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Archive for the ‘2015 Elections’ Category

Can you Hear Me

Nope!

It’s been some time since we posted recordings from Board if Trustee meetings.  But considering it’s been some time since residents could phone in to meetings and actually hear anything remotely audible, we thought we’d go “old school” again.

Since it’s been nearly impossible to dial in to meetings to participate for months, the only conclusion we can arrive at is the Cecola admiration would rather we didn’t. As a result, no effort has been made to remedy the documented technology issues.  None.

The recording of the July 25th Board of Trustees meeting can be accessed here.

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Red

Barrington Hills First Lady and Village of Lakemoor Building Permit Coordinator, Stephanie Cecola, was seen running at the start of the 2nd annual, “The Land We Love Run,” earlier this month.

The Summer 2022 edition of the Village Newsletter was recently released. Topics covered include:

  • President’s letter
  • 2nd Annual “The Land We Love Run” recap*
  • Horizon Farm public meeting
  • Tornado preparation tips
  • Donlea Road drainage update
  • Crime prevention, and
  • Pointers on whether permits are required for landscaping or earth moving

A copy can be viewed and downloaded here.

* Event participant results (no First Lady listed??), by category, can be found here.

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BACT Officers

Barrington Area Conservation Trust officers

Our Village Board of Trustees will be conducting their regular monthly meeting beginning this evening at 6:30 PM. Some of the topics on their agenda include:

  • [Vote] Appointment: Matthew Vondra, Plan Commission Chairman Term as Chair expires 04/2023
  • [Vote] A Resolution of Proclamation Appreciating Doctor Pamela Cools for Years of Dedicated Service Resolution 22 –
  • The Land We Love Run Summary

A brief statement of Matthew Vondra’s qualifications for consideration can be viewed here. Without too much detail, we’ll expound on his experience a bit.

Matt is currently Vice President of the Barrington Area Conservation Trust (BACT).  Their President is Brian Croll, who is also a Trustee of the Village of Barrington Hills. The BACT Treasurer is Loren Ekstrom, the husband of Village of Barrington Hills Trustee Laura Ekstrom.

The BACT is responsible for, “…creating the largest permanent land preservation easement in the state of Illinois,” known as Horizon Farm, which is now owned and managed under that easement by the Forest Preserves of Cook County.

A copy of the agenda can be viewed and downloaded here.

Note: For the third month in a row, it’s unknown if the telephony issues that have plagued recent meetings have been remedied yet, so callers might encounter issues again.

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BGA_Logo_WithTag_typeUnder_Final-10

City Council passage of improvements to Chicago’s government ethics ordinance is a welcome step toward reform–with more work yet ahead, the Better Government Association said Wednesday. The research and policy arm of the 99-year old civic watchdog organization assisted Ald. Michele Smith and the city’s Board of Ethics in drafting the reform measure.

Among other changes, the new ordinance:

  • Broadens campaign finance restrictions on city contractors to include contractors for sister agencies such as the Chicago Park District and Chicago Public Schools
  • Strengthens conflict of interest provisions to prohibit city employees from exercising official powers on behalf of a relative, spouse, or domestic partner
  • Prohibits lobbying on the floor of City Council, including by prior members of Council
  • Requires specific and complete disclosure of the conflict of interest in cases where members of City Council recuse themselves from a vote due to conflict of interest
  • Expands conflict of interest provisions to cover all city officers.
  • Requires independent contractors who work for City Council or its committees to complete required ethics training and file annual financial interest statements, including a record of which committees or other bodies they contract with.
  • Strengthens fines for ethics violations, including granting the Board of Ethics the ability to levy fines equal to the value of any monetary gain from wrongdoing.

“Passage of this ordinance is important for the city, and it’s important for voters and other residents who have a right to expect honest, transparent government,” said David Greising, president of the Better Government Association.

Read the full statement here.

Note: A keyword search for “ethics” on our Village Code web page resulted in “No Matching Records” as seen below:

Capture

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BC 2

Brian Cecola

Three weeks ago, we ended an editorial (“Meanwhile, One Barrington Hills makes amends, extinguishes website and turns the volume down”) with the following:

“And just last month, residents reported they couldn’t hear April’s Board of Trustees meeting due to low or no volume when they phoned in, so what are they to make of this?

If the OBH party is sending a less than subtle message to residents, consider it received, Brian, David, Laura, and Tom.  But you’re in for a LONG three (3) more years in office.”

Monday, residents who dialed the number to connect to the May Board of Trustees meeting heard the usual:

”Welcome to My One Number.  If you are the host, press star now.  Otherwise please wait and you will be joined into the conference.”

After some time passed, the message changed to indicate the conference had begun, but beyond that there was nothing but silence. The frustrated residents who took time to listen in were left to question what went wrong (again) or was it their error.  The made no error.

We know President Cecola reads The Observer, so he was aware of the telephony issues weeks ago.  But apparently, he is just too busy to address a documented issue that negatively reflects on both him and his administration. Or, he simply doesn’t care.

The question now is what other issues is he too busy to address or not care about? The way things are recently, we’ll be the last to know.

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madigan-bribery-768x576

Ethics reform advocates say they’re disappointed but not surprised little was done during the Illinois legislature’s spring session to curry the public’s trust, even as former House Speaker Michael Madigan’s indictment in March put public corruption back in the spotlight.

But they still hold out hope for the future.

“You would think after what we saw with former Speaker Mike Madigan, there would be a fire under legislators … especially with an election coming up,” Bryan Zarou, director of policy for the Better Government Association, said regarding the inaction on ethics reform.

The BGA plans a new push for ethics reform this summer, with a set of proposals to be considered for the 2023 legislative session.

The subject will soon be brought to the forefront of public attention again, with former state Sen. Thomas Cullerton’s sentencing scheduled for June 21 and Madigan’s next status hearing set for Aug. 2.

Cullerton, a Democrat from Villa Park, pleaded guilty March 8 to a federal embezzlement charge for receiving nearly $250,000 in pay and benefits from the Teamsters union without working for it.

Madigan, once the most powerful politician in Illinois, was indicted on charges of racketeering and bribery and accused of running a “criminal enterprise.” He has pleaded not guilty.

Read more here.

Related:Kane County officials at odds over hiring of IT director’s wife

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Scranton,,Pa,,Usa,-,August,15,,2016:,Vice,President,Joe

By Greg Ganske

May 15, 2022

Before I retired from reconstructive surgery, I cared for toddlers who bit into electrical cords and burned their lips. Maybe that is why I feel like I am bound in a chair, gagged, arms and legs tied, watching a two-year-old chewing through a plugged-in electrical cord when I watch the nightly news.

I see one Biden disaster after another on TV and feel as if I am helplessly waiting for the next to occur. Just when it seems it can’t get worse, something even more worrisome, and in some cases more absurd, happens on the national and international stage.

It starts with the failing mental acuity of President Biden. A year ago, I wrote a column for the Des Moines Register (Opinion: Joe Biden isn’t the person I knew in Congress. He should get cognitive testing, with the result made public.), on Biden’s failing cognition. Sadly, his gibberish has gotten worse.

Recently President Biden spoke about his administration’s request to Congress for additional Ukrainian aid. The president’s inability to even read his teleprompter causes the White House to alter the official transcripts of his word mishmashes.

Biden said the plan would “enhance our underlying effort to accommodate the Russian oligarchs. . .”   Accommodate! Then a weird laugh, “We’re gonna accommodate them.” Then he couldn’t pronounce kleptocrats, “Klep–the guys who are in the kleptocracies. Ha, ha, ha,” accenting the laughs.

The White House official version substituted “hold accountable” for “accommodate.”   Correcting these gaffes is a full-time job at the White House. Last month in talking about lower gas prices, Biden said solar, or heat pumps could “save you $500 per month.” This, too, had to be cleaned up in the official transcripts as it is false.

We watch President Biden with trepidation wondering when he’s next going to bite into the electrical cord.

Read more here.

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OBH

Readers may recall we twice bumped the One Barrington Hills (OBH) committee (Brian Cecola, David Riff, Laura Ekstrom and Tom Strauss) pretty hard when they were delinquent in two consecutive filings required be the Illinois State Board of Elections (ISBE):

We decided to check in on the committee’s 2022 first quarter reporting (or lack thereof in recent history), and we discovered some very hurried fillings by OBH occurred after our second delinquency post.  The last of those ISBE postings was a long overdue final report submitted and filed by OBH on January 26th, thereby closing their account.

From the time OBH filed their Statement of Organization on February 9th, 2021, to when they submitted their Final Report on January 26th, 2022, they had posted:

  • Two A-1 reports of contributions of $1,000 or more
  • Two D-2 Quarterly reports submitted on time
  • Two D-2 Quarterly reports submitted after the deadline
  • Eight (8) D-2 Quarterly reports submitted with corrections

To view and print a copy of these reports, click here.

Having closed that error fraught chapter in their 2021 campaign, the One Barrington Hills committee expunged all records on their campaign website.  When visiting the former OBH website (click here to attempt), a message appears, either “Warning: Potential Security Risk Ahead” or “This connection is untrusted”.  To view the report, the user must tap, “Accept the Risk and Continue” or “Proceed to (unsafe) site.” Is stonewalling now their new norm?

And just last month, residents reported they couldn’t hear April’s Board of Trustees meeting due to low or no volume when they phoned in, so what are they to make of this?

If the OBH party is sending a less than subtle message to residents, consider it received, Brian, David, Laura, and Tom.  But you’re in for a LONG three (3) more years in office.

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2.22 BOT

The Village Board of Trustees will be holding their monthly meeting this evening at 6:30 PM. The meeting will include a public hearing on the 2022 Annual Appropriations Ordinance. A copy of the 2021 Appropriations Ordinance can be viewed here for comparison.

A copy of the agenda can be viewed here. Those wishing to listing in on the meeting can phone 508-924-1464.

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MM BC

Brian Cecola and Martin McLaughlin – May 3rd, 2021

Prior to leaving office as Village President on May 3rd, 2021, Martin McLaughlin penned a heartfelt letter to incumbent and newly elected Village Board of Trustee members which read as follows:

Dear President-Elect Cecola and Newly-Elected Trustees:

I congratulate  you on your  election and wish you all the  best of luck in your new endeavor. I know that you will perform your duties to the highest standards  of  public service.  I  wanted  to  advise you that with a change In leadership comes the necessity to acknowledge that there Is a significant issue related to the employment of the Village President-Elect’s wife, Stephanie Cecola.   Stephanie Cecola has been employed on a part-time, hourly basis in  the  Building Department, having reported directly to  the Village  Administrator, who reports to the Village President. This position was not an issue when Brian was a Trustee but now with Brian signing his wife’s paychecks, and with Stephanie directly reporting to her husband through our Village Administrator, this is an issue which needs to  be addressed promptly and publicly.  Whether  or not· this  line of oversight is determined  to  be technically  illegal, I believe it causes a significant  perception of nepotism and self-dealing that can have an impact on how our Village is seen by Its residents, and, just as importantly, can cause Internal issues between departments. I have the greatest respect for Brian and Stephanie and call them personal friends, however, I believe that not addressing this Issue head-on would be problematic.

The perception of any possible impropriety is extremely significant, and in in my opinion, may become a problem for this administration. Further, our community does not need this employment matter  as  a distraction to the important issues the Board will be facing over the next few years regarding legal decisions with commercial horse boarding and group home issues, in addition to other major community questions.

I have personally made my concerns known to our new President, Brian Cecola. In addition, I have made my concerns known to your Village Administrator, Anna Paul.  It  is up  to  them, and you, as a body to address this in a direct and timely fashion. In my opinion, not addressing this important issue will not only create distrust, concern and questions, whether they are valid or not, and will potentially taint the great works that many of us have accomplished as a group over the past eight years. Along with this letter to you, I have attached a job posting that I believe should be made, but I will leave this decision to you, President-Elect Cecola and Board members.

I know that you as a group will do great things and continue the stewardship of this Village. I am proud to caH each of you friends, and more importantly, Trustees and President.

With sincere appreciation, humility and best regards,

###

Martin J. McLaughlin
Village President of Barrington Hills”

His letter was never read publicly. The contents have never been discussed in open board meetings according to available audio recordings.

Yet despite what many believed was a conflict of interest(s) present at Village Hall at that time, no changes whatsoever were made to remedy the situation McLaughlin cautioned Trustees of until nearly six months later.  None.

We obtained our first copy of McLaughlin’s letter in the Spring of last year. However, we chose not to publish it believing (naively as it turns out) our Village President and Board would take appropriate action. We were wrong.

Though the situation was eventually corrected, it’s the actions, inaction and decisions of most of our board members since May that have lead to publishing the letter today. A copy can be viewed here.

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