Public Comment Leads to Heated Discussion at Village Board Meeting
A community member's comments regarding information requests quickly led to a tense conversation that included several board members.
A heated discussion between a local resident and several members of the Mokena Village Board of Trustees punctuated the Feb. 25 board meeting.
During the meeting’s public comments portion, community member Jim Giglio addressed several Freedom of Information Act requests that he had filed with the village.
As he presented his comments, Giglio and the members of the board repeatedly interjected and spoke over one another.
Among the issues Giglio addressed was a request for the line item expenditures for all costs to the village related to the municipal election petition challenge that occurred in mid-January.
The candidacy petitions filed by four current board members were challenged by a non-incumbent candidate group, the Mokena Friends and Neighbors Candidates. All petitions were determined to be legitimate by an appointed electoral board.
Giglio’s concern involved the approximately $12,000 he says the municipal government spent to compensate the village attorney for her involvement with the situation.
“That number seems outrageous to me,” said Giglio, in an interview with Patch.
Giglio expressed his desire to know why it was necessary for the village attorney to be involved with the petition challenge. Mokena Mayor Joe Werner said she was present at the petition challenge meeting in order to represent the electoral board members, not a particular candidate group.
“It’s certainly appropriate that they would have proper representation,” said Werner.
Giglio also filed a request for lists of all the registered businesses in the village between 2006-2013 and accused Trustee John Mazzorana of using the trustee’s comments portion of a recent board meeting as an opportunity for political self-promotion.
He told Patch that he filed the business list requests in order to accurately assess the “lack of business growth” in Mokena.
“They don’t want us in office,” said Mazzorana. “It’s that simple.”
In addition, Giglio requested to see the village directives, expenditures and correspondence related to the events surrounding the 2008 civil rights lawsuit filed by Tino Lettieri against the village.
In a board work session immediately following Monday’s meeting, Village Administrator John Downs gave a presentation on water distribution and sanitary collection systems in Mokena.
The village will spend approximately $500,000 on water main replacements in 2014 along 3rd Street and Midland Avenue.
Additionally, Downs proposed that $115,000 per year be spent on manhole repairs for the next five years. The village focused primarily on replacement and repair of sanitary sewers during the previous decade.
“The data does show that the work’s been effective,” said Downs.
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