I was asked recently during an interview several questions which I wasn’t entirely prepared for, but never-the-less had an answer for, and these are questions that seem to be circulating, so I thought I’d write a post to give everyone the chance to hear the answer.
The first one was whether or not I was running because of a personal vendetta against the Village Manager. Basically, whether or not I was running specifically just to fire the Manager. While there should be no doubt that I believe that Manager Rooney is a large problem that exists in our town, that is not the primary reason why I am running. The question is not who is in the position, but what has that person done to make Carpentersville a better place, and the reality is – his tenure has been marked by increasing taxes, decreasing public safety, increasing employee complaints and investigations, thousands spent on attorneys, both for defense of his behaviors, but also because frankly he just isn’t able to work collaboratively with employees – and at contract time, that costs money. When employees feel as though they work in a hostile work environment – and make no mistake, they do, the only motivation for employees is money – and that ultimately who pays for that – we do. These are real, documented issues.
As a Village Resident when my money is used to fund an Administration that taxes and spends, behaves badly, recommends poor financial decisions (like a bloated expensive salt dome and fuel pump station, 1/2 million dollar remodel to Village Hall – all without bids) and makes poor public safety decisions, I take that personally. When I pay more and get less, I take it personally. I take it personally because it’s my family that it affects, it’s my extended family members (parents, brothers, sisters) that it affects, and it’s my friends and neighbors that it affects. A Vendetta requires revenge for something wronged. Vendetta and revenge is a Manager who actively works to reassign, demote and ultimately fire an employee because they complained about his behavior. Vendetta and Revenge is calling employees derogatory names because they differ from his opinion. Frankly, that’s not in my character, and I’m not really into revenge, I’m the type of person that would rather deal with the problem and move on, and revenge takes way too much energy and planning. So Vendetta against Mark Rooney the person, NO. Do I take it personally that MY money is used to fund an inept Manager with a sea of complaints against him? YES, absolutely. What I have read in the Village Documents and posted to this site is offensive to me as a human being, and pretty much sums up what’s wrong with this village. Do I think that every single trustee should resign because of the way they have supported an EMPLOYEE who would have been fired many times over in the private sector? Yes, absolutely. Do I believe there is any other employee in the Village that would have been retained after the number and level of complaints against them? NO. Is it one of my priorities to ensure that our Village Manager and ALL Department Heads are at the top of their game and are the right people to lead? YES, absolutely. Do I think Mark Rooney is the right person to lead this village, NO. So, my proposal to deal with the problem is very simple – terminate Mark Rooney, promote Joe Wade and leave the Assistant Village Manager position open – no more complaints and endless spending on attorneys AND we save a substantial amount of funds in the process. It’s a pretty clear and easy business decision. Is that the reason why I’m running – no – but it is something that needs to be dealt with, and the current Village Board have just allowed it to continue without recourse.
The second question that came up was why I am running for trustee now, and not a few years ago. I have a feeling my answer shocked a few people, and as I type this – and more read it – it will probably shock a few more. But, I’m a person who says what I think – you know you will always get an honest and blunt opinion from me. I firmly believe in standing up and doing the right thing – and I firmly believe in standing up against whats wrong. I’m not one to run or leave, sometimes to a fault. They say opposites attract, and my better half – who keeps me sane through the things my job brings my way, doesn’t tend to like conflict. When the Village decided to reduce our Fire, Police and Public Works departments, she and I both knew that the reductions were far below the level of safety and response that we were willing to accept from our chosen community. That is the fact – our Police and Fire departments have been reduced so far, that as a firefighter in Carpentersville, I don’t believe it is safe for my family to live here anymore. That is based on 15 years of experience in public safety, training and education, response time data analysis and personal experiences. You see, a member of my family has medical issues that increases our chances of needing EMS than the average person. So the gamble is there far more than for a normal family. My better half wants to move somewhere that has good police and fire protection – and honestly, she’s right. However, as I said, I’m a stand up and fight for what’s right kind of person, and I don’t believe the proverbial “ship” is completely sunk yet. And she has agreed to support me in that endeavor. What has bothered me through the process of reductions is that this Village is stacked with some of the very best, brightest and most professional employees that I’ve known, and their ability to do the job right is there (not just public safety, but in all departments) – they just don’t have enough resources to do it. Couple that with a morale problem and chaos caused by the top employee, and frankly these good people have been disenfranchised and demoralized. We wonder why we can’t bring in businesses and why both residents and businesses alike leave in droves – if the people who work for the Village can’t stand to be there (and can’t afford not to) what do we think is going to happen when that is who the public connects with? The answer that I hear over and over again is why don’t unhappy employees just leave and go somewhere else? Well guess what – they do – in droves. 12 department heads in 4 years (8 in the last 2), constant turnover in administration and village hall, Firefighters and Police officers that WE paid to train leaving and testing – the reason why we solve the morale problem is because it is an exponentially expensive problem. It is that kind of thinking that leads to ever increasing costs. And those numbers don’t reflect the number of employees fired after complaining – which believe me – is substantial and disgusting. There is definitely something to stand up against. And THAT is why I’m running now instead of then – because I don’t feel safe in my own community, because our leaders have systematically and intentionally destroyed the very foundation of our community, and I want to do something about it.
I can’t simply move out and away, it’s not in my nature. But, without a change in the right direction – my family is just more important. She is right – it would be far easier, I can move somewhere else that has good fire and police protection, simply work here, make my money, do whatever job they tell me to do and go home, have no investment in the community, and frankly not care – but again, that isn’t me. I’m running for Trustee because I want to make Carpentersville a place every resident and business owner can feel safe in and be proud to call home. There are ways to increase our public safety department to where they should be without asking for more tax money – in fact, i’d be willing to bet there are ways to cut the tax rate AND still have more employees. But we have to be willing to stand up and fight for whats right. We need to ensure that the community’s voice – that of the residents and business owners is FAR louder to the trustees than that of the Administration. That is what I will bring – the willingness to listen to advocate for my community.