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Archive for the ‘Big Red’ Category

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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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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RCBH

The Riding Club of Barrington Hills (RCBH) recently released their April newsletter.  Topics covered this month include:

  • State of the trails
  • Saturday morning trail rides
  • 4th of July parade
  • What’s happening at the Park District, and
  • Forest Preserve

A copy of the RCBH newsletter can be viewed and downloaded here.

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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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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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VBH 2022 Road Program

“INVITATION TO BID NOTICE is hereby given that the Village of Barrington Hills will receive sealed Bids until the 18th day of March 2022 at 2:00 p.m. local time at the Village of Barrington Hills, 112 Algonquin Road, Barrington Hills, IL 60010 at which time the Bids will be publicly opened and read aloud for the following project:

VILLAGE OF BARRINGTON HILLS 2022 ROAD PROGRAM Work description: Provide all labor, services and materials necessary for the resurfacing of various roads throughout the Village of Barrington Hills. This work consists of: HMA Surface Removal, Class D Patches, HMA Resurfacing and other associated improvement required to complete the project in accordance with the plans, specifications and all other applicable standards.

The Contract Documents may be inspected and purchased at Trotter and Associates, Inc., 38 W Grand Ave, Fox Lake, IL 60020, beginning February 24, 2022. Contact Amy Whitis at a.whitis@trotter-inc.com to purchase the contract docs. Hard and/or electronic copies are available. Payment for Contract Documents is non-refundable and shall be payable to Trotter and Associates, Inc. in the form of cash, certified check or money order. No partial sets of specifications or drawings will be issued.

The non-refundable cost for plans and specifications is $50.00. Addenda will be issued only to plan holders. Bidders will be required to provide Bid security equal to five (5) percent of the Bid in the form of a Bid Bond written by a company properly licensed in Illinois, a certified check or a cashier’s check.

The successful Bidder must also comply with all the provisions of the Davis-Bacon Act and all wages must comply with the Illinois Department of Labor Prevailing Wages for McHenry, Lake, Cook, and Kane Counties. The Village of Barrington Hills, in accordance with the Laws of the State of Illinois, hereby notifies all Bidders that the Village reserves the right to reject any and all Bids, to waive minor informalities or technicalities, to advertise for new bids, or to request confirmation or clarification from any bidder regarding information contained in a bid.

The Village will affirmatively ensure that the contract entered into pursuant to this advertisement will be awarded to a responsible and responsive Bidder without discrimination on the grounds of race, color or national origin, but the Owner reserves the right to reject any or all Bids received and to waive formalities.

Your Bid will be required to be submitted under a condition of irrevocability for a period of sixty (60) days after submission. Bids shall be received in a sealed envelope addressed to Village of Barrington Hills, 112 Algonquin Road, Barrington Hills, IL 60010 which is marked in the lower left-hand corner EXACTLY as follows:

BID: Village of Barrington Hills 2022 Road Resurfacing Program

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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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