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Letter to the Editor: Committee Appointments Being Blocked

Four council members blocking appointments.

“You (have) got to have at least four votes.”

In the past when Downers Grove volunteers were needed for Commissions and Committees, they were asked to serve by a council commissioner. The individual Commissioners were each responsible for several different volunteer committees. These committees and commissions provided study and recommendation in any number of areas of concern for Downers Grove. 

The Mayor or councilmen would arrange their own volunteers from this pool. Their recommendations were then presented to council and approved. This shared the work of finding the volunteers who would best serve. 

When the committee volunteer was finished with their service they were thanked for contributing to the Village. 

Now, long serving volunteers are being told they are no longer needed by four commissioners and pushed out of their committees. This is being done under the guise of “just wanting to make a change”. 

Vacancies on the committees are being approved and filled by the same four. Some new people being asked to serve by other Commissioners and the Mayor are being rejected. In my case they first approved me, and then changed their mind after the Village published my approval in the agenda. 

The four commissioners want to be only ones who decide who can and can't serve, to the exclusion of the other council commissioners and the Mayor. The four Council Commissioners are Bob Barnett, Sean Durkin, Geoff Neustadt, and Becky Rheintgen.

Lisa Stach February 28, 2012 at 01:03 AM
Forgive me, but I fail to see exactly how Mr. Sandack and Mr. Thoman can be considered "enemies;" after all, was it not Mr. Sandack who as Mayor of Downers Grove proposed and then formally appointed Mr. Thoman to serve on the Village's Comprehensive Plan Ad Hoc Committee in February of 2010? This was no mere figurehead position, either - the Comp Plan which had guided the direction and development of the Village for some 45 years was in sore need of restructuring and redirection, so I have no doubt that the Mayor and Village Council must have had great respect for and faith in the eleven volunteers that were chosen. It makes no sense (to me, anyway) that Mr. Thoman would have received this important appointment had there been any sort of "dark cloud" over his name. Furthermore, if I remember correctly, Mr. Barnett, Mr. Neustadt, and Mr. Durkin were all members of the Village Council at that time and presented no opposition to that appointment whatsoever. Therefore, regardless of what may or may not have transpired in recent weeks, the suggestion that Mr. Thoman's willingness to volunteer his time, energy, and expertise on behalf of the Village has been historically dismissed or ignored is simply inaccurate.
Scott C. February 28, 2012 at 02:40 AM
Republicans behaving badly. Its just ridiculous.
Joseph Sharp February 28, 2012 at 02:48 AM
Don't you mean-----politicians behaving badly? Why are you picking on one side? I think they are all acting like children!
Joseph Sharp February 28, 2012 at 03:18 AM
Ms. Stach, Lisa, Perhaps then you can draw the lines to the assumption that the voting block is protecting our ex-mayor now that he is running against someone that Mr. Thoman is supporting? Back in February of 2010, this situation was not present. Your information certainly has helped clarify it for me. Now I can see a direct correlation. There wasn't a problem with Mr. Thoman when he was neutral but the moment he chose a side that wasn't the "right" side, he became someone not worthy of the ECC. Really????
Scott C. February 28, 2012 at 03:24 AM
Because, Joseph, unless I am mistaken (and I may be), I believe the people involved here are all Republicans.
PAUL C. February 28, 2012 at 12:38 PM
So Scott, Mark, Michelle etc are you all implyng that 2 members of the Republican party (one we know for sure is because she doesn't hide it or misrepresent what she is) in a race for Illinois State Rep should just play nice always. What dream world are you all living in? Battles for positions between candidates all over America by Democrats, Republicans and Independants are occuring as I type this! What happen last Tuesday in the Downers Grove city council could have happened in a Democrat controlled town in Cook County and well may be happening right now. It's politics and politics in any party aren't all peaches and cream. Would it have been better if Ron Sandack just walked right in from his appointed senator's position and ran uncontested for this very important right to represent us in this district as our next Illinois State Representative? Political races give us a choice and opportunity to compare and contrast candidates on what they stand for, what their plans are and their voting records in the past. Calling these council members out on the carpet is good for the people of DG and the District. Sweeping it under the table is not Transparency at work and that is what candidate, Senator Sandack promised as he was elected our mayor in 2007. As a resident of this town, I think keeping one's promise is important.
Jeffrey Crane February 28, 2012 at 12:48 PM
Exactly, these people work in the background, if they even exist, instead of coming forth and publicly pronouncing their position. Can you say irrelevant? Feel free to voice your opinion at the next council meeting and be counted.
Jeffrey Crane February 28, 2012 at 12:50 PM
Quote for quote: http://www.dggab.com/content.php?475-Council-Members-React-to-Flip-Flop-Politics
PAUL C. February 28, 2012 at 01:09 PM
Jeff that link says it all and IS WHAT THEY SAID! It's easy to say "this stuff happened in the past...so what" Didn't then Mayor Sandack say when running and elected in 2007 that he was a promoter of transparency and change. So I as a citizen of Downers Grove want Transparency in regards to this NOT SO INSIGNIFICIENT display of politics in our council. If Mark Thoman was a supporter of Ron Sandack, these 4 would welcomed him with open arms. Fact is that since he is a supporter of Debbie Boyle, he was shown the door. This is crystal clear and transparent in my eyes and anyone who can see and comprehend the time line of events. What the residents need to know us the truth because in my eyes as an observant citizen of Downers Grove, a power move was made and for one reason.
Scott C. February 28, 2012 at 01:50 PM
Paul...yet again you prove my point of your and Jeff's incessantly rabid obsession with the Ron/Debbie race. This article, and my comment, is about the Village Council. Dimwit.
William Vollrath February 28, 2012 at 02:43 PM
Anyone wanting to know Mark's current opinion of Ron Sandack's activities, including those directed at Mark, would be well served to ask Mark rather than pay any attention to Lisa's dated and flawed analysis.
PAUL C. February 28, 2012 at 02:56 PM
Scott, All 4 council members are products of the Sandack and are supporting his candidacy for illinois State rep and Mark Thoman is supporting Debbie Boyle. That is not rabid obsession but mere facts that are a part of the puzzle. Thank You.
Joseph Sharp February 28, 2012 at 03:17 PM
Scott C, You are usually a breath a fresh air on here. I don't recall you name calling in the past. Either way, Paul C brings up valid points. Do you agree with anything he says regarding THIS MATTER? I would hope that you could at least see the possible correlation within the council. I am not super familiar with this town yet but even I am questioning the motives and behavior of some of the council members.
Scott C. February 28, 2012 at 04:41 PM
Yes, Paul and Joseph, I get it. No, I have never called a name before. But it is indeed dimwitted to attempt to extrapolate - at every turn - that one issue necessarily has to do with and therefore must be applied to the other, which is precisely what Paul did in the post to which I was responding. I understand completely the political divisions involved - and see that they fall upon the same lines as the Sandack v. Boyle election. But I am as entitled as anyone here to make an observation solely related to the Council behaving badly (which I think it clearly is - "justifications" notwithstanding). I'm also able to point out that (I believe) they are all of the same party, which, as a nonpartisan, I find remarkable. More an observation on that issue than anything else. Lets be clear - it was Paul's post that, in its first sentence, attempted to apply my post (and others) to they Boyle/Sandack race, when it was intended solely to apply to the Council's behavior regarding the Thoman appointment. Sure, I get the parallels of political allegiances on the Board matter and the Sandack/Boyle race. That doesn't mean this discussion or my post has to immediately be applied to it.
Kent Frederick February 28, 2012 at 04:49 PM
Let's say for the sake of argument that that there is a legitimate reason that Mr. Thoman shouldn't serve on the Environmental Concerns Committee. No one has said what that concern is. U.S. Senators will explain fully why they voted against the confirmation of a nominee for the Supreme Court or a Cabinet position. So, why shouldn't Village Commissioners explain to the voters why someone, who Mayor Tully believes is qualified to serve on a commission or board, doesn't belong? When Commissioners won't explain themselves, the voters are going to draw their own conclusions. Knowing that Mr. Thoman is supporting Deb Boyle, and that Commissioners Barnett, Durkin, Neustadt, and Rheintgen are allies of Ron Sandack, the logical conclusion is that they blocked the appointment solely for political reasons. I know a number of DG residents who don't like the machine-style politicsin Chicago and Cook County. Yet, people have had the impression that politics in DG have become more and more like Chicago, since the end of Betty Cheever's tenure as Mayor. Even though I lived in suburban Cook County for nearly 35 years, village boards and school boards didn't get wrapped up in partisan politics. Partisan politicians (members of the General Assembly, Cook County board members, and party leaders) didn't offer endorsements, and people didn't use a village board as a stepping stone to higher office. We could use more of that attitude in Downers Grove.
Jeffrey Crane February 28, 2012 at 04:57 PM
Kent from your mouth to gods ears. You stated it extremely well. Thank you.
PAUL C. February 28, 2012 at 05:04 PM
Kent you are right on point here! What happened last Tuesday is exactly what our ex-mayor Ron Sandack promised in his Time for Change campaign in 2007. It's a shame the 4 on the council of which 3 served with him had to revert to cook county style politics in regards to the Mark Thoman appointment. Maybe again they thought they'd all fly under the radar.
PAUL C. February 28, 2012 at 05:05 PM
I meant to say is what Ron Sandack promised would'nt happen!
Bye Waldack February 28, 2012 at 06:13 PM
I really don't have time to go into details. But, I will throw this out a few teasers to a future lengthy post. But, where is the outrage over Waldack? For too long Waldack has gotten a free pass. Old Teflon Bill "pretends" that the last minute removal of the nomination from the agenda was a surprise. Yet, didn't anybody else find it funny that Bill already had another one of his lengthy prewritten statements all cued up on his lap top? Bill continues to nominate people simply to rattle the chains of those who have not supported Meals on Wheels in the past. He is a one issue commissioner. Nominating someone for a board should not be based on running for village council on the Meals on Wheels platform. Case in point, the nomination of Greg Hose to the Plan Commission. An attorney whos law firm represents unions. A former intern to a Congresswoman. Waldack is only padding Hose's political resume. Waldack is not nominating the most qualified to serve the village. I know of several others with far more experience than Mr. Hose who applied for that board position who were passed over. I'm thinking about starting a new blog called "DGBlab" dedicated to picking apart Bill Waldack's record.
PAUL C. February 28, 2012 at 06:31 PM
Thomas we need details so maybe you need to make time to give them. It's good that you came off the sidelines as I am sure Bob and Ron have had enough of all this council talk! Please be transparent Thomas. Have they given you a script on how to address the Thoman issue or did you just get back from vacation?
Ralph "Cash" Beardsley February 28, 2012 at 07:18 PM
As a non-DG resident this strikes me as either a selective recruitment process by these 4 Commissioners or simply small-time pettiness. Since these kind of Commissions are purely advisory and have no real power anyway it just appears to be really silly. Things like this certainly are not confined to Downers! After 6+ years of solid service on a Commission in Darien I was tossed by the current mayor for no reason other than personal/political dislike.
Greg Hose February 28, 2012 at 08:37 PM
Spartan on Spartan violence and I don't even get a courtesy Go Green? (I understand Mr. Cawthorne, like me, is a graduate of Michigan State University.) A correction to the record is necessary. Commissioner Schnell is the liaison to the Plan Commission, not Commissioner Waldack. As for the other candidates for the Plan Commission, I cannot speak to their qualifications. I can speak to the fact that my appointment was approved without incident. I am grateful to the Mayor and Village Council for placing their trust in me. I have served, and will continue to serve, the Village of Downers Grove to the best of my ability on the Plan Commission. I see that among the things you learned while studying at our alma mater was how to selectively quote, in this case from my resume. The issue of Mark Thoman's appointment to the Environmental Concerns Commission and the actions taken relative to it by village commissioners collectively and/or individually in no way involves my resume. As they say in the legal world, it speaks for itself. I see no reason to hash my accomplishments out with you on Patch, Mr. Cawthorne.
PAUL C. February 28, 2012 at 08:43 PM
Well said Greg and the diversion Thomas is trying to use can be deposited in the waste can.
Ron Burgandy February 28, 2012 at 09:27 PM
Lisa, Mr. Barnett forced you to give up your chair postion on the HSC and you still support him. Wow.
Ron Burgandy February 28, 2012 at 09:28 PM
Democrats always take the higher ground...Not.
Ron Burgandy February 28, 2012 at 09:30 PM
I agree let's hold these elected officials feet to the fire. You wanted this job now do it.
PAUL C. February 28, 2012 at 09:31 PM
Ron....I just fell off my chair laughing. I was thinking of Jane Byrne, young Richie Daley and Harold Washington along with slick Eddie V. Now that was drama!
Ron Burgandy February 28, 2012 at 09:37 PM
Mr. Cawthorne, Didn't the current council(-Becky) vote against extending liquor sales and thus your business venture failed? So are giving this group a free pass for the way you were treated? I find it funny how they extended the liquor sales law after your club went under...funny how they work thier magic.
John Schofield February 28, 2012 at 10:14 PM
As Mayor Tully replied to your query on February 24th on FaceBook: "First, the council member who recommends an appointment often makes comments on the proposed appointee at the time of the vote. So, it was natural that Bill would have had some prepared comments in-hand. Second, as mentioned, the consensus was disintegrating over the weekend and the Monday before the 2/21/12 meeting. So, since Bill had recommended Mark, I gave him a heads-up on Tuesday morning that it was possible his proposed appointee might not have four votes, but I did not know for sure yet. Simple as that." Why drag out the same accusation again, after you've already received an authoritative answer?
Dan F. February 29, 2012 at 04:30 AM
"Case in point, the nomination of Greg Hose to the Plan Commission. An attorney whos law firm represents unions." I agree with Mr. Cawthorne. No place for union lawyers running DG.

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