Some may say that a Vote of No Confidence is largely a ceremonial thing that has little meaning and no effect. But, I believe that in it’s basic form, the public truly does listen to what other residents think, and are capable of taking something as ceremonial as a vote of no confidence and understanding what issues are at it’s core and why it’s being done/said. That’s why our form of government is the best – because the people that do the electing have the power to speak up and be heard. That being said, this post is my Vote of No Confidence, both in my elected leaders, and in the Manager who has been appointed to run the affairs of the village. If you would like to show your support and add your name to the vote of no confidence, there is a form at the end of the letter to do so.
First, the Village Trustees and President have given the Manager their 100% confidence, in letters, in the Board Meetings, In Public. Therefore, any wrong doing that he has done with our village can be laid directly at the doorstep of the Village Board. This Vote of No Confidence truly has no direct application for our Trustees, but come the end of 2014 and early 2015, there are several trustee positions that are up for re-election, and I will be a strong and vocal opponent to their continued tenure on my village board. While they may not think that is something they should be worried about, the residents in this town are sick and tired of the decisions of the board to reduce our services – more so than they know and realize. So, what follows, although it’s specifically No Confidence reasons for the Manager, I hold each and every Village Board member personally responsible for his actions, as though they themselves had done them.
VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE IN MANAGER ROONEY
Manager Rooney has, during his tenure, been responsible for or recommended as Village Manager the following, which I believe has done significant damage to the Village of Carpentersville, It’s Residents, It’s Businesses and It’s employees.
- Raised property taxes nearly every year during his tenure. We all know that our Trustees ultimately vote on it, but they vote based upon recommendations by staff – by the Village Manager. This was done as an apparent attempt to keep the revenue streams coming into the Village stable throughout the recession, which the income for the village HAS remained stable and consistent throughout the last 7 years. As a result, every taxpayer in the Village, Resident and Business owner a like has paid increasingly higher taxes to the Village of Carpentersville.
- Presided over and recommended increase to the Sales Tax in the Village. The 2 largest forms of revenue for the Village are Sales Tax and Property Tax. Both have been increased now under his watch. Our residents pay more to live in the village and spend more to buy goods in the village. Regardless of the fact that it was offset by elimination of the Vehicle Stickers and decrease in the Motor Fuel Tax, ultimately, we pay more.
- Has recommended and gotten his way in the significant reductions in the Police Department staffing, Fire Department Staffing and Public Works Staffing – all the public safety departments in the village, while giving hefty raises – far above Cost of Living increases to Non-Union employees and Department Heads. So we pay more to live here, and we get less public safety services for it.
- Public Street conditions in the Village have continued to deteriorate, due in no small part to a lack of personnel and funding needed to repair what has been allowed to deteriorate over many years. This isn’t for a lack of equipment – the Public Works department hailed the purchase of it’s road surfacing machine a few years ago. It’s a result of not ensuring adequate funding, the streets that are long over due for repairs continue to get worse, and those coming due are getting as bad as the ones that have needed replacement for years. Eventually, this will catch up with the village residents in the form of increased personnel vehicle repairs AND increased taxes to cover repairs to the roads. Anyone who needs a demonstration may drive north on Wakefield from Rte 68 by Aunt Marthas, an area i affectionately refer to now as “the Slalom,” or perhaps Miller Rd on the West Side between Huntley and Randall – which I call the “moto-cross track.”
- The cuts to the Fire Department have resulted in significantly increased response times compared to what it used to be. Despite what the Trustees and Manager have stated publicly, increased response times = increased chances of excessive fire-related damage AND increased potential that fire and ambulance crews cannot reach it’s residents in time to help them. Sit in front of this silent – imagine someone you love is having a medical emergency, and watch your clock for 4-3/4 minutes – how long does that feel like? A minute longer than it used to be. How will you feel when your loved one is the one in need and our Manager says firefighters and paramedics are NOT needed in the village at the level they used to be?
- Cuts to the Police Department have reduced the number of patrol officers available on the streets to deal with emergency needs of the residents and businesses here in the Village. Although the village claims that crime is down, the reality is that if someone is breaking into our house, having less police officers means it takes them longer to get to us, and we take little solace in the fact that overall crime in the village is down at that moment.
- Has recommended to the Village Board to increase Water rates significantly over the last 5 years. Not only do we pay more property taxes than we ever have, spend more in sales tax than we ever have, but we also pay more for our water than we ever have.
- Built a 12 million dollar facility for Public Works during the biggest recession in US History (excluding the great depression) and paid for the loan for it by eliminating public safety staff and shifting funds. In the worst economic times that most of us have seen or will ever see, taking on extreme amounts of debt in order to build a building which could have been put off until after the crisis (as we all did with our personal budgets) just isn’t good fiscal policy of a village. Regardless of whether his administration initiated the plans, his administration should have done what it could to stop the project for the best fiscal interest of the village.
- Has seen fit to put in place in nearly every department: directors, department heads or assistant department heads that he has worked closely with in the past to ensure that there is no debate or question within the village. Some might call that cronyism, I call it bad for the village.
- Has overseen the replacement of several Department Heads in Community Development. During the tenure of the Manager’s personal selections, the Community Development department has managed to alienate businesses in town through inconsistent application of the building codes and enforcement of those codes, as well as not being able to stop the rising tide of business and store departures in the village. Has ensured that the mission of the Community Development is geared towards code enforcement, not community development, which is evident when taking even a cursory look at vacant buildings, store fronts and residential homes, and the increasing revenue streams from code enforcement violations.
- Has ensured a continuously contentious relationship with every Union in the Village. This has harmed the village, because instead of honest and open negotiations, the Manager has created an atmosphere in which spending money for potential arbitration and attorney’s fees have dominated the landscape instead of calm and rationale goal oriented negotiations. The Manager’s behavior towards employees and the unions that represent them have caused the village to spend money that it wouldn’t have needed to, which in turn, contributes to the rise in tax rates and misappropriation of our tax payer funds. This years budget alone called for more than any other budget has called for during negotiation years – 400,000.00 combined between legal fees and arbitration.
- Has made inflammatory and patently untrue public statements about employees and about Village affairs and finances.
- In 2013, under his leadership, the Fire Department applied for the Staffing Adequate Fire Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant from FEMA. This grant is designed to increase the Fire Department staffing, whether it’s for replacing positions lost through attrition or lay-offs (prior to filling out the grant) or for adding new positions because of need. This application requires a commitment by the Village Board to accept the terms and conditions of the grant process, and that they agree that the Village needs what it requests. This year’s application was for 1 replacement of a position lost through attrition and 3 new positions to be compliant with response times. The first time (about 5 years ago) our village filed this application it was awarded a grant by FEMA and our Village TURNED IT DOWN. As it was reported today on Facebook by the Carpentersville Professional Firefighter’s Association, the Director of Public Safety and the Village Manager have given 2 full time firefighters a 30 day lay-off notice, and it was done shortly before the grant might be awarded. So, instead of using the grant (if awarded) for what the Village Board and Manager said it was needed for, they are using it to pay for 2 employees that they are laying off right before getting it without telling FEMA thats what they are doing … At very best, this is dishonest … More importantly though, our board, and our Manager said when it filed the application that our Fire Department needs more people to meet basic service standards. So which one is it .. at a time when revenues are clearly stable (because we pay more taxes) the village just can’t afford to pay for the 2 firefighters it has and get the 4 it says it needs, or they can afford it, but why not get the feds to pay for it instead, who cares if it means we don’t get what we said we needed? By the way, because it can’t possibly prove a bonefide economic hardship, if the layoffs go through, it’ll cost the village legal fees for arbitration, and when the Village loses, it’ll have cost the village those legal and arbitration fees, as well as an excessive amount of over time paid out, plus back pay for the employees, plus their jobs back. And who do we all think pays for this ultimately? WE DO. I hope the public now understands, the “overtime” that the Full Time employees wanted wasn’t really about overtime- it was job protection. We know that layoffs like these 2 will create an excessive amount of overtime, which, with these 2 people, can be in the neighborhood of 150-200k MORE than what was budgeted – that’s what the 8 was about. It was about giving the village a reason to secure the jobs of full time employees. The Full Time firefighters don’t want overtime – they want the Manager and Board to stop threatening layoffs every time negotiations come around when there is no economic need for it – it was a response to unscrupulous and bad faith negotiation tactics by the Manager. But, as a result of the Manager’s decision, our village will pay more in over time and unemployment than they would by just keeping the 2 employees. Seeing as how our Village Manager doesn’t live in town, we the residents are ultimately on the hook for his decisions, not him.
- Was suddenly displaced from his former employer, Wheeling, IL. for undisclosed reasons. What we do know is that he was called into a performance review without much public notice, and left the executive session the same night no longer employed by Wheeling and with a Non-Disclosure Separation Agreement – His current behavior certainly calls into question WHY he was so quickly removed from Wheeling, a question that has never been, and probably never will be answered – but could Wheeling’s reasons have anything to do with some of the very things happening in our Village? More importantly, did our Trustees know the real reason and chose to hire him anyway?
Ultimately, as a taxpayer, I have been forced to pay higher property taxes, higher sales taxes, higher water rates, all while getting LESS services and MORE potential liability that I used to at lower rates.
For the aforementioned reasons, all of which is based upon publicly available information, I hereby cast my Vote of No Confidence and call for the immediate removal of the Village Manager.
To my trustees, you have failed to call me, failed to represent me, and have completely lost any faith or confidence I may have in you. In about 9 months time I will be heavily campaigning against ANY incumbent Trustee who is up for re-election, and throwing my support behind any non-incumbent candidate who is able to get me to believe that they care about the Village of Carpentersville and is ready for honesty, openness and learning as hallmarks of good government. Your chance to convince me that you care about this Village is dwindling. Any Trustee that would like to start representing me and try and earn my trust back may contact me. The residents don’t exist to pay for Village Services through increasing “revenue streams.” The Village Exists to provide for it’s citizens emergency services, good streets, clean water and a safe and well managed waste system. It’s time the residents of the village started getting the services that it has continued to pay increasing amount of money for.
Thank you to everyone who has expressed interest in showing your support by signing the Voting of No Confidence. If you would like to sign the petition, please feel free to do so by clicking the link below. Your information will be delivered along with a copy of the Vote of No Confidence to the Village Trustees. It’s a pleasure to join you in voicing our opinions as residents.