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


The Only Option Left to Correct an Injustice

April 26, 2011


The last week has been nothing if not eventful.

Over the last two years, Clark Hopkins, the Chairman of the Personnel Committee, has repeatedly demonstrated animosity toward our Village Clerk.  A series of emails and statements that he has made in Village Board meetings have indicated that he simply does not like her.  And recently, his out-of-town son-in-law has made a series of freedom of information requests asking for detailed information on various aspects of her work record. 

There is nothing illegal about any of this.  But it is my view, and I believe the view of anyone who believes in fundamental fairness in the workplace, that Clark should not be planning to conduct the annual performance review of the Clerk.  Yet that is exactly what he intends to do.  Most people understand that lawyers, judges, and others in public office will quickly recuse themselves from dealing with an issue where there is any appearance of bias in their position.  I believe that the same should happen in the Performance Review process when a Trustee has demonstrated negative bias toward an employee. 

With that in mind, at the April 14th meeting, we put “Personnel Review Process” on the agenda.  At the meeting I suggested that we could go into Executive Session (which is permitted for this topic), so that we could present the evidence of bias privately, and consider together whether Clark should recuse himself from the performance review of the Clerk.  With five other Trustees and the Mayor who could step in to take over, we could have easily fixed the problem. 

But we never had that discussion.  First, Clark made a motion to table the topic, delaying the discussion to a future meeting.  That motion passed when Mayor Mitchell broke a tie vote in his favor. 

But he and the Mayor did agree to reschedule both the Personnel Committee Meeting and the next Village Board meeting, so that all Trustees could participate in the discussion on this topic before the end of the month.  One reason for doing this in that timeframe was that Mike Gaetz would be able to participate, important since he had been here for the last two years, and seen and heard what has gone on.  The agreement to reschedule the meetings was reported at the end of a news article in the Woodford Times, which can be found at this LINK.

Changing the schedule to deal with the problem at a later meeting was a reasonable solution.  Unfortunately, however, Clark Hopkins and Mayor Mitchell each subsequently broke their promise to reschedule their respective meeting.   Clark canceled his.  So no discussion has taken place.  I leave it for you, the reader, to decide whether or not this was handled honestly.

Given this, Mike Gaetz and I concluded that the only remaining way to rectify the injustice was to bring it out into the open.  So we met with a reporter from the Woodford Times.  We presented the evidence from the past two years that demonstrates the negative bias.  The reporter explained that he would need to interview others with opposing views.  We encouraged that, so that his story would be fairly written. 

Notwithstanding everything up to this point, Mike went a step further.  He contacted the Village Attorney by email on Sunday and proposed that if something could still be worked out to correct the injustice withough airing the details in the press, that Mike believed the reporter might change the story to report a positive resolution to the problem.  The reporter had indicated that he would consider that, provided he was given enough time before his deadline on Monday afternoon.  The attorney called Mike on Monday morning, and Mike explained everything. 

The attorney waited until after the news deadline to respond to Mike by an email, which I have since read.  Instead of talking about solving the problem, the attorney ignored all that had happened up to that point, and instead criticized Mike for proposing a solution.   Who knows what was behind that?

Today Mike resigned from the Village Board.  Yes, it was symbolic, because Thursday would have been his last meeting anyway.  But in this case the symbolism is important, as a protest of what has happened in the management of the Village of Germantown Hills. 

We would have preferred to work this problem quietly within the Village Board, but that effort was blocked, twice.  I’ve served with many Village Board members for over 22 years.  I’ve never experienced deception like this prior to the 2009 election.  

Here is a link to the Woodford Times article about the problem in the online version: LINK.  

The print version of newspaper is delivered with the Wednesday Journal Star to those who subscribe to it.  If you do not subscribe, print copies are supposedly made available at locations described at this LINK.

Terry Quinn

Some Progress on Public Safety

April 17, 2011


Last Thursday’s Village Board meeting was a demonstration of  the power of the involvement of the public in their government. 

Earlier we had written an article about the problems with police protection in the Village.  (See “Playing Politics with Your Safety.”)  We talked about the apparent lack of interest by Mayor Mitchell, Trustee Slater and Trustee Hopkins in the traffic violations that were occurring in the Village.

On Thursday, Village residents came to the meeting to speak about their concerns of cars that speed along Sommerset and Arbor Vitae in Whispering Oaks.  The speeding and running of stopsigns occurs during the same times that children are walking or riding their bikes from Coventry Farms and Whispering Oaks to the middle school on that street.  One resident said that she had seen a car going at what appeared to be 60 mph in the 25 mph zone. 

These problems had been reported many times before by veteran Trustees as well as an ex-Mayor of the Village.  But the response from the Mayor and the current Police Committee Chairman has repeatedly been that there was no problem at all.  Meeting after meeting, when asked to give a report on the Police, the Chairman would say, “Everything is okay.”

But on Thursday, having heard from the citizens, all the members of the Village Board began to talk about ways that increased enforcement could be used to deal with the problems. 

What a difference it makes when citizens voice their concerns.  Our sincere thanks to those who take the time to come to the Village Board meetings and participate.  Thursday’s meeting showed how effective that can be.

      Terry Quinn                                        Mike Gaetz

We’re still here.

April 10, 2011


Some of our readers may have wondered if this newsletter would end after the election.  It will not.  We are taking a little break, though, as the last few days before the election wore us out.

We won’t be writing every day or two like we sometimes did during the campaign.  But more will be said when things need to be told.  You’ve been kind enough to read what we have written, and we owe it to you to keep you updated on issues.

For those who don’t have time to check here regularly, we suggest once again that you subscribe to the site as explained at this link.  That way you can let your email or Facebook do the “walking.”

Thank you for caring enough about Germantown Hills to read our perspective.

Terry Quinn

Village Election Results (Preliminary)

April 7, 2011


PLEASE NOTE:  These vote totals are not final.  They include the votes read by machine on election day, the votes cast before the election (early voting) and any absentee ballots that had arrived by election day.  Additional absentee and military votes may be added to these totals if they were postmarked by the day prior to the election and are received within 14 days of the election.  A canvass of the votes will be conducted on April 19th, after which the final vote totals will be available from the County Clerk.



BRIAN M. WYSOCKI (IND) . . . . . . 392
JOHN FORD (IND)... ... . . . . . . . . 296
KENNETH L. SLATER (IND). . . . . . 290
MICHAEL D. GAETZ (IND) . . . . . . 271
THERESA OLSEN (IND).. . . . . . . . 415

The full results can be found at this site

Voting Suggestion

April 4, 2011


First and foremost, if you have not already read the three messages immediately preceding this one (scroll down or hit the link on right to read them), please do so before you log off, as we think you will find those to be important. 

We hope that everyone who is reading this will vote in the election tomorrow (if you haven’t already pre-voted).  The election is a vote for three seats on the Village Board, and five persons are running for those three seats.

We respect everyone’s decision on who they vote for. 

We also know that some people reading this newsletter have told us they feel strongly that they want Mike Gaetz and John Ford to be re-elected.  If you feel that way also,  there is a best way for you to help make that happen.  To maximize their chances of winning, you should only vote for Mike and John, just two votes, leaving your third vote uncast.  This is because a vote for any of the other three candidates has the potential to be the one vote that allows that candidate to beat Mike or John in a close race.

We know we have support.  But we don’t know how much.  And with all the publicity that has occurred, a high turnout might be expected tomorrow.  

So please, take the time to vote , and if you can, talk to your friends, neighbors, and relatives and remind them also how important tomorrow’s election is.  We need your help. 

Thank you.

Terry Quinn


April 3, 2011


My name is Mike Gaetz and I am seeking re-election for the Village Board and asking for your support.

            I was born and raised in one of the original part of Germantown Hills (Oak Grove Park) where my parents continue to reside today.  I have seen a lot of change and growth in the Village in my 54 years.  My father was the mayor from 1977 to 1979, and my mother served as Village Clerk, where they both served the residents of the Village to ensure the will of the people was met.  I am committed to do the same.  I do not look at the position of Village Trustee as a political position, and I am not going to “agree” with everyone simply to get or maintain their vote.  I attempt to remain objective on all issues and try to determine what is in the best interest of community before discussing the issue with fellow Board members.  I welcome diversity in the Village Board, as the diversity in ideas and suggestions help us make better decisions for the residents.

This election has proven to be difficult to say the least.  During recent weeks, my character has been attacked, my wife and her place of employment have been attacked, and current Village Board members and spouse have gone to my daughters’ place of employment in Germantown and “highly recommended” that they get rid of her.  I WILL NOT go to this level to seek re-election.  I certainly would not attack the character of their wife and children.  That kind of behavior is not conducive to achieving harmony within the Village.

There have been numerous accusations that I am “anti-business”.  For clarity, this simply is NOT true.  I live in this community, my children go to school in this community and I want to see that Germantown Hills is an area where people want to live and that we grow smoothly.  What I do not support is “growth without thought”.  I feel we must support the businesses that are currently in Germantown and help them thrive.  In my nearly 55 years of residing in the area, Germantown Hills has NEVER been without a grocery store until now.  A grocery store is a foundation in a community and the loss of Jubilee drags the whole Village down.  And we just lost Di’s Restaurant, too.  We need to turn this around, and with your support, I will work to make that happen.

I welcome any of you to contact me personally if you would like more insight as to what my goals are for the Village and our community.

I hope you take the time to vote on Tuesday and that I can count on your support!!

Thank you,

Mike Gaetz