done to employee relations.

I’m asking you, my Trustees, to listen to your Villagers. We are paying attention to what you are doing, and not doing, what you are saying and what you are not saying. And in case you have any doubt — check the org chart, You work for us; this is part of your performance review.

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