Scofflaw Trustees Did It Again

January 25, 2013

Village Government

By Norman Abramowitz

Trustees Jay Olson, Tim Allen, Tony Reyes and Jim Hughes violated village and State of Illinois law with their illegal rezoning of the Marathon station on December 6, 2012. And then, not satisfied with two flagrant violations of the law, they did it again on January 10, 2013 with yet another illegal rezoning. So the four Scofflaw Trustees that have the Village of Winfield board in a death grip broke the law three times in a month.

First, a recap. The Marathon station on the corner of Winfield Road and Roosevelt Road has been zoned residential with a ‘special use’ to operate as a gas station for many decades. The Patels, the owners in 2012, were perfectly happy with this arrangement, but apparently trustees Olson, Allen, Reyes and Hughes weren’t. They wanted to forcibly rezone this to commercial, despite the heartfelt objections of the Patels and many neighbors.

The final vote to rezone Marathon was at the November 15th board meeting. But since Trustee Reyes was not present they did not have the votes, and the rezoning failed. In a parliamentary move, Trustee Allen (who drove the forced rezoning effort) voted “no.” Normally this would mean the issue could be reconsidered and voted on again when Trustee Reyes was present at the next board meeting – ensuring success of the forced rezoning.

But apparently Trustee Allen did not understand village law, since if he did he would have known that the vote on November 15th was truly final. The village attorney clarified the situation in a memorandum sent to all trustees on November 30, 2012.

Trustees Olson, Allen, Reyes and Hughes were fit to be tied: they had lost their beloved forced rezoning of Marathon. So, at the December 6th board meeting they violated State of Illinois law by illegally forcing a ‘vote to reconsider’ on the agenda without the required 48 hour notice. This is an Open Meeting Act (OMA) violation. The village attorney warned them this was an OMA violation at the meeting, but the barged forward anyway. And then, despite warnings from the village attorney and objections from Trustees Jack Bajor and Erik Spande, they directly violated village law and illegally rezoned the Marathon station. Yes, that’s right – they blatantly violated two laws at one board meeting. A record!

Village President Birutis did the only thing she could do, and on December 20th she vetoed the illegal rezoning. At least she understands and upholds the law.

But the four Scofflaw Trustees were not done yet. They demanded the right to overturn President Birutis’ veto at the January 10, 2013 board meeting. And true to form, Olson, Reyes, Allen and Hughes dutifully overturned Village President Birutis’ veto and forcibly rezoned Marathon once and for all. In doing so the four Scofflaw Trustees violated village law yet again – the third time in a month.

Trustees Olson, Reyes, Allen and Hughes have shown all of Winfield that they have complete contempt for the law, will trample the rights of the public with more OMA violations, and that they will do whatever it takes to get their way. The four Scofflaw Trustees contempt for the law shows they have contempt for us – the resident of this village.

Winfield is a wonderful community that we all love. Winfield deserves better than four Scofflaw Trustees.

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About Positive on Winfield

Positive on Winfield is a blog with articles on local issues, local events, and local interests in Winfield, IL. Positive on Winfield is the blog website of the local civic action group, Winfield United for a Better Community.

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