Tag Archives: South Jacksonville Board of Trustees

Trustee Statement Regarding Removal of Dani Glascock as FOIA Officer and Investigation into Alleged Misconduct

The following is the prepared text of a statement by South Jacksonville Board of Trustees member Paula Stewart, as prepared for delivery tonight, regarding the removal of Village Clerk and Village President candidate Dani Glascock as South Jacksonville’s Freedom of Information Act Officer and the launch of an internal investigation into alleged misconduct within Village Hall.

My Social Jacksonville received an advance copy of this statement on Thursday afternoon.

Good evening.

A majority of the Village Trustees have called this Special Board meeting because it’s time to set the record straight.

Actions taken over the past couple of months do NOT reflect the feelings of most of us on this Board. Rather, we have been left out of the process and included when necessary. The only possible scenario for this exclusion would be that this was to further a personal agenda and trustees opinions were not needed. This is not the way a successful Board works for its residents. We have repeatedly asked to be included in everything and have been ignored. This Village is being run by two people and not the Board.

About the first action item on the agenda tonight, the numerous complaints filed with the Attorney General’s office, for both FOIA and OMA violations, warrant the removal of FOIA officer Dani Glascock.

We have valid concerns regarding the release of Executive Session items (in a personnel matter) which were entered into our meeting minutes-yet not voted upon-for release.

Equally disturbing was the public viewing of video which was part of an executive session. We do NOT condone or support the circus sideshow this issue has become. This public video viewing was unprecedented and, yet, we were totally unaware it was happening. Further, we can’t be certain that video shown to the public was the same as was shown to the Board. Disappointing, to say the least.

As to the second agenda item, it is our contention that pursuing the leak of an unredacted confidential memo from an executive session-dealing with personnel-is in the best interest of our employees as well as our residents. Employees deserve confidentiality in all personnel matters. Residents deserve to know which one of their appointed or elected officials blatantly disregarded the law. To charge an official with misconduct, we need to start with an investigation. Someone had something to gain here. We can’t let personal agendas supersede the law.

We are taking the first step tonight.

While calling a meeting like this is very rare, it was the only option we had.

Continually being left out of Village matters, when we ARE TRUSTEES, is unacceptable and far from the transparency the public deserves and expects. We will continue to fight for what is best for the Village.

 

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Our View: Jennings the Right Choice for South Jacksonville

These are crucial times for our country, as a whole, and our community, on the local level. Now more than ever, citizens need to be able to look to their elected leaders, not as figureheads placed upon a pedestal of worship, but as neighbors who have stepped forward to faithfully serve the best interests of the community. Specific to South Jacksonville, residents need to move beyond the scandal of the final months of the Jumper administration and the continued distrust and uneasy feelings of the interim Waltrip administration.

South Jacksonville residents need to believe that their Village President is someone that they may approach with a problem, large or small as they may be, and walk away from the conversation knowing that their concerns have been taken to heart and will be addressed appropriately and promptly.

Members of South Jacksonville’s Board of Trustees need to have someone sitting in the Village President’s office and at the center of the group during meetings that they trust to always be forthcoming with information and work with them to lead the village, rather than working to serve the interests of themselves or close friends.

The community needs to know that their Village President fully understands all applicable laws, either on their own or with the ability to admit when they do not have an answer and the humility to be able to ask for help, rather than drive ahead blindly without the proper information.

South Jacksonville needs leaders, not heroes, in Village Hall. While it may be “heroic” to stand against blatant corruption and wrongdoing, it is not so to continue to have such a complex that one is always looking for ways to bring attention to themselves. An appropriate balance of commitment to service and respect for others must be found by a community’s top executive.

While we commend current Village Clerk Dani Glascock for her service since taking office, we do not feel that she possesses the right balance of qualities that the Village of South Jacksonville needs in a Village President. Certain actions over the past twelve months lead us to believe that she lusts for power for reasons of personal pride and perceived status, rather than wanting to lead the community out of the mess of the last two-plus years with grace, poise, modesty, and civility. There are certain concerns about Glascock’s ability to adhere to the guidelines of her position as Village Clerk and a seeming willingness to overstep boundaries and actively participate in duties and roles that do not – or, rather, should not – involve the Clerk’s office that give us questions about her political motives and ability to properly lead the community for the next four years. There are additional doubts as to her ability to not bring personal vendettas and hypocritical opinions of others to a potential term as Village President.

Harry Jennings brings law enforcement experience and a no-nonsense approach to the table, free of the emotional or mental baggage that plagued the Jumper and Waltrip administrations over the last four years. His willingness to serve both his country, as a member of the military, and his community, as a police officer and, most recently, a member of the South Jacksonville Ethics Commission and an elected Precinct Committeeman, shows that he has his community first in his heart.

Next – and this is by no means something that should be overlooked by any potential voter on April 4th – we believe that Harry Jennings as Village President is an absolute must for the community at the present time. It is, in our view, vital that South Jacksonville fully separate itself from the prior administration that put the village into such a constant and, often, negative spotlight in the press. At one time, South Jacksonville was viewed by outsiders as a “jewel of Morgan County”, but, at the present time, it does not feel that the description is the same. It is time that a leader be chosen to return the village to that status. It is time to approach the next four years with eyes that are not clouded by rage and vengeful views over wrongs, real and perceived, of the previous four years.

It is for these reasons that My Social Jacksonville is proud to endorse Harry Jennings in the April 4th election for South Jacksonville Village President.

South Jacksonville Candidate Forum Format Announced

The following is the schedule and format for the upcoming South Jacksonville Candidate Forum, being held in the Village Hall Board Room on Monday, February 27th at 6:30PM. The public is encouraged to attend and participate.

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My Social Jacksonville Announces South Jacksonville Candidate Forum

February 27th event at South Jacksonville Village Hall will feature conversation on South Jacksonville issues with all contested seat candidates and will be open to the public.

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Waltrip Administration Needs to Move Beyond Personal Vendettas in Police Chief Fiasco

As prepared for delivery this evening, here are the remarks of MySocialJacksonville.com administrator Colby Huff to the South Jacksonville Board of Trustees regarding the current “administrative leave” of SJPD Chief Josh Hallock.

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Leak of Police Chief Administrative Leave Story Shameful to Waltrip Administration

This is a reprint of the remarks that MySocialJacksonville.com administrator Colby Huff made before the Village of South Jacksonville Board of Trustees at the regularly-scheduled meeting held on February 2, 2017.

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My Social Jacksonville Comments to VOSJ Board of Trustees 3/24/16

In the event that I am not allowed to deliver the full remarks below (I anticipate needing about seven minutes, rather than the usually allotted five), I have published them here for the public to review. – Colby

 

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Board –

Thank you for allowing me to speak tonight and to present what is not going to be a popular opinion. I had hoped to avoid these comments, but I’ve waited long enough and don’t see anything that tells me I shouldn’t make them.

It has been nearly a year since April 2nd, 2015. On that date, this community awakened and finally – for the first time in years – spoke up about what was bothering it, as a collective. I stood at this podium and openly called for three different people to leave their posts as officials of this Village and point-blank told one more that they would be leaving their post after the following Tuesday’s election. He did and they did, not that long afterward. I thought on that night that things were finally going to move forward on the right track.

For the most part, they did… but there are glaring problems that still linger and can no longer be waved off as “the new administration just needs some time.”

President Waltrip, despite what I am about to say, please know that I have a lot of respect for you and the position into which you were placed last summer. I don’t envy you and would not have wanted to touch it with a ten-foot pole, myself.

It is grossly disappointing, however, to continue to hear whispers from this building that the transparency so obviously desired by the residents of this community has not yet been achieved. It is disheartening to hear about decisions being made without bringing each member of this body into the know before those decisions are called for a vote at the next meeting (the A&W debacle, for example, and at least one Trustee being blindsided by the news of the development). It is exceedingly frustrating to have heard from multiple sources that at least one member of this body has said behind closed doors, “Oh, the public doesn’t know what they want” or – even more distressing – “I’m tired of hearing people bitch” (with apologies for the language, that was a direct quote).

It is even more disappointing – and, quite frankly, alarming – to hear stories of board members feeling that they are continually being disrespected by certain Village staff members who may – or may not – have uttered the words, “The Trustees are just bodies in a chair; they don’t make the decisions, we do.”

Really?

Perhaps I missed something (I do, admittedly, have a very short attention span and a lot of things bouncing around my head at any given time), but I seem to recall that we – the people – being entrusted by not only Village ordinance, but also the Illinois and United States Constitutions, to elect our leaders make to the decisions. I recall accusing former President Jumper of running this Village like it was his own little kingdom and we were nothing but peasants to him. How shameful must you feel, even when you won’t have the courage to admit it publicly, to know that that feeling is once again rising among at least a handful of your neighbors? The people who elected you did so believing that you were all honest people who were going to do the will of the people… not the will of Mike Elliott, Kem Wilson, Stacy Pinkerton, Steve Waltrip, John Gotschall, and Paula Stewart, independent of our thoughts. If you don’t like hearing our thoughts, our opinions, there is a very easy option for you to take – resign your seat. There are others who would very much like the opportunity to serve and would not take it for granted.

To certain Village employees, I would like to remind you that you do not serve an elected term – you serve an appointed one, at the will of the Village President and, by proxy, the residents of this Village. Your time in your public servant position can end just as quickly as it began. We demand respect, just as you demand it from us. When we call you, whether it is something as inane as checking a balance on our account with the water department or something as immediate as a crumbling wall alongside a Village sidewalk, we do not expect to be cursed once you are off the phone with us. We do not expect a passing of the buck, when it comes to getting something fixed. (How long has the gazebo project sat unfinished? How much of last summer went by with the open field alongside the pavilion being blocked off?)

Our community took a massive punch in the gut, twenty days ago. For the first time in its history – and, according to a Trustee with whom I spoke on the way to Officer Fitzgerald’s graveside service, the first time in the history of Morgan, Scott, and Cass Counties (*EDIT* Please see below) – we lost one of our first responders in the line of duty. Chief Hallock, I can’t even begin to imagine or comprehend the grief that you, your officers, and other people close to Scot in his professional life went through and are still coping with. I can’t – and won’t – try to imagine what his family is dealing with. My heart continues to ache for everyone involved and I hope to do the best that I can to honor Scot when I wear his badge number as my bib number in next week’s Lincoln Presidential Half-Marathon in Springfield. As devastating as Officer Fitzgerald’s loss was, I saw great things come from it in the days afterward, in the way that our community and so many others responded. It is my hope and prayer that we continue to honor Scot with each day and give thanks for the interactions that we each had with him.

The allegations and uproar that have arisen from that day, however, are – once again – alarming. I know which member of the Board made the call about a non-Police Department employee driving a marked squad car. I understand the concern that was raised. In my opinion, it was – and still is – a valid one. I also do understand – and let me make that abundantly clear, before I’m accused of not supporting our police officers – I do understand the frustration and anger that you expressed in your letter to the board, Chief Hallock. Yes, the timing of the question could most certainly have been better. However, I am disappointed that you would choose to call into question the integrity and ability of that Trustee to serve as a leader over the concern they raised.

Simply stated, Chief, the actions of Richard Evans – approved or otherwise by former President Jumper – set a really bad precedent, in many instances. Public perception is a very real thing, particularly given the events investigated and reported upon by the Illinois State Police. While I will grant that the public would most likely not take any serious note or concern about the Village employee in question driving a marked squad car on March 9th, previous incidents must not be overlooked and, I believe, policies in this regard must be changed. There should be, at best, a limited list of less than a handful of people authorized to drive a Village of South Jacksonville police vehicle who are not sworn officers… and, frankly, those people are seated before me this evening.

A final note… in the course of my employment, I have regular contact with certain elected and appointed officials in the City of Springfield. Since Officer Fitzgerald’s passing, I have been approached by a number of alderman – Ralph Hanauer, Chuck Redpath, Kris Theilen, Herman Senor, and Jim Donelan immediately come to mind – as well as the city’s Corporation Council, Jim Zerkle (and his wife), and Mayor Jim Langfelder, expressing their condolences to our community. I thank you for the opportunity to pass along those condolences this evening.

Thank you.

 

 

*EDIT* It has been brought to my attention that the information given to me about area first responder deaths in the line of duty was not accurate. MCSD Deputy Craig Dowart was killed in the line of duty in 1994 (and, of course, has a section of Route 104 between Jacksonville and Waverly named in his honor), Cass County Sheriff’s Deputy Hazen Maltby died in a traffic accident while on duty in 1976, and Illinois Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Pete Lackey was also killed in the line of duty in 1972. I offer my sincere apologies to the families and friends of these men.