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Archive for the ‘Village Board’ Category

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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BOT

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] A Resolution Authorizing the Execution of a Contract with Corrective Asphalt Materials LLC (CAM) for Pavement Rejuvenation and CRF Application on Select Village Maintained Roads Resolution 22 –
  • [Vote] Board of Health Appointments (4)
  • [Vote] Equestrian Commission Appointments (4)
  • [Vote] Plan Commission Appointments (3)
  • [Vote] Zoning Board of Appeals Appointments (2)
  • [Vote] Police Pension Board Appointments (2)

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

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3.2022 BOT

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

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

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VBH ping

The agenda for tonight’s Board of Trustees meeting has been updated today.  Items added to Building and Zoning are highlighted and can be viewed by clicking on them:

5.4 [Vote] An Ordinance Amending Sections 5-6-4(c) of the Village’s Zoning
Regulations to allow Religious Institutions as a Special Use in the B3 Zoning
District Ordinance 22 –

5.4.A. Ord – B3 Text Amendment.Religioius.pdf
5.4.B. 32W939_Algonquin_Text_Amend_Appl.pdf
5.4.C. Zoning-Map-2021.pdf

Another twenty-six (26) have been added to the agenda this afternoon, however we do not have the time to determine where.  Since it is a moving target at this point for residents and the BOT, click here to view the latest version.

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App Cap

Earlier today we published the agenda (seen here) for tonight’s Board of Trustees meeting.  We included links to both the approved 2021 Appropriations, and the proposed 2022 Appropriations, and a longtime subscriber shared the following:

“Of the total decrease in Legal Expense ($948,937), decrease in Litigation, Planning/Zoning and FOIA expense ($446,000) represents 56.3 % of the total decrease.

Unless one examines the budget items in detail, one might conclude that the current administration is doing a pretty good job of managing the finances of the Village.  That would be an incorrect assumption.  It hides other areas of the budget (such as Permit Administration) where improper management may be concluded.

It should also be noted that much of the huge legal expense incurred in recent years revolves around the desires of one resident to impose a huge commercial horse boarding operation on residents, in effect having residents subsidizing equestrian amenities and lifestyle to non-residents by giving access to the Equestrian Trail System.”

Related: “Village Board of Trustees meets tonight

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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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Cuba Road

Cuba Road east of Rte. 14 is plowed by Cuba Township

Cuba BH

Cuba Road west of Rte. 14 in our village is currently plowed by Mac’s

For nearly fifteen years, our Village benefitted from the snow plowing services provided by the Cuba Township Road District.  Inexplicably, in September of last year, Trustees Ekstrom, Croll, Riff and Strauss awarded our snow plowing services contract to Mac’s Property Management Services of Wauconda. The results have been abysmal.

The images above best illustrate the new service experienced by our residents this Winter. After a recent snow event, Cuba Township plowed Cuba Road east of Route 14 Lake Barrington, and the photo at top shows the results of their work.  A photo was then taken of Cuba Road in our Village within minutes of the first photo capture, and it was plowed by Mac’s.  The difference is significant and concerning.

At best, Mac’s snow plowing services have been consistently shoddy, with slow (or sometimes no) service being the experience of many residents.  Lack of deicing is an oft heard complaint, and as recent as Friday’s afternoon snowfall, many witnessed their own driveways being plowed before Mac’s employees bothered to show up.

We cannot allow substandard service on our Village roads. The modest decrease in expense does not justify the liability our Board of Trustees has exposed our residents to.

Our Village does have an “out” clause with Mac’s, but Roads & Bridges Chair, Laura Ekstrom, couldn’t recall if it was 30 or 60 days.  The point is moot, however, since by the time our Village Attorney sorts it out, Mac’s will be mowing lawns.

The decision to discontinue Cuba Township’s services has been a huge error in judgement, and we’re being generous in that assessment.  We’re just fortunate we don’t have to call it a tragic one (yet).

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OBH Capture

Our gratitude goes to those who’ve followed our four-part journey thus far. Hopefully, it may lead you to the same conclusions we now share.

Obvious to all, there is no way that the current Board of Trustees (BOT), especially President Cecola, would ever consider seating Robin VanCastle next to them in the MacArthur Room. She has shown the unwavering honesty that causes many to avert their eyes, for fear that eye contact would reveal truths some, such as President Cecola, cannot hide.

No one will ever know if Trustee Buettner contemplated this in her discussions with Pro-Tem Konicek. The question is, do we owe her a debt of gratitude for setting the bar so high as to cause the BOT themselves to raise theirs?  Only time will tell.

As we’ve stated, our Village President nominates appointees of his (or is it his household’s) choosing.  At the very least he should have reached out to Ms. VanCastle as he did to other prospective nominees to express Trustee Buettner’s desires.  That is just common courtesy, which apparently he and most trustees have forgotten. It’s that change which can lead to moral turpitude that prompted this series.

The Observer was founded over twelve years ago, since many residents at the time recognized the ethical erosion in our Village government, not only at the Board level, but Commission levels as well. We like to think our communications had some influence in correcting that situation beginning in 2013.

Unfortunately, last year we witnessed our Village government heading in a downward path, and the speed at which it is continuing has us concerned.

Last year we elected four people to our BOT, one being an incumbent Trustee escalated to Village President.  For six years, then Trustee Brian Cecola relied almost exclusively on the guidance provided by former Village President Marty McLaughlin and Trustee Colleen Konicek Hannigan. Their education, experience and long hours studying the many issues facing our Village proved immensely beneficial to Cecola and were arguably the reason for his election to President.

Sadly, President Cecola did not retain enough of what he should have learned from his previous mentors to be effective in his new responsibilities, which has become glaringly evident to residents. And it appears that the three newer Trustees are following Cecola’s lead, but the question is, who is setting his leadership path? From our observations, not him, and in fairness, we need to explain why.

President Cecola is a hard worker when it comes to performing tasks he derives income from.  However, in his volunteer roles he seems to prefer to relegate research and decision making to others in his duties at Village Hall.

He appears to lean heavily (some say exclusively) on the former Building Permit Coordinator and the current (inexperienced) Village Administrator for guidance (and decisions).  The has led to the three new Trustees relying on often biased counsel from non-elected sources.

Examples include the former Permit Coordinator’s well documented advocating for aboveground swimming pools for a neighbor, now permitted for the first time in our Village of estate properties’ history. This in Cecola’s first month in office, dutifully approved to his wife’s delight.

There are other examples of Cecola’s self-interest voting that have occurred, not the least of which is convincing the BOT to terminate a longstanding snow plowing and salting relationship with Cuba Township in favor of awarding business to a private landscaping company he socializes with. Without providing a reason when asked, Cecola conveniently abstained on voting on that one.

Before our newer Trustees continue in this trend, governed by two non-elected people planning Cecola’s course in our Village, we implore them to pause and take stock of where they’re at now and how they’re perceived in the community.

President Cecola is no longer credible and has lost the support of many former supporters, apparently including President McLaughlin, who now can be heard opining that Cecola is not the same today as the person he and others supported and voted for last April.

If Cecola continues to be disinterested, we sincerely ask Trustees Ekstrom, Riff, Strauss and now Hills, to pay much closer attention to what is happening in our community and to the management of our Village.

Related: “Our predominantly pusillanimous Village Board (Part 1),” “Our predominantly pusillanimous Village Board (Part 2),” “Our predominantly pusillanimous Village Board (Part 3),” and “Our predominantly pusillanimous Village Board (Part 4).”

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Cecola Buettner

President-elect Brian Cecola and Trustee Debra Buettner paused for a photo taken on May 3rd, 2021, before Cecola took the Oath of Office.

Monday, we published a memo written by Village President Pro-Tem Colleen Konicek Hannigan to the Board of trustees in November. On January 7, 2022, Village President Brian Cecola convened a special meeting of the Board of Trustees to nominate his choice to fill the seat of Trustee Debra Buettner.

Following is a transcript of a portion of that meeting:

Konicek: For purposes of discussion, I want to read into the record my email to President Cecola of November 18, 2021, which was disseminated to the rest of the board on that same day.

(Pro-Tem Konicek’s memo can be found here.)

Konicek: So, having sent that email on November 18, 2021, I was never approached by the president following that. He and I did meet at one point with Mr. Hammond, Deb’s husband, at his request, and also discussed his conversations with our departed trustee, and the fact that she very much endorsed Robin VanCastle for this position.

I wanted to go on record that while I appreciate Darby Hills immensely, and I think she would be a wonderful fit for this board, that I find this to be an incredible disservice to Trustee Buettner, in not having considered her recommendation which she was very vested in.

She did not want to step down from this board. She wanted to serve out her term, and health prevented her from doing that. And not even considering her recommendation is a slap in the face, in my opinion, so I wanted to bring that to the board’s attention, and I will speak on behalf of Deb since she isn’t here to speak for herself.

And I will also let everybody know that I spoke to Darby about this. I called her following the announcement that was made like two days ago, to all of us which was the first I’d heard that Darby would be the person that the President would put up for this position.

So, I reached out to her, and I called her and told her what I would be saying to the board today, and she’s fully aware of that. She was very appreciative that I brought this to her attention since she wasn’t aware of it prior to our conversation.

Riff: I got a question, so I’ll go. I was elected in March, is that correct? We got elected in March, and I haven’t seen Deb for most of the summer as we all know, and I did not know she was ill, nobody would really express that. Later on in the fall we found out that she was ill, never once heard about Robin VanCastle from her. Sat in many board meetings, four, five, six she did not attend. Then we got a note from you in November with her recommendations, but that was through you, through her husband, through somebody else.

I mean, I would have loved to have heard, spoke to her about it, but I know she’s been, she’s no longer with us, but I never heard her express or say she wanted Robin VanCastle or sent me a letter. That’s just my two cents.

I don’t know. I would have loved to have discussed some things with Deb, here and there, but we can’t.

Konicek: That’s right, we can’t, and I’m sure she would have loved to have had the conversation with you as well. She intended to have it with Brian, and she died.

So, I am honoring the conversations I had with her. At the time, I was honoring the confidentiality that she asked me to place in our conversations because they went beyond just those related to the Village position. Some of them were related to her profession. And, you know, all of you did utilize Deb, and you sat in her office during your campaigns and utilized her services during your campaigns, not just the ones that took place this past April, but ones that took place over the last three or four election cycles.

President Cecola and Trustee Croll all utilized those services, as well as yourself and Trustee Strauss and Trustee Ekstrom, and Deb was very supportive of all of you, and she was supportive of me as well. And she was supportive of this Village, and I want to be on record as saying that I am going to voice support for what she asked for. The fact that she wasn’t able to ask you personally, I’m sure she would loved to have had that opportunity, but she didn’t.

So again, I’m just going to stand, or I guess I’m sitting, I will sit here on her behalf to the best of my ability at this time. She’s much more eloquent that I am, but her voice isn’t here, so I will be it to the best of my ability.   

Cecola: I’ll say a few things. I did…, it was not an easy decision or nomination or recommendation. Uhm, I really wish I would have been able to speak to Deb. I did reach out to her prior to her passing, after a month or two of her missing meetings, I was just concerned.

It was not an easy decision. Did I meet with her husband and you? Yes. It was not easy. I just came to the conclusion, I thought about a lot of different people, I took everybody’s names that they, you know, suggested to me to hear. I weighed everybody’s name to my best ability, and I came up with that,  

Konicek: Did you meet with Robin?

Cecola: I did not, no.

Konicek: Did you even talk to her?

Cecola: (unintelligible)

Konicek: Is that a no?

Cecola: No, correct.

Konicek: So, may I ask why?

Cecola: I know Robin, um, there was no need to…, I know last time she did not want to run in the last election when we asked her, but no, I did not reach out to her.

Konicek: So, you didn’t reach out to her because you were relying on the fact that she had said a year ago or more that she wasn’t going to run in that election.

Cecola: No, I ju, I re, I just, I really don’t have no answer. I didn’t reach out to her.

There were several people that came to mind, and I did not reach out to everybody.

The recording can be reviewed beginning at the 32:25 mark here.

We’ll wrap up our series next week, though most should have a good idea what we’ll say.  And for the record, none of the other Trustees took the time to meet or even talk to Ms. VanCastle either. None, except Pro-Tem Konicek.

Related: “Our predominantly pusillanimous Village Board (Part 1),” “Our predominantly pusillanimous Village Board (Part 2),” “Our predominantly pusillanimous Village Board (Part 3)

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Cuba Township

Cuba Township just posted this photo taken early this morning of one of their crews on FaceBook.  The title of this post speaks to how a growing number of residents feel, especially today (Cuba Township plowed our Village maintained roads for many years until a majority of our Trustees voted to replace them with a private landscaping business).

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