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Archive for the ‘One Barrington Hills’ Category

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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Wasted Contributions

Brian Cecola, David Riff, Laura Ekstrom and Tom Strauss

For the second quarter in a row, the One Barrington Hills (OBH) Committee comprised of Brian Cecola, David Riff, Laura Ekstrom and Tom Strauss, failed to meet the Illinois State Board of Elections (ISBE) deadline for filing quarterly financial reports due this week. The committee’s 4th quarterly report was due on Tuesday, January 18th, but instead was filed just yesterday afternoon.

Their 3rd quarter report was filed a week late on October 22nd, 2021, and that was likely due only to The Observer bumping them with our friendly reminder post that day.

In their latest filing, OBH reported it had $4,432.86 in donor cash available.  A copy of that report can be viewed here, however this is before the ISBE assesses any civil penalties as they no doubt will now.

We spoke with a representative of the ISBE earlier this week, and they indicated sometimes first committee violations are stayed.  However, if a second violation occurs, they will assess the fees for both violations. Noteworthy is the ISBE has increasing penalties for multiple committee violations, which will now be in play. A copy of, “Section 125.425 Civil Penalty Assessments,” may be viewed and downloaded here.

Current Village President, Brian D. Cecola, is listed as chair of the OBH committee, and David Riff is listed as treasurer according to the ISBE website. It’s likely both will have some penalty paperwork to fill out, some checks to write, and they’ll likely have to appear at a ISBE hearing to account for their negligence.

However, we submit all four members of the OBH committee bear some responsibility, and we believe their missteps go deeper than that we’ve just reported.  Starting next week, we’ll begin revealing why based on FOIA files we’ve obtained in the last year and audio recordings.

Meantime, any concerned donors to the OBH 2021 campaign can always seek refunds by contacting them at Team@barrington-hills.com. While it may seem premature to some now, perhaps what’s reported next week may change that thinking.

Related:(Most) Village candidate committees report Q-3 financials

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DAB DH

Debra Ann Buettner

Family, friends and colleagues are mourning the loss of Barrington Hills Trustee Debra Ann Buettner, who died unexpectedly late last week at the age of 60.

Born in Elgin and raised in North Barrington, Buettner was a Barrington High School graduate who moved to Barrington Hills in 1991 with her husband, James Hammond.

Buettner was in her first term as a village trustee, bringing her professional experience as a tax and transactional attorney to that role, as well as in her prior position as an appointed member of the village’s zoning board of appeals.

Village President Brian Cecola reflected on her contributions to the community in a written statement.

“Deb has been a friend for a number of years,” Cecola said. “I personally got to know her in 2015 during my first election campaign for village trustee. I was elated when I learned Deb decided to run in 2019 for village trustee, as I knew she would make an excellent board member.”

The strengths she brought to her local government roles were personal as well as professional, he added.

“Deb was very detailed and knowledgeable,” Cecola said. “Her heart was with the residents. She was always willing to listen to people and constantly wore a smile. She will definitely be missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her husband, Jim, and her family,”

Read more here.

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Illinois State Board of Elections

Three Village campaign committees have reported their third quarter financial reports from the April 2021 election to the Illinois State Board of Elections (ISBE). Those filings were due on October 15th. Click on any link below to view their reports:

The “One Barrington Hills” committee missed the filing deadline, and as of this posting, has yet to file their report.  Their committee’s ISBE web page can be viewed here.

According to the ISBE website:

“Pursuant to Section 125.425 of Board Rules and Regulations, civil penalties will be assessed for any late filing of a Statement of Organization or campaign disclosure report. For a committee’s first violation, the fine will be stayed (will not need to be paid) unless the political committee subsequently files a late report. Upon the second violation, the political committee will be required to pay civil penalties assessed for both violations. Click here to view Section 125.425.

Also, “Late filing of a Quarterly Report may result in a civil penalty of up to $5,000.”

No doubt, this was a simple oversight on their part.  Once their report is filed, we’ll be sure to post it.

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BCR Cecola

Newly elected Village President Brian Cecola pictured with State Representative Martin McLaughlin

Newly elected village presidents and trustees are taking their seats this month in Barrington Hills, Lake Barrington or South Barrington and they have a vision for their respective village’s future.

The race for village president in Barrington Hills, Trustee Brian D. Cecola got over 60% of the vote versus Dennis Kelly who picked up just over 39%, according to official April 6 election results from the clerk’s offices in Cook, Lake, Kane and McHenry counties.

“I ran a clean, honest campaign, one with transparency and one that was factually substantiated and proven by my performance as village trustee over the past six years,” Cecola said in an email to Pioneer Press. “I believe all the candidates had goals for what they thought was best for our village. My platform seemed to resonate with our voters and I am excited to serve our residents as village president.

He said he and fellow One Barrington Hills slate of candidates ran on a platform that included preserving the village’s open spaces, reducing expenses, and “protecting our borders and preserving our village’s heritage.”

Two incumbents on the Barrington Hills Village Board lost reelection to newcomers Laura Ekstrom, who got 19.25% of the vote, David Riff with 18.34% and Thomas W. Strauss, who picked up 17.5% of the vote, according to election results from the clerk’s offices in Cook, Lake, Kane and McHenry counties.

They ran with Cecola on the slate, promoting “lower tax levies, land conservation and equestrian values.”  The new trustees, along with Cecola, were sworn in at the May 3 board meeting.

The incumbents unsuccessful in their election bids include Paula Jacobsen, Robert Zubak and Brent Joseph Burral.

“It is important that our platform priorities are kept front and center, as this is why the residents elected us,” Cecola said.

Read the full Barrington Courier-Review article here.

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BC Pres

New Barrington Hills President Brian Cecola, left, recites the oath of office with help from Judge Samuel J. Betar III. (Courtesy of Village of Barrington Hills)

With state Rep. Martin McLaughlin making good on a promise to step down as Barrington Hills’ village president, his successor took office this week.

Brian D. Cecola was sworn in as the new village president during Monday’s board meeting. A former trustee, Cecola defeated Dennis Kelly for the president’s chair in last month’s election.

Newly elected trustees Laura S. Ekstrom, David Riff and Thomas W. Strauss recited their oaths Monday, too. All newcomers to the board, they topped a field of six candidates running for three seats last month.

Cook County circuit court Judge Samuel J. Betar III administered the oaths of office.

Incumbent trustees Paula Jacobsen and Robert Zubak lost their reelection bids, so Monday’s meeting was their last.

Cecola’s win as village president left a vacancy on the six-member board, as his latest trustee term wasn’t yet complete.

Colleen Konicek Hanigan, a veteran trustee who didn’t run for reelection this year, was appointed to succeed Cecola until the term expires in 2023.

Read more here.

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