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Archive for the ‘Village Code’ 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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Big Red 6

The Barrington Hills Chronicle (a Riding Club of Barrington Hills splinter group), posted what follows on Wednesday:

“The Riding Club of Barrington Hills is inviting all volunteers this Saturday, May 14th, to a roadside clean-up campaign on Route 62 (Algonquin Road). A meeting at the the Riding Center on Bateman Road will start at 8:30am (this Saturday, May 14th), or feel free to join whenever it is convenient for you. Every Saturday in May is the clean-up plan.”

In addition, three additional events are taking place tomorrow:

These activities are occurring at the same time tomorrow morning, primarily along Bateman, Algonquin, Brinker, and County Line Roads.

Readers are encouraged to exercise extreme caution when driving in these areas. On any given day, the Village has two patrol people covering the entire Village, and even with additional resources allocated, they hopefully will not be overwhelmed.

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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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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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DD

32W939 Algonquin Road

The Zoning Board of Appeals meets this evening at 6:30 PM.  They will be holding a public hearing followed by a public meeting and possible vote regarding:

Text Amendment – Anja Foundation — Amending Section 5-6-4(C) of the Zoning Ordinance to add to the list of special uses allowed in B-3 Zoning District “Religious Institutions: Athletic fields and playgrounds on the grounds of religious institutions, Churches, Chapels and synagogues, Columbariums associated with religious institutions, Rectories, parsonages and parish houses.”

A copy of their agenda can be viewed here.

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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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FLR

“We like the coolness factor and the history,” says Brian Thompson, who is joined inside their new home by his wife, Gabby, and a couple of the dogs they train. (Ryan Rayburn for the Daily Herald)

Gabby Sloan and Brian Thompson were interested in the star-shaped house in Grayslake because it stood on 30 acres of land overlooking a pond, woods and a prairie.

The married couple were searching for a new home for themselves and their Happy Pup Manor dog training and boarding business. The sprawling property seemed an ideal place to live and for their canine clients to run free.

Making it more interesting, they soon discovered the house was designed by the son of legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright and had two noteworthy owners: a wartime industrialist and an eccentric millionaire known for raising exotic animals.

“We loved the property because there were a lot of acres for the pups to run, and it had a fence,” Thompson said. “Then we saw the house, and we realized it was a piece of art with a lot of history.”

Sloan, 36, and Thompson, 35, recently purchased the house for $2.3 million with hopes that by March, Happy Pup Manor will move from its current location in Barrington Hills to its new home near Route 60 and Fairfield Road in Grayslake.

More here.

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DAB 11.11.21

Friday we published a letter written by Deputy Clerk and Plan Commission Vice Chair Robin VanCastle (seen here), as submitted to our Board of Trustees (BOT) communicating her concerns over a conflict of interest at our Village Hall. That conflict was corrected months later, but now our series takes a sad turn.

Trustee Debra Buettner passed away unexpectedly on November 11th, 2021, after a rare reaction to chemotherapy ended her life prematurely.  A week later, Village President Pro-Tem, Colleen Konicek Hannigan, sent the following memo to the BOT before they met for their November regular meeting:

“To:    Brian Cecola
Cc:      Anna Paul, Nikki Panos
From: Colleen Konicek
Date:   Thu, Nov 18, 2021 at 8:29 AM
Re:      Trustee Buettner
 

#####

Brian – As Jim stated in his letter (seen here), Deb and I had many conversations over the last several months regarding her need to step down from the BOT and her desire to play a role in finding/vetting a person who she felt exemplified her efforts and dedication to the Village. We discussed several people and the reasons she felt each would or would not best be able to carry on her mission to provide government services in a fair, courteous, and fiscally responsible manner, to be a steward of the land and open spaces, and to protect our zoning laws. Each time, one person rose to the top.

Deb asked that I keep her health condition confidential, which I, of course, honored. Her intent was to meet with you the week before our last meeting to discuss her need to step down and to request that you nominate, and the BOT accept her recommendation of Robin VanCastle to fill her remaining term. Unfortunately, Deb was hospitalized and unable to follow through with that intent prior to passing.

Deb felt Robin would exemplify her position on the Board and would provide a high level of commitment to the Village, which she has already demonstrated. Deb was impressed by Robin’s background in finance as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Itasca Bank & Trust Co. She also valued Robin’s volunteer experience and can-do attitude. Deb, as liaison to the Plan Commission, saw Robin’s work firsthand, and was impressed by her dedication to redrafting of the Village’s Comprehensive Plan, and believed Robin had a solid understanding of what makes Barrington Hills so special and how to keep it that way. Deb also thought it important to have a capable female fill the seat.

As you know, Robin has been involved in Village government since 2015, serving on the Heritage & Environs Committee and Plan Commission, as well as being our long-standing Deputy Clerk. She is a CPA with a strong background in finance and is currently on the Board of Directors for Itasca Bank, so she also has a background in working collaboratively at the board level. These were all considerations of Deb’s in determining Robin was the ideal candidate for the seat.

I wanted to go on record with my many conversations with Deb, my endorsement of her recommendation, and my hope that we honor her by seriously considering this appointment. I will very much miss Deb’s presence on our Board. She provided considered guidance and a unique perspective. She felt that Robin would do the same.

Please feel free to reach out with any questions about my discussions with Deb.

I would appreciate this email being disseminated to the rest of the Board members.

Thank you,

#####

Colleen Konicek Hannigan
Trustee, Village of Barrington Hills”

A copy of her memo can be viewed here.

Trustee Buettner served on the Zoning Board of Appeals for four years before being elected to the BOT in 2019.  Considering she had more experience than most on the BOT, she had every right to share her succession preferences.

However, the current Village President, Brian Cecola, decides who to nominate to the BOT (once he obtains the now obligatory approval of the former Village Permit Coordinator, of course).

The question is, who on the BOT considered Trustee Buettner’s recommendation?  It turns out, with the exception of Pro-Tem Konicek, none we can find. Not a single one, and we’ll attempt to determine why in our upcoming installments.

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

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1.24.22 Agenda

Our Village Board of Trustees meets tomorrow evening at 6:30 PM.  Some of the topics on their agenda include:

  • [Vote] An Ordinance Granting an Amendment to an Existing Special Use Permit to Allow an Addition to Countryside Elementary School, 205 W. County Line Road Ordinance 22 –
  • [Vote] A Resolution Adopting an Intergovernmental Agreement with the Cook County Assessor’s Office to Facilitate Access to GIS Data Resolution 22 –
  • [Vote] Plan Commission Appointment: Maggie Topping, term expires 2024

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

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