Council Commissioner Rhientgen springs personal attack on me at Council meeting

At the 5/8 Village Council meeting, Commissioner Rhientgen felt it imperative to personally insult me and her fellow Commissioner Waldack, possibly violate Council rules, and play the victim? 

The fun starts at about 47:24 of the meeting video here. 

First, playing the victim.

Offer some supporting evidence when you say someone is saying mean things about you, Commissioner Rhientgen, and don’t slam someone else in the same breath. And don’t blindside a resident and your fellow Council Commissioner when you do it.

Second, the Muni Code violation.

Section 2.5. Council rules.
The following rules shall govern the deliberations and proceedings of all Council meetings:

Rule 9. Presentation of Communications. When a member wishes to present a communication or other matter to be placed on file, he/she shall send it to the Mayor, or at the Mayor’s discretion, the Village Clerk, who shall either read such matter when reached in its proper order, or shall describe its content in a manner sufficient for it to be identified, prior to its being placed on file.

Proper handling? As part of the public record, does Rule 9 have any relevance? It describes a process for a Council Commissioner to place communiques like this prepared statement in the meeting file. Commissioner Rhientgen asks Mayor Tully, who can accept it or ask her to send it to the Village Clerk. She could request Mayor Tully allow her to read it, or Mayor Tully could simply acknowledge receiving the communication at some point during the meeting, as per Rule 9. She had an entire month to put this attack together and present it during Council comments at the proper time. She chose not to, but to bring it up after Mayor Tully had concluded the Council caused fiasco by appointing another well qualified candidate. At no time dod Mayor Tully cut her off for not following the rules.

Clearly this was written ahead of time, as she read it from her computer. Surely she understood this was a communication. Clearly Commissioner Waldack had no idea this was coming. And clearly it was a week late, as the appointment had been made and approved the week before. Another example of ignored process, of ignoring Council rules.

When does it stop?

Third, the assertion I was named by Commissioner Waldack because I am a supporter, that I am not qualified, and that Commissioner Waldack intentionally bypassed a better qualified candidate.

I do support Commissioner Waldack. He seems the last one up there that truly understands that a community is the aggregate of the people, not just the things that are here.

These are a few of the things I’ve been involved with that led Commissioner Waldack’s selecting me to participate on the Environmental Concerns Commission:

  1. I led the fight to keep the Environmental Protection Act intact in Downers Grove in 2007-2008 over the placement of a construction and demolition debris facility next to Cameo Condos. Morton Arboretum joined me in that fight. Commissioner Barnett specifically cited that as one reason he doesn’t think much of me.
  2. I worked directly with the Village’s Mary Scalzetti (then Community Events Director) to help make the first rain barrel sale a success far beyond expectations. I worked to draw in participation of many groups and organizations to spread the word, and to man the event with volunteers.
  3. I worked for several years to change sidewalk construction, from destroying mature trees to preserving them. I attended sidewalk meetings as an advocate of both the neighborhoods and the trees. Former PW Director Robin Weaver was a tremendous help recognizing the need to protect mature trees. The Village now does a much better job, as exemplified by this years sidewalk meetings.
  4. As a member of the Pierce Downers Heritage Alliance, I pick up garbage four times a year along Highland Avenue from 31st to 39th Street.
  5. I served on the Ad Hoc Committee that updated the Village’s Comprehensive Plan. I worked to make sure environmental best management practices were explicitly present where applicable, including stormwater, tree canopy, and redevelopment standards.
  6. I have volunteered and served at every Annual Recycling Spectacular event.

Which one of those was so offensive Commissioners Neustadt, Rhientgen, and Durkin pulled their support a month after Mayor Tully clearly had their vote for my appointment? Perhaps they need to explain who changed their minds? Because this is not about me, it’s about four Commissioners.

Mayor Tully already laid out the correct time line of events, and already slapped away Commissioner Barnett’s attempts to change “the facts” to make it seem like it was someone else’s fault. You can read that whole time line here on a FaceBook posting. This is just the latest attempt to make it about something or someone other than the four Council Commissioners…who it is about.

Why are they weaseling.

The Gang of Four have been caught out in public doing what they’ve been doing for quite a while.

  • Explain how the first choice for the Plan Commission vacancy never came to a vote.
  • Explain how the second choice (me) for the Plan Commission vacancy never came to a vote.
  • Explain the delay in appointments to the Stormwater Oversight Committee that made it almost impossible for them to hold meetings with a quorum.
  • Explain the delay appointing the Ad Hoc Comprehensive Plan Committee.
  • Explain how members of the Human Services Commission were denied the opportunity to continue to serve the community.
  • Explain who it was that caused you to change your consent for the ECC the very last weekend, after the nomination became public

All of this once again brought to you by Downers Grove Community Advocates endorsed political candidates.

As for me, I will continue to volunteer where I can to help make Downers Grove the great community I have chosen to live in since 1982.

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