Some time ago, we covered several complaints against the Village Manager.  One of them was a complaint from former HR Director Linda Mogren.  In case my readers have forgotten, you can see the investigation materials here.  INVESTIGATION.  Through our anonymous tip and contact form, we received information that 2 things (that we didn’t already know) may be astray with this.  First, we were told that Community Development Director Marc Huber requested an indemnification from the Village Manager for his role in investigating Linda Mogren on the Manager’s order, and that he was issued that letter.  (Anyone else wonder why the Manager would tap a colleague of Mogren’s to investigate her?)  The Second being a tip that the Disciplinary Document referred to in the investigation.pdf file was forged by the Manager to bolster his claim against her.

While the Village has refused to release a redacted copy of the Disciplinary Document so that we could verify the signature against what the Village has already released with her Severance Agreement (which is now a subject of review by the Attorney General’s office), they have released the Indemnification from Manager Rooney to Marc Huber.  Here it is:

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First, was this indemnification authorized by vote of the Village Board?  After all, if Mr. Huber is sued personally and loses, his legal bills and awards could be significant, and expenditures must be approved.  Looking back through every agenda/meeting minutes, there are NO minutes pertaining to this issue, or that a vote was taken to authorize this potential costly document in opening meeting.  Did the Village Manager just do this without authorization?  Personally, if the Manager wants to offer his own assets to cover Mr. Huber, that’s his choice, but I for one take real issue with using taxpayer money to cover something that shouldn’t be covered.  Second, and more important, if Mr. Huber conducted his investigation in accordance with Village Policy and Procedures, openly, fairly and honestly, why would he need an indemnification if he hadn’t done anything wrong?  I’m not a lawyer, but it seems to me that if he’s acting on the Village’s behalf and within his scope of authority, I don’t see how he could have been sued individually.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is why I talk about this – it’s our money, our board.  At what point do you, my fellow citizens feel we’ve spent too much on one employee?  We have a well respected City Manager sitting in the Assistant’s chair – why do we keep paying for a bully to be at the helm when we have someone of greater value and integrity right there?  Some have asked me why this is an issue that I address.  Well – this issue is the most clear example of what is wrong with Carpentersville.  Some argue I have an axe to grind.  I’ll concede that I feel very strongly about this issue.  NO employee, from the top to the bottom should be allowed to conduct themselves this way.  I’m not, my co-workers are not, and it’s detrimental to the Village.  All employees should treat the public with the utmost professionalism no matter the insult, and every employee should feel safe at work.  To allow otherwise invites a free-for-all and endless settlements and lawsuits.  Parks and Trees are nice to look at, but aren’t nearly as strong as word of mouth in terms of image.  When you have a Village Manager that openly Bullies members of the public – that generates talk, when employees are treated in the same manner – they talk.  When businesses are treated poorly – they talk.  When other towns are to the point of pulling the fire department off their aid lists because we keep refusing to aid them due to manpower – that’s talk.  When gangs and public safety are a problem – that’s talk.  And all of those are examples of CURRENT negative talk about our town and that reflects the negative image of our town.  It eclipses any good news.  In order to improve the image of Carpentersville that has been languishing for many years, we need to get our house fixed first.

Look, the accomplishment that our Trustees talk about all the time is the finances.  “We finally have our fiscal house in order.”  “We got a GAO award this year for the first time ever.”  “Our bond rating is great now!”  I guess I just want to get this straight … proper finances, proper audit preparation and paying Village bills on time – aren’t those things that a Village has ALWAYS supposed to have been doing?  That’s like your kid looking at you and saying “I did my homework tonight, aren’t you going to congratulate me?”  NO.  An accomplishment is something you get for going above and beyond – not for completing something you were always supposed to do, but didn’t, and finally got around to it.  All that proves is that for years we’ve chosen poorly as voters.  An accomplishment would be having more businesses looking to move into your town than you have spaces available, or the prevention of say, 100 foreclosures.  These things our Trustees talk about – it’s asking for you to recognize that the Village is finally doing what it’s supposed to and congratulate them for it.  Sorry – we CAN do way better than that.  The reason why it’s taken so long – our foundation is crumbling faster than we can keep up with it.

rottenSillBThink of it this way – if the foundation is crumbling, you don’t keep building on top of it as we’ve tried to do for years.  You need to fix the foundation before you can make the rest of the structure strong and vibrant.  Our foundation in Carpentersville has been crumbling for years, and the process has been rapidly accelerated over the last few.  We desperately need new management, we need new rules, we need new ordinances, we need to fill empty homes and stores, and we need to ensure that safety is the mission of the Village.  In short, we need new Trustees and a new Village President (preferably one who hasn’t lied to the public about a candidate when he shouldn’t have said anything at all…)  Without those fundamental changes, any steps we take will be like building on top of a crumbling foundation.  Eventually, the whole thing will come crashing down.