How much longer do we have to stand for a Village Board that cannot seem to keep the Village from getting sued and other legal problems?!
Readers may recall the decision of the Carpentersville Village Board earlier this year to pull funding for the Ride-In-Kane program, that provides transportation to disabled and senior residents.
This past weekend, an editorial published in the Courier-News asked Carpentersville to reconsider. The letter makes an important point about the decision of the Carpentersville Village Board to put this important program at risk, but there are a few things that need to be clarified for “firstname.lastname@example.org” that will hopefully provide some perspective to him and others.
To be fair, Ed Ritter was not village president when the RIK funding was cut, but he wouldn’t return my calls, either.
While it is true that “Ed Ritter was not village president” at the time the funding was cut, he was a significant part of the cut. He was a member of the Audit & Finance Commission that recommended the cut, and he voted with Kay Teeter, Judy Sigwalt and Paul Humpfer for cutting the funding. In fact, of the present Board members, only Keith Hinz voted to provide the funding to Ride In Kane.
So, its not surprising that neither he nor Paul Humpfer returned “jeffwardsun’s” phone calls. They lack accountability … and feel no need to serve anyone but themselves.
In March, [Township Supervisor Sue] Harney went before the village board to plead RIK’s case. She told me the trustees were “very hostile” and Trustee Paul Humpfer was especially “ruthless.” Humpfer berated Harney and the township specifically for using a modified cash basis accounting system when, as it turns out, the village does the same thing.
Others will find it interesting that, in that exchange, Humpfer — chair of the Audit & Finance Commission — did not even understand that the Village was on the cash basis system. And he was criticizing Harney?! The Village’s mismanagement of funds is well known, and became infamous several years ago when the Village failed 4 consecutive audits. Humpfer gets credit for “fixing” this, but how can we believe a guy who doesn’t even understand the Village’s accounting system fixed problems? The answer … we can’t and don’t.
But, to the matter at hand, the Board will not go back and reconsider this because the majority of the Board was responsible for pulling the cash in the first place. They’re too busy for that anyway … changing laws to allow alcohol in the park for a music fest (when several years ago at least one member of the current Board said that ice cream trucks selling treats to kids were dangerous, and the current Board thought it was a problem to have a few small buses be able to park in driveways overnight).
Village Trustees expressed unanimous support for an Aug 29-30 music festival to be held in Carpenter Park, complete with family friendly activities … including a Beer Garden.
One hitch. The current Village Code does not allow alcohol to be sold or consumed in the park (on any village property, in fact) unless sponsored by the Village, religious organization or non-profit.
No problem … President Ritter and Trustee Humpfer suggested the Code be changed to remove any impediment to the scheduled partying and drunken good times in the Park.
Oh … but you bus drivers who wanted to help save taxpayers some money — especially during this recession — tough luck! The Board won’t do anything for you.
Last month I sent you a message asking whether I had your permission to raise the income tax either with or without property tax relief.
Having sent out over 5000 e-mails I’m happy to report nearly 500 of you responded. Thanks to all who had the courage to step up and be counted on such an important issue.
Now for the results: A clear majority, upwards of 61%, desired property tax relief even if they thought they would pay a higher income tax. Predictably, state workers and teachers – whose responses I did not include, were overwhelmingly in support of the income tax increase under either scenario. Their votes not withstanding there seems to be widespread support in the district for tax reform namely property tax relief.
As I stated in my earlier message, and have always maintained, before we look to increase taxes, the General Assembly must first consider spending cuts and property tax relief.
On May 30th the Illinois Senate passed HB 174, a balanced budget solution providing long awaited tax reform. Under the plan, as promised, we first made$2 billion in responsible, well-reasoned, cuts accompanied by a doubling of the property tax credit from 5% to 10%. This will provide $700 million in property tax relief to the people of Illinois. In addition, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) was tripled from 5% to 15% of the federal EITC and the standard state income tax exemption was increased from $2,000 to $3,000. Furthermore, the Senate doubled the education expense credit from $500 to $1000. This is real tax relief for those needing it most!
Perhaps you’ve heard that the governor wants the General Assembly to return to Springfield to pass a budget he can sign. Please know this: The Senate has already passed a balanced budget solution – one that not only provides for our short-term needs but achieves true long-term budget stability. It is now up to the House of Representatives to do the same. Please call your State Representatives and ask them to call House Bill 174 and to vote ‘yes’ for meaningful tax relief and reform.
Senator Michael Noland
Illinois’ 22nd District
For about four months, bus drivers in Carpentersville have patiently waited an answer from the Village Board as to whether they could park their buses at their homes between routes.
On Tuesday night, the Village Board said “no”, instead opting only for a change in the ordinance that would increase the allowable GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating) for vehicles parked in residential neighborhoods.
The amendment now allows for vehicles having a GVWR of up to 10,000 lbs to be parked overnight in residents’ driveways. However, vehicles with a GVWR between 8,001 and 10,000 lbs will require a higher priced Village sticker.
According to the Courier News, Village Attorney Jim Rhodes presented six options to the Board for consideration, including one to allow bus drivers to park their vehicles at their homes. But, according to the Courier, the Board rejected that option primarily because “area school districts vetoed that option last month because of insurance liability”.
So, that wraps up the majority of what has consumed the Board for the last several months.
I do want to give some kudos to the Village for moving quickly to do some surface improvements along Huntley Rd. It was horrible and a real embarrassment.
As regular readers know, and new visitors can see, I’ve been very critical of the way members of the Board have conducted themselves over the past several years. But I’d like to draw a distinction between criticism of behavior or action and the presentation of feedback, input or commentary on issues.
I feel that the Board needs to seek out, and actually consider, input, advice and opinions from a wider base of the community and experts on the matters. And, they should be open to accepting such input even from those who are critical of actions they have taken in the past.
This seems to be something that at least some members of the Board have thus far been unwilling to do, and has been most recently evident in the discussion of amending the parking ordinance for buses and large personal vehicles.
A recent decision by President Ritter Ed to no longer allow public comment during Board discussion of ordinances and other actions creates a situation where the Board could take action on a matter without the public being able to weigh in with specific information – whether opinions or from experts.
It seems to be a means to stifle public input into issues of concern to the community. Unfortunately, a prevalent philosophy of some Board members is to ignore — and often, in turn, criticize — those members of the community.
Board members should expect criticism from members of the community if they take actions that are seen as problematic; especially if such Board members are initiators or champions of a particular issue. Likewise, residents should be encouraged to voice such criticisms without fear of being cut off from the dialog.
Now, some have considered my criticisms to be be “personal”. But, as I said in a comment recently on this blog, they are not “personal” at all. But, they are distinct from being input or feedback. Instead, the nature of those comments are specifically aimed at actions engaged in which are illegal, unethical and/or complicit with such behavior. Such actions by elected officials deserve no mercy or “constructive criticism” because engaging in them undermines the rights of members of the community or society.
As I said at the start, these two types of criticisms are of different and distinct natures, and both serve a purpose — both ultimately seek to serve the community in different ways. Allowing input into, and hearing criticism of, issues and legislation from experts and members of the community helps elected officials serve better. Denouncing illegal, unethical and corrupt behavior engaged in by elected officials helps the community be better informed, so they may choose officials that respect them (and remove officials that don’t).
A few comments throughout the last nearly 2 years have assumed that the objections I’ve raised to various elected officials’ behavior is “just politics” and a result of personal feelings against these people. That is simply not the case. I, like most of you, are concerned about the image and reputation that Carpentersville has. And, to have illegal, unethical and other questionable behavior engaged in by our elected officials does more damage than other crime, vacant homes or code violations. The Village is a “laughing stock”, as some have said, not simply because of antics of one person, but moreso because the People of Carpentersville continue to elect these types of officials time and time again.
On May 5th, newly elected members of the Village Board were sworn into office. All but one have a history with Village government that will be a tarnished coating over this town’s image as long as they remain. Let’s take a look at five of the seven members of the Board that will be there for at least the next 2 – 4 years:
- Convicted of domestic battery with a weapon; March 2008
- Violated Illinois Open Meetings Act; October 2006
- Violated Village requirements, for up to a year, by using meeting rooms for an unauthorized use; ended by Village Manager, January 2008
- Lived in Hammond, Indiana; June 2007 – October 2008
- Appointed to a Trustee position after doing “free” work on Village finances; 2004
- Appointed to a Trustee position after losing 2005 election; April 2005
Additionally, at a Board meeting about 1 month ago, Paul Humpfer appeared to not even know which financial accounting basis was used. He argued with President Sarto that the Village was not on “cash basis” accounting. Sarto then asked Finance Director Happ, who confirmed the Village used “cash basis” accounting. How is it that Humpfer supposedly “fixed” the finances when he seems to lack such rudimentary knowledge?
- Violated Illinois Open Meetings Act; October 2006
- Violated Village requirements, for up to a year, by using meeting rooms for an unauthorized use; ended by Village Manager, January 2008
- Conspired to disrupt the ability to conduct Village business; September 2006 – March 2009
- Voted to keep convicted criminal, Paul Humpfer, as a member of the Board; March 2008
- Used the Carpentersville Improvement Commitee project(s) for campaign; August 2008
- Voted to change rules to protect allies and friends on the Board; April 2008
- Allowed Village Committee to be used for campaign purposes; August 2008 – March 2009
- Was complicit in several of the above actions of Judy Sigwalt and Paul Humpfer, and voted in a manner that did not seek to see these actions punished or remedied.
- Was complicit in several of the above actions of Judy Sigwalt and Paul Humpfer, and voted in a manner that did not seek to see these actions punished or remedied.
- May have been present with Sigwalt and Humpfer during at least 1 meeting that would have triggered a violation of the Illinois Open Meetings Act.
- Violated Illinois Open Meetings Act, October 2006
- Was complicit, as Chairman of the Carpentersville Improvement Committee, in allowing Judy Sigwalt to use committee project(s) for campaign and personal purposes; August 2008 – October 2008
Time will tell about new comer Brad McFeggan’s role in the new Board’s agenda.
To weigh in on this matter of the ordinance prohibiting vehicles in excess of 8,000lbs from being owned and parked at residences in the Village (which have been debated in the comments of the “Ritter/challenge” entry), I have to say that I find that there are matters that the existing ordinance addresses that are important to the maintenance and safety of the community and its residents. That said, I also find that there are cases where the existing ordinance unknowingly, unintentionally or unwittingly prohibits passenger vehicles from being owned and stored at residences in the Village. Additionally, ordinances should take into account the sizable population of working class citizens who are residents of the Village.
I think it is good that the Board has asked for a revised ordinance to address these matters, and also provide exclusions that would allow certain buses to be parked at residences, which also are of benefit to the community.
So, those two things are good.
What I find disheartening, however, is that some members of the Board — Trustee Sigwalt, in particular — are using this ordinance in a discriminatory manner; specifically to harass a business owner in the Village, and perhaps others, as a matter of politics. I believe that it establishes a dangerous precedent — with evidence that it was long established, and is now commonplace — that damages the image and credibility of the Board, the Community Development Division (specifically code enforcement officers), and also the reputation of the Village itself.
Steps may be taken by those involved to ensure that such commentary and prejudices do not “leak” to the public in the future, however, that is no assurance of protection against such.
Again, this is another case where there must be a show of good faith on the part of the government, that it will listen to the people when they bring objections; and that they will be properly addressed. The passage of exceptions granted for non-commercial vehicles, and certain school buses is a start to demonstration of that commitment.
The Daily Herald sat down to talk to Ed Ritter about his plans and intentions as the newly elected Village President of Carpentersville.
In answer to a question about how his leadership style will be different, Ritter responded, in part:
[T]o be much more inclusive of the trustees. There were a lot of issues and decisions that we never heard about or never knew about. It was very frustrating. I am still learning about things that Bill made decisions on that we never knew about. Negotiations that were going on that none of us knew about.
So, how will Ritter handle “negotiations … going on that none of [them] knew about”? Here is a fresh challenge to see if Ritter will make good on his promise…
At Tuesday’s upcoming meeting, the current Village Board will be discussing whether to revise the Municipal Code allowing school buses to be parked overnight at residences. Setting aside the discussion of the actual issue for a moment, it seems that there have been some negotiations taking place.
Despite this being an issue the current Village Board is considering and will likely decide at the meeting on April 21, Judy Sigwalt did not inform Bill Sarto and Linda Ramirez Sliwinski of the outside discussions taking place, or include them on the email that appears in the correlated posting.
How will Ed Ritter handle this first test? Will he call out Judy Sigwalt the way he has Bill Sarto? (Yes, Ritter has made complaints at Village Board meetings about not having been informed.)
Or, will Ritter handle this situation with quiet acceptance the way he did with Humpfer’s domestic battery convication, violations of the Open Meetings Act, and other deceptions and unethical behavior by his allies?
In order for Ritter to do what he says he will do — “set a new course for Carpentersville” — he is going to have to stop this type of behavior. I would love for Ritter to surprise me and actually take on Judy Sigwalt and tell her that she was wrong for not including Sarto and Ramirez-Sliwinski. Unfortunately, I don’t think he will. And the pattern of double standards and backroom negotiations and corruption will continue to be “respected” in Carpentersville.
See the post below “Sigwalt’s exclusionary email” for the email mentioned above.
From: JUDY SIGWALT [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Thursday, April 16, 2009 8:34 PM
To: Cindy McCammack ; Craig Anderson ; E Ritter ; K Teeter ; PatS ; paul humpfer; [Paul Lanspa]
Subject: school bus drivers
Hi All, I just got a call from Paul Lanspa about the PCZ meeting. I’m relaying what he said at his request. Paul Lanspa asked if he should contact Craig Anderson . I suggested he should so Craig is not blindsided.
The school bus drivers showed up at the PZC meeting with protest signs in a pile and said a lawyer contacted them (the bus drivers) this week about their problem with parking their buses in the village. The bus drivers said they would be at our Tuesday board meeting.
It is Paul Lanspas thought, if they get a lawyer Krenz or Roeser will pay for it. Paul Lanspa said every time the bus drivers came before them Krenz was in attendance with them. Paul Lanspa believes it is because Krenz was parking his Amy plumbing trucks frequently in their subdivision of Spring Acre Hills. When he was told by the SAH/HOA he could not do this and they put a stop to it, Paul Lanspa said Krenz became very indignant and said he was doing some plumbing at his Mothers house.
Paul Lanspa believes Krenz has a stake in this issue as he wants to park his commercial vehicles in the subdivision. Paul Lanspa said he’s not opposed to granting a variance to the bus drivers as long as there’s a strong exclusion on all other commercial vehicles as we all are trying to improve the looks of our village.
Please email Keith and Brad for me. If you have any questions of Paul Lanspa his email is [redacted]. feel free to contact him. The PCZ continued the agenda item.
Take Care Judy
“What now” is a good question. The answer to it remains to be seen once the new Board takes over May 5, 2009.
This blog will continue to provide news and information to the community. How and what this blog reports will be up to the members of the Village Board.
The faction that accused Sarto of being the lone cause of problems the last 4 years now has complete control. They should be able to do anything and everything that they promised in their campaigns — both this past election, and the one in 2007. There will be no one to blame but themselves. (But, there were some things that they promised in their campaigns, and some things that they’ve done already, that could be problematic for those of us in the community.)
I will continue keeping an eye on things. That’s been my point all along. It wasn’t simply about the election. It was about alerting the public to things that were happening with Village government. That will not change merely because an election has passed.
Ed Ritter has said that he is “an independent thinker” who chose to run with a team of “independent thinkers”.
Time will tell whether that holds true for Ritter, Teeter, Schultz and McFeggan. It is a status that will have to be earned. If past performance is indicative of future action, none of these will ever be considered an “independent thinker”. During the past several years, Ritter, Teeter and Schultz have been in lockstep behind Sigwalt and Humpfer — defending everything from Humpfer’s domestic battery conviction to violation(s) of the Open Meetings Act to use of Village property that they were required to pay to use and misleading Village staff about what they were doing during those meetings. Not to mention missteps of their own.
Things may get very interesting. Or, it will be very dull … where they will keep discussions of policy decisions out of the public eye, and will have all their decisions already made in advance of the meetings.
As I said, time will tell. But, this blog will seek to keep the public informed.
It is a job that cannot be done without the help of the community. Therefore, I encourage you … if you see something that doesn’t seem quite right, if you hear something that you think needs to be followed up on … contact Carpentersville Action Network and help get the community involved.
Just the kind of “respect” and “class” that Sarto has had to deal with over the years from members of the Board. This was Sigwalt’s comments to Sarto after Tuesday’s election. You decide if she was not an antagonizer.
Buh, Bye! Judy
Some may have wondered at the comments being closed and turned off on past postings. (And I will delete comments in this and future posts that try to use it to address older ones.) I want to reassure you that I have not closed this blog, now that the election has passed.
On the contrary, I started this blog to report on the things that were not being reported in Carpentersville. To give a fuller story about who was behind the majority of the rancor and factiousness on the Board.
No, this blog is not shut down.
I am just preparing for a new chapter for this blog, and wanted to make a bit of a break from the old chapter.
This blog will still be used to report on what is happening in Carpentersville Village government. I invite people to check back starting next week to see and participate in the metamorphosis of Carpentersville Action Network.
I intend to have a posting or two up before the end of the week to wrap up the election and the newly elected Village Board.
Results of the Carpentersville Village elections for President and Trustee are in.
And your newly elected officials are:
Edward Ritter – President
Kay Teeter – Trustee
Patricia Schultz – Trustee
Bradford McFeggan – Trustee
They will join forces with Judy Sigwalt, Paul Humpfer and Keith Hinz in May.
Looks like we’ve taken a trip back in the time machine several years…
Today is the day that many of us have long awaited.
The chance for your vote to be your voice. The chance to send a message to those who have ignored the community in pursuit of their own self interests, and that of a privileged few.
You have been given the information, now is the time to see that it gets put to good use.
With Bill Sarto as Village President, and Trustee Linda Ramirez-Sliwinski also supporting the community, Carpentersville has been moved forward in the last 4 years.
Yes, there has been animosity and argument on the Board because those of the old political machine (Sigwalt, Ritter, Teeter, Humpfer) fought hard against that progress. Sarto and Sliwinski fought back … for the people of Carpentersville … to see that progress was made.
Today, go out and cast your vote, if you haven’t already, to support Sarto and Sliwinski and ensure that progress continues.
And, help them be able to work better and more effectively for the Village by also voting for two additional Trustees that will participate in those efforts: Ken Andresen, Joe Haimann and/or Debra Lowen (listed alphabetically by last name). Schultz and McFeggan are part of that old, factious, disruptive regime that must be thrown out of Carpentersville government for good.
Carpentersville can not afford to be held back any longer. Make sure the progress that Sarto and Sliwinski started can continue without the disruptions they have had to deal with and fight through during the past 4 years.
Some voting locations have been recently changed. You can go to the Kane County Elections website to see where you are supposed to vote, if you are unsure.
Four more days until we know who voters want to guide the Village of Carpentersville for the next 4 years. A letter in the Daily Herald today expresses support for Ritter, Teeter, Schultz and McFeggan. The only reason? Because they were not ever supported by the Roeser’s.
Yeah, I agree, it’s pretty thin — and not a good reason to vote for or against anyone. But, its typical because none of the Ritter, Teeter, Schultz, McFeggan supporters have been able to explain anything that those 4 have done for the Village. But they say we should vote for those 4? Why?!
What does anyone have against 4 more years of action and progress in this Village?
Sarto got the capital improvement program moving, and funded it without raising taxes. He has improved this Village IN SPITE of the antics and interference by these Board members.
Four years of Ritter, Teeter, Schultz and McFeggan is four years of the kind of foot dragging we had in the years before Sarto and Sliwinski got in. The roads and sidewalks are a good example. They were hemming and hawing for months about whether to do it and how to pay for it. Any talk was just for show, I’m sure, since they were already planning for Paul Humpfer to run for Village President. Like Judy and Paul started the illegal immigration talk; for the election.
When Humpfer ran, his resume was paper-thin – he needed to act like he was doing something. And the resumes of Ritter, Teeter, Schultz and McFeggan are paper-thin too. So, they used the Carpentersville Improvement Committee to establish their campaign–even campaigning while acting on behalf of the Village. (They attributed the CIC work to themselves -and the immigration group, not the Village committee.) We can’t afford to go back to a do-nothing era.
A week from today most voters — except those who took advantage of early voting options — will go to the polls to select candidates for local Village, Township and School District offices.
For the position of Village President of Carpentersville, there has been a lot of talk but history only shows action by one single candidate: Bill Sarto.
Sarto is the only candidate who has consistently done what is right for Carpentersville.
Continually looking the other way at crime, unethical behavior and other such abuses, Ed Ritter does not have the ability to do what is right for the people of Carpentersville. He has shown several times that he will shrink back in fear in the face of controversy — not to mention kowtow to Judy Sigwalt and Paul Humpfer.
Jim Krenz also has simply not been there when it has counted and this seems more like a consolation effort to his failed campaign vs Illinois State Representative Tim Schmitz last year.
Dealing with and removing those problematic elements from the Board will only come by the voice of the people in this and the next election — which can start by not electing Ritter and Trustee Kay Teeter.
In contrast, Sarto has shown effectiveness at minimizing the detrimental impact of the Sigwalt/Humpfer/Ritter/Teeter bloc on the Board.
This is recognized even at other levels of government who have asked Sarto to be part of several Board and Committees that have helped bring back money and services to Carpentersville.
Sarto has been good for Carpentersville, launching several efforts that had been sorely needed and requested by the community: fixing streets and sidewalks, bringing festivals and parades back to the Village (which some current Board members said couldn’t be done), and securing funding from county, state and federal grants that have allowed Carpentersville to hold the line on taxes. (By contrast, Ritter, Teeter, Sigwalt and Humpfer were responsible for losing funds for services in the Village.)
Ritter and Krenz only offer to make Village meetings more orderly; something Sarto was praised for actually doing early in his first term.
Carpentersville cannot afford to lose the progress that has been made under Sarto’s leadership in exchange for some promise of polite conversation. We need some one who will not only talk tough, but actually be tough on corruption and dishonesty in government.
Bill Sarto is the only candidate for Village President who will not only do what is right for the People of Carpentersville in the future, but has a proven track record of actually doing it.
Carpentersville has been, and will continue to be, well served by Bill Sarto as Village President.
[Update - 7:50am - Bill Sarto has a posting at his blog that explains more about the good things and progress he has made for the Village. Read it by going to About Carpentersville.]
Thank you for reading and supporting Carpentersville Action Network.
To keep you informed I wanted to let you know what your neighbors and those in and around town were most interested in reading about in the past 7 days:
- Using Village property for whatever suits them
- Endorsement is an insult to community
- Taxpayers paying for Ritter team campaign
- “Carpentersville Cares” supporters refer to African-Americans as monkeys
- Sarto recognized for town’s progress
- Attend hearing on tollway plan
- Voter Information
- Serious questions about Krenz “leadership
- “Remove Humpfer”
- “Cares” is a new name for an old group
Thanks again this week for the email requests and additional information. I’m still working on fact-checking some of those so check back for those posts to go up.
If you have news and information, something you heard that you’d like me to check out about our Village government, or have an idea to fix a problem, click on the link on the left side under “Contact the Network” to send me an email.
As always, have a great weekend.
Yesterday, I alerted readers to probable conflicts with the use of “Carpentersville Cares” as the campaign slogan of Ed Ritter, Kay Teeter, Pat Schultz and Brad McFeggan. The conflict is due to the phrase being established as a mark of service for official Village activities conducted by the Carpentersville Improvement Committee (CIC).
There has been a lot of interest in this particular issue as evidenced by the large number of hits on that article. So, today, I present more information about the CIC, and try to fill-in some of the missing pieces for fellow residents in the community about problematic issues with the CIC.
The idea for the CIC was hatched in mid-2007. When appointments were made to the committee in October 2007, Trustees Ritter, Teeter and Humpfer all tried to get Trustee Sigwalt appointed — so that the committee would comprise Sigwalt, Teeter, and Schultz, along with the 2 other resident members. Enough to establish the bloc that they needed to accomplish their goals, and which, now, seems to have been part of their plan from the start.
The intent of forming this group appears absolutely clear now — to establish this Committee and use it to achieve the agenda of a political group. Sigwalt, Ritter, Teeter, Humpfer, and Schultz appear to have all been complicit in this scheme. In fact, in meeting minutes recorded September 2, 2008, Ed Ritter was already referring to the CIC as the “Carpentersville Cares Committee” — a reference to the phrase now used in his campaign.
As was noted in a previous posting, this group has not come up with solutions for any of the problems which they were formed to address. Instead, they have merely used this group as an extension of the Fox Valley Citizens for Legal Immigration group that they established for the last election.
This is evidenced by Judy Sigwalt’s own admission that she was attributing this Committee’s work to the Fox Valley Citizens for Legal Immigration:
Trustee Sigwalt worked on the CIC project cleaning up yards and did wear her Fox Valley Citizens For Legal Immigration shirt. She distributed flyers to area residents who were aware of what the organization stood for. She discussed the positive feedback the volunteers received from the neighbors and the number of people that have asked for assistance from them.
[Source: Village Board Meeting Minutes, October 7, 2008]
In other words, Trustee Sigwalt was campaigning and politicking while she was supposed to be working as a volunteer on behalf of the Village of Carpentersville, under the direction of the CIC. It is probable that after discovery of Sigwalt and Humpfer having exploited their trustee positions to obtain the use of Village conference rooms for meetings held with the Fox Valley Citizens for Legal Immigration, they suggested the formation of the CIC in an attempt to legitimize any such usage in the future, so they could call it a “volunteer meeting”.
This also explains why greater efforts had not previously been made to involve more members of the community (and why some were even unaware of the existence of the Committee’s “clean-up days”.)
Simply outrageous!! Yet there is more…
The first signs that the CIC put up at the sites they were working on contained the logo/initials for Fox Valley Citizens (FVCLI). These signs were apparently paid for by FVCLI.
Why was a political special interest group like FVCLI allowed to pay for signage and other materials that were for an official Village committee?
After the Oct. 7 Village Board meeting that brought to light several legal and ethical problems with recent CIC activity — and potentially fearing that some may be on to their scheme — the CIC established rules that volunteers not wear clothing that advertised or said things that might be offensive to some. When told that these signs could not be placed on the property, Trustee Humpfer said he gave permission for the signs. (Paul Humpfer is not a member of the CIC, but is a founding member of FVCLI. Furthermore, he had no authority to allow this.)
At the Oct. 22 meeting of the CIC they were directed that state law and local zoning ordinance prohibited them from putting up any signs in the future at the sites they were landscaping.
Putting “Carpentersville Cares” signs in yards of abandoned house where the CIC has made improvements – This cannot be done.
(Cindy [McCammack] later checked and these or similar signs cannot be placed in any residentially zoned area with or without the consent of the property owner. To do so is a violation of the Zoning Ordinance)
And to think that the CIC was actually violating the very Codes that they were supposed to be raising awareness of!
Also at that meeting, “Carpentersville Cares” t-shirts were unveiled. According to published meeting minutes from previous meetings, nothing with this language had been discussed.
Shirts will have “Carpentersville Cares” on the front.
Shirts were white with red lettering.
“Improvement Committee” will be printed on the back
The “white with red lettering” matches the “Carpentersville Cares” campaign signage of Ritter, Teeter, Schultz and McFeggan. However, other members of the group requested the shirts have “Carpentersville Improvement Committee” and the Village logo on it, in neon with black lettering.
Why was the Chairperson of the Committee attempting to get shirts that would advertise a campaign slogan for her and other members of the slate she was to be a part of?
The CIC, like the Fox Valley Citizen for Legal Immigration before them, was created as a political group to try to get campaign support for this election.
Considering this information, and that Trustees Sigwalt, Humpfer, Ritter and Teeter — plus Schultz and members of the FVCLI — appear to be running this Committee, members of this group should be removed from the Carpentersville Improvement Committee immediately and should be required to pay back the taxpayers any materials and related costs. It should be paid back from donations to their political campaigns because, for all intents and purposes, this should be classified as campaign activity.
In fact, I would encourage other residents to contact the Kane County Clerk, Jack Cunningham, ( Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Address: 719 SOUTH BATAVIA AVENUE, P. O. BOX 70 GENEVA, IL 60134, Phone: 630/232-5990, Fax: 630/232-5870 ) and the Illinois State Board of Elections to investigate these matters as possible campaign violations by members of this group who engaged in election activity while working on behalf of the Village.
Or, you can do the next best thing and not vote for any of those involved. Say “no” to Ed Ritter, Kay Teeter, Pat Schultz and Brad McFeggan.
So, it is probably no great surprise that those who are part of their group — Ed Ritter, Kay Teeter, Pat Schultz and Brad McFeggan — decided to “borrow” a Village-sanctioned service mark to use as the label for their own political purposes.
The “Carpentersville Cares” slogan became a service mark of the Village of Carpentersville when it was made a brand associated with the Carpentersville Improvement Committee. This is something that Chairperson Pat Schultz — now running for Trustee — should have known and not allowed to be used as a campaign slogan because of the appearance of conflict of interest that it creates.
However, Patricia “Pat” Schultz has allowed other things that she should have known about and not have allowed — including violating Village zoning ordinances and Illinois state statues, when she and other volunteers did unsanctioned work on several properties in the Village while acting in the capacity of the Improvement Committee.
The team of Ritter, Teeter, Schultz and McFeggan seem to be not only foolhardy, but their lack of necessary knowledge and reckless behavior could prove to be downright dangerous for the Village of Carpentersville.
[Read Part 2: Taxpayers paying for Ritter team campaign? for even more information about how this Committee is engaged in campaign activity]