The Only Option Left to Correct an Injustice

April 26, 2011

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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


Official Village Election Results

April 22, 2011

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The County Clerk has now completed the canvass of the election, including other possible votes from mailed-in absentee and military votes.   The results of the vote totals for the Village Trusee election did not change.  Here are those totals:

VILLAGE TRUSTEE VILLAGE OF GERMANTOWN HILLS

VOTE FOR 3

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


Final Election Results Later this Week

April 19, 2011

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I checked with the County Clerk this morning.  They are conducting the canvass of the election results today.  But since they need to work with other counties to accumulate the vote totals for some school districts, they do not expect to post final election results until Thursday or Friday of this week.

Terry


Some Progress on Public Safety

April 17, 2011

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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

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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.

VILLAGE TRUSTEE VILLAGE OF GERMANTOWN HILLS

VOTE FOR 3

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

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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