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ethics

Last Winter, the Village of Lake Barrington published the following in their seasonal newsletter:

Lake Barrington’s Ethics Commission

Did you know that the Village has an Ethics Commission? The independent commission adds to the overall transparency of our government and serves to investigate complaints alleging violations of the Ethics Chapter of the Village Code. We are proud to report that this 3-member Commission has never once had to meet regarding a violation!”

Their Municipal Code actually devotes a chapter to ethics, and the main page of their website contains a link to, “Report a Concern.”

As previously chronicled in this publication, if one searches our Village Code, keying in the word “ethics,” the result reads, “No Matches Found.”

Our Village needs an Ethics Commission.  How else could parties involved in complaints present their respective cases to determine if ethics violations did, or did not, occur? Listed below are typical practices that might arise in our Village, and in our opinion, may warrant investigation, understanding that there are no implications as to guilt or innocence of any on the list:

  • Should expensive legal battles, possibly precipitated by actions of elected and appointed Village officials, be investigated?
  • Should the hiring and retention of Village paid staff positions by elected family members be investigated?
  • Should contracts with vendors who maintain personal and professional relationships with elected Village officials and their families be investigated?
  • Should the solicitations of funds and hand selection of vendors by family members or close friends of elected Village officials, absent oversight by appointed Village committees, be investigated?

For these and other reasons, our Village needs to appoint an Ethics Commission to act as ombudsmen, when any question of potential maladministration or ethics violations is considered or occurs.

Candidates for this proposed commission could come from existing appointed Village bodies, ones whose objectivity would be unquestioned.

The perfect candidates for this roll are the incumbent members of the Board of Heath.  They are highly qualified, underutilized, and would prove to be an effective force in maintaining ethical governance of the Village of Barrington Hills.

Related:Our predominantly pusillanimous Village Board (Part 1),” “Our predominantly pusillanimous Village Board (Part 2),” “Better Government Association Commends Passage of Chicago Ethics Ordinance–Sees More to Do,” “What happened to ethics reform in Illinois government? Why watchdogs have some hope,” “Meanwhile, One Barrington Hills makes amends, extinguishes website and turns the volume down,” “Learn from your (big) mistake, Laura, Bryan, Dave and Tom,” “Agreed

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County Line Road 1

Road signs on Haegers Bend Road let drivers know which way to turn when driving in Barrington Hills or Algonquin.

The August Board of Trustees meeting was brief.  It lasted less than half an hour, but that was more than enough time to cause continued disappointment with the Cecola administration.

For example, why has the phone-in system to Board of Trustee meetings not yet been fixed yet?  Is it intentional to discourage resident’s attendance or does it just reflect incompetence on the part of those responsible for getting the job done?

Next, Laura Ekstrom, Roads & Bridges Committee Chair, provided an update on resurfacing work and detours taking place on, “Lake Cook Road,” in our Village. President Cecola, former committee chair, and Bryan Croll provided their perspectives on, “Lake Cook Road,” work.  The problem is, there is no road named, “Lake Cook,” in Barrington Hills.

County Line Road, named decades before Barrington Hills was incorporated, runs from Haegers Bend Road all the way to Hart Road. Trustee Riff, who actually lives on County Line Road, joined in the road work discussion yet made no effort to correct the record.  Given the fact he wrote on his Facebook site, “I was swarm into office as a Barrington Hills, Illinois Trustee,” he may not be as bright as some had hoped.

Some will say we’re picking at nits here.  But ask the employees or residents of the Barrington Hills Country Club, Countryside Elementary School or the Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House what their address is, they will all say County Line Road. Other might say, “Come on, you know what they meant,” however, one must then question what else Trustees say versus what they meant.

The best point we can make in rebuttal is if you Google, “300 W. Lake Cook Road, Barrington Hills, IL,” instead of a map leading to Barrington Hills Country Club, you’ll see a map of downtown Buffalo Grove.

We elected Trustees relying on their intelligence and experience.  Live up to those expectations.

Recordings from the August 22nd Board of Trustees meeting can be found here.

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Aug 22 BOT

Our Village Board of Trustees will be conducting their regular monthly meeting beginning this evening at 6:30 PM. A copy of the agenda can be viewed and downloaded here.

It’s doubtful the telephony issues have been corrected by the Cecola administration, but readers are welcome to call in and try once again to listen to the meeting.

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Aug R&B Meet

The Village Roads & Bridges Committee meets for the first time in four (4) months this afternoon at 4 PM.  The two topics on their agenda are:

  • 2022 Road Program Update, and
  • Detour Traffic

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

Related:Roads & Bridges Committee meeting canceled (again),” “County Line Road work to begin in Barrington Hills Monday,” “Hart Road in Barrington closing for five months beginning June 2

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RCBH-logo-4-1024x562

The Barrington Hills Park District Board will hold their regular monthly meeting this evening in person and via Zoom at 7:00 PM. Topics on their agenda include:

  • Horizon Farms Update
  • Damaged John Deere 4700 Tractor
  • New Tractor/Mower Future Purchases, existing equipment update, and
  • Hills are Alive Event Preparations*

A copy of their agenda can be viewed here. Instructions for accessing the meeting remotely can be found here

*The Hills Are Alive Fall Festival returns to the Riding Center September 18th.

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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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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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Snow Plow

Today’s regular monthly meeting of the Roads & Bridges Committee has been cancelled.  Ordinarily, we would not report this except the Committee has only managed to meet three (3) times in seven (7) months this year, and their last meeting was back in April.

Since the less than stellar snow plowing services Village residents endured this past Winter season still weighs on their minds, one can only hope plans are already underway to assure improved services in 2022-2023.  After all, the next Committee meeting isn’t until August 11th (tick, tick, tick…).

Related: Learn from your (big) mistake, Laura, Bryan, Dave and Tom

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VBHPD Car

Our Village Police Department posted the following this evening:

“The Village of Barrington Hills would like you to be aware of a 5K & 10K race occurring tomorrow morning on Cuba, Merri Oaks, Buckley, and Oak Knoll Roads. These roadways will be closed to through traffic between approximately 7:20 and 9:00 AM. Residents residing on the race routes will not be restricted from ingress or egress; however, it is advisable to avoid travel during the event, if possible. Your understanding and cooperation are greatly appreciated. It’s not too late to register to participate – please visit vbhil.gov/race for more information. On behalf of President Cecola  and the Board of Trustees, have a safe and happy 4th of July!”

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