Woodford County Sheriff Primary Election

March 16, 2014

It has been nearly a year since I’ve posted on this blog.  With the new Village Board in place, and doing a fine job, there hasn’t been much to write about.

But as we approach Tuesday’s primary election for Sheriff, it has struck me that the election may be decided by who has the most and biggest political signs.  And that doesn’t seem like a good way to choose a Sheriff.

I confess, I’ve not met any of the three Republican candidates.  I’ve listened to what they’ve said in short television appearances.  They all may be good people.  There wasn’t much to judge them on, except for their experience.

Two of the candidates are former members of the Sheriff’s department.  Both of them are running on their experience in that department.  Neither of them has suggested any other outside relevant experience.

The third candidate, Craig Baner, did not work there.  He worked for 27 years in the Illinois State Police, and ended his career as Chief of the Illinois Commerce Commission police.  During his career, he received police training at the FBI Training Accademy at Quantico, Virginia.

I writing today to suggest that the Woodford Sheriff’s office could use that outside managerial experience of Craig Baner.  When I was on the Village Board, I saw how the Sheriff’s department operated with the Village.  When we would suggest seeing data on effectiveness of patrols in the Village, it was intermittent and hard to obtain.  When we asked about the reduction in citations issued for cars speeding through the Village and trucks running through red lights on Rte 116, the previous Sheriff said that he couldn’t press his deputies to do more because a state law prevented quotas.  But when I talked to a lieutenant in a much larger police force, he said that you certainly can direct officers to increase citations if that is what is needed for the citizens’ safety.

My conclusion from our interactions with the Sheriff convinced me that the management style in the Woodford County Sheriff’s Department was old-fashioned, not modern and professional.  It seemed like the most important goal was to keep the deputies happy. 

This doesn’t prove the the management style of the two candidates whose experience has been entirely in the Woodford County Sheriff’s office is necessarily bad.  But one might conclude that they’ve not had an opportunity to learn about anything better. 

The election is this coming Tuesday.  If you agree with my concerns, be sure to forward this to your friends.  It would seem that the Woodford County Sheriff’s Department, as well as its deputies, would benefit from the experience that Craig Baner would bring to the force. 

Terry Quinn


Congratulations to Germantown Hills

April 10, 2013

 

I congratulate Germantown Hills for returning our Village to a government of competency, integrity, civility, and respect for employees, residents, and ALL businesses.

 The last 4 years have been very hard to watch, with anger, lies, libel, and slander emanating from the Village government.  Even a last minute businessman’s campaign flyer written in support of the current Mayor and his Trustees, didn’t tell the truth in the flyer.  What actually happened is documented in official Village records, and described at https://germantownhillsaperspective.wordpress.com/2011/03/27/responsible-village-government-part-3-issuance-of-liquor-licenses/

 In 2011, the Chamber of Commerce endorsed the candidates that just lost the election.  In 2013, the Chamber of Commerce did not endorse any candidates, as some of the business owners had realized by then that the Mayor and his incumbents were not helping them.

 The new Mayor and Trustees, along with John Ford, an incumbent Trustee who has steadfastly worked for the Village these past four years, will work together to bring a much better future to Germantown Hills residents, businesses, and Village employees.  I hope that the remaining two Trustees from the current administration will work with them to achieve that future.

 It is a new day.  A dark period is over.  A bright future awaits.  My thanks go out to all the people who worked hard on this campaign, and for the overwhelming support of Germantown Hills’ voters in making this great change happen. 

 

Terry Quinn


Village Notice on Burglaries

August 3, 2011

The following message was sent out from the Village earlier today, and I’m passing it along here in case you’ve not already seen it:

xx

xx

A Woodford County Deputy was just here.  There are have been many burglaries recently in the area.  SEVEN last night.  They are going into houses while residents are sleeping usually between 2-3 a.m.  They are going through the access garage doors and are stealing wallets, purses and laptops while people sleep.  They are also stealing items out of cars in the garages.  They think they are in a white mini van and there are two subjects.  So far they have not hurt anyone.  They used an ATM card so they might have a picture to go off of soon.  If you see anything out of the ordinary call the Woodford County Sheriff’s office immediately.  Please tell every resident that you can to lock their doors.  Thanks.
 
 
 
Ann Sasso
Zoning Officer/Village Clerk
Village of Germantown Hills
309-383-2209

Sewer fee increased 17%

June 23, 2011

..

At tonight’s Village Board meeting, a proposal was made to increase the sewer rates, such that the average sewer bill would increase by $7.25 per month.  (Individuals’ bills depend on their respective water usage, and a test run of random users showed that the new rates could increase some users’ bills as much as $12 per month).

The proposed high rate increase was described as necessary because of needed fixes and improvements to the sewer system infrastructure.

Trustee John Ford suggested that the increase be phased in over two years, with a $3.50 increase to an average user this year, and a second increase next year if necessary.  This would allow time to see if a grant would be possible to fund some of the infrastructure costs.   John made a motion to that effect, but none of the other Trustees seconded his motion.

Trustee Greg Falada then made a motion to pass the ordinance change that increased the sewer user fee of an average user by $7.25.  The motion passed, with Trustees Greg Falada, Brian Wysocki, Clark Hopkins, and Jim Telford voting for it.  Trustee John Ford voted against it.

Terry


Village Sewer Fee Increase

June 22, 2011

..

The agenda for tomorrow’s Village Board meeting (June 23) has this as its last current action agenda item:

  • Approval of an Ordinance amending Ordinance No. 221 (as amended) relating to the regulation and operation of the sanitary sewer system for the purpose of modifying rates charged for the use of the system.

Translated, this is the passage of the annual sewer rate ordinance.  The history of the sewer rate reductions or increases for an average sewer bill for the last five years is as follows:

2006 -$0.12 -0.3%
2007 -$0.02 -0.1%
2008 $1.43 4.0%
2009 $3.32 9.0%
2010 $2.55 6.3%

(During 2006 and 2007, residential growth increased revenue enough to cover increasing costs without increasing rates). 

It has been rumored that the Village Board is planning to pass an increase tomorrow night of $7.25 per month for an average user, which is 16.9% above last year’s average user rate.

If passed, this will be the highest sewer rate increase in decades.  If you have concerns about this, please consider attending the Village Board meeting, which begins at 6:00 pm tomorrow (Thursday) at the Village Hall, 216 Holland Road. 

Terry


Why I’ve Resigned

May 12, 2011

..

Earlier today, I submitted my resignation from the Germantown Hills Village Board.  I’m sure that some will wonder, “Why resign now?”  Hopefully this article will answer that and other questions.

This was not a decision made lightly or quickly.  My wife and I and a few close friends have been talking about this for months.  In the last couple of weeks, I spoke to several more supporters to get their views.  And from that counsel, I believe that this is the right thing to do now. 

The people who know me well understand that my values do not allow me to simply ignore breaches of integrity, such as lying, deceit, hypocrisy, and treachery.  I also challenge incompetence, and especially abuse of employees.  There is no need to state examples of this; much of it is already been described elsewhere in this website.  A good politician would probably not let these things bother him.   So if I’m not to be known as a “good politician,” I’ll accept that as a compliment.  With that as background, here is what led to my decision to resign:

As the recent spring elections approached, Mike Gaetz and I set out to explain to the residents of Germantown Hills what was happening in their community, so that they could make informed decisions in the election.  The results of our effort were mixed.  Each side lost one of their incumbent candidates.  And consequently, nothing changed on the current Village Board that would lead to much improvement.

Which brings us to today.  For many years, I was proud of the fact that Germantown Hills Boards had a reputation for professionalism and decorum.  That has not been the case since the 2009 election. The Woodford reporter recently told me that in all of his years covering various forms of government bodies, this is the worst he has ever seen.  I talk to many people in and out of government who look at Germantown Hills now as a laughing-stock. 

I can no longer be a part of that.  I take pride in my first twenty years as a Village Board member.  I’m ashamed of the Village Board during the last two.  And if I stay on the Village Board, it is highly likely that the acrimony will continue.  That is because I will be compelled to hold the opposition accountable for their performance, and I expect that they will continue to rail on me for doing so.  And for the many who stay back and watch the fray, it will continue to come across as juvenile bickering. 

On the other hand, if I leave now, our opposition will no longer have their declared enemy sitting on the Village Board.  So instead of having Board meetings playing out as a battle of wills, the actual performance of the Village Board will again become the focus.  There will be nothing for them to hide behind anymore.   

I’ve already noticed that two of the newly elected or appointed Trustees have a predisposition to side with the Mayor.  Yet my sense from listening to them and talking to people who know them, these are smart and independent-thinking people who are there to serve the community as best they can.  I believe that with my presence and the animosity that produces, it will only delay how long it takes for them to come to their own understanding of what is working and what is not. 

Going forward, either of two things will happen.  One possibility is that the Mayor and his allies will continue to behave poorly.  In that case, their performance will be more evident to the entire community, and they will be held accountable at the next election.  On the other hand, perhaps they will improve their behavior.  And if that happens, it will also be good for Germantown Hills.

There is one other issue that was brought up repeatedly from the people I spoke with in the last couple of weeks.  A concern I heard over and over was that if I resigned, Mayor Mitchell might appoint Ken Slater to replace me.  These people know that Trustee Slater’s incident with a Village employee put the Village into significant legal risk, and caused significant legal cost.  For the Mayor to appoint him a second time would only amplify the legal risk.

The Mayor should also understand the political risk if he does this.  Even if he does appoint Slater, the new Trustees will still need to approve that appointment.  They will want to study what happened in the past, in detail, before they vote.  More of that information will come out to the public.  Hopefully the full Village Board would not approve the appointment if public opinion was against it.

In conclusion, I wasn’t elected to the Germantown Hills Village Board to fight a war, I was elected to serve the community.  And for the good of the reputation of Germantown Hills, I have decided that the best way to serve that community is to resign now, at the beginning of the new Trustees’ terms.  That will give them a clean start and an opportunity to re-establish a culture of civility on the Village Board.

Terry Quinn


More On What Happened

April 27, 2011

..

In the WT article “Hostile Workplace in GTH is alleged,” Clark Hopkins said that he agreed to reschedule a Personnel Meeting to August 25th.  But then he said he canceled it because there were only two agenda items to discuss.  He went on to say, “I am a big proponent of not having meetings with no action items.  I did not see an action item here.” 

These statements are very misleading. 

  • The Personnel Committee meeting was never rescheduled from the 28th to the 25th.  So we were never given the opportunity to add agenda items. 
  • Our committees aren’t empowered to “take action.”  They can only vote to recommend action to be taken by the full Village Board.  So we cannot put “action items” on committee agendas.
  • Agenda items do not have to state any action to call a vote.  They only have to state the topic that will be discussed. 

All of the Village Board Members are taught these things by the Village Attorney.

Terry Quinn