Opinion-filled Notes Re: March 14, 2018 Midlothian Regular Board Meeting

One Old School Opinionated and Biased Nitpicking Session Over the Village Midlothian Regular Board Meeting held March 14, 2018 by Midwestern Valerie

***Note to new readers:  When I used to publish to the Advanced Midlothian Politics group on a regular and sometimes exclusive basis, the group and I fell into an “after meeting habit” so to speak.  I was the only person video taping board meetings and would typically hurry home to not only upload the video as quickly as possible, but to produce a series of apolitical and neutral posts about items talked about at the meeting.  Initially, I would publish the notes as one post but it seemed to make it awkward for people to talk about any singular issue without possibly being dragged into another issue in the post.  I thought about posting each of the items listed below as singular posts, but there are some bigger points to be discussed besides any one topic brought up at the meeting and it was important for me to show just how many different thoughts can cross one’s mind when watching a Village of Midlothian board meeting.  I tried to come up with headlines for all of the points of interest I noted, but ran out of originality.***

Hot mics can create hot messes:  From zero to 1 minute and 26 seconds, one can catch quite a few pieces of conversations flowing from those with a microphone in front of them, namely our core government officials.  I can only hope no one on the Board has ever cared if any recording device picked up any of their conversation prior to the start of a meeting.

It’s Here, It’s Gone, It’s Back Again…and Hmmm…Nothing Really New:  Until former Mayor Sharon Rybak stopped the practice, previous Mayors would recognize those in attendance with a municipal or local organization or group.  When Rybak stopped the practice a few years ago, she ended up deciding it wasn’t important to ask if anyone wanted the public to know they were in attendance at the meeting…but that was just a small part of her communications consolidation power play.

Current Mayor Gary L’Heureux reinstated the practice near the beginning of his administration last year.  So why does it seem there are no new attendees at these meetings now being hosted by L’Heureux wanting to go on record as being in physical attendance?  I would like to think at least the President of the Chamber of Commerce and maybe a school board member or even township member would want to show up every now and again as a Civic Duty Shoutout on how to lead by example on ways people can become civically involved.

Another Here, Gone, Back Again Notation:  I can’t remember every detail to the history of the use of the Consent Agenda, but especially under Rybak, the proper adoption procedures were never truly followed on a significant number of them.  For example, the entire document is supposed to be offered up as an exhibit for public record purposes as to what the Board is specifically voting on and too often, the Consent Agenda was never read out loud into the record at a meeting, thus creating an artificial need for the document to be located to learn of what was on the list for approval.  Now there are parliamentary procedures that allow for a suspension of this rule about reading the document out loud and accept it in only its written form, but that’s part of what was not always followed.  Just like with ordinances that technically are supposed to either be read out loud or a vote must be taken to skip over that particular part.  At least L’Heureux read the list out loud into the record…for this meeting.  Haven’t had time to check other meetings from the past few months.

Onward Into A Cloud of Due Diligence Doubt:  On the agenda, line item #11 states that 3 “radar signs” will be purchased from Elan City.  According to a website claiming to be for Elan City, they are “experts at radar speed signs.”  Gotta love how an actual product name would help someone review the Village’s judgment about the purchase without someone having to ask for answers first on what exactly is being referenced here.  This is a traditional reflection of a blatant lack of basic record-keeping standards being presented from the Clerk’s Office…even when Rybak was doing Kohlstedt’s job back during her tenure.

A Generic Gab Session Results In No Assurances:  The Village council chambers went under major scrutiny for a minor period of time when it came to whether or not the room was in compliance with Village code.  It was determined that it was not and certain steps were taken to address a few issues left behind by one of Schavone’s more notable Political Sins, namely that of the overspending on the project as reported by the major media and the actual results that remain left behind due to his overseeing the project.

The way agenda item #3 reads, it is very confusing, so imagine my relief when Trustee Donald Killelea asked Trustee Carl Ivan for clarity on what the Village was being billed on an itemized level and whether or not it would fix the “problem.”  He seemed curious about not being able to review an itemized bill for himself.  Ivan responded with a comment that both Fire Chief Stephen Hotwagner and Building Superintendent William “Billy” DeSimone had seen the list and everything was “okay.”

This seemed to satisfy Killelea’s curiosity, but everyone else is still left with questions about silly little things…like are we talking about replacing the missing door to the right of the conference room stairs that leads to the bathrooms or is there a different door needing to be purchased?  And just because these two department heads thought the invoices looked okay, why did Killelea quit on wanting to see a simple document that should have been presented to the Board in the Board packet…unless the invoice itself was written quite generically…the key to the whole confusion is Killelea’s question “This will solve all our problems” and Ivan confidently responding with a “Yes.”  What problems…

Good For Gillis To Make Note Of Where the Bucks Are Coming From To Pay A Bill:  The money for the LED lighting upgrades for the two fire stations in Midlothian was mostly courtesy of a grant from ComEd and that the Village was paying for what wasn’t covered by the grant.  They deserve economic credit when such is due.  Grants to the Village matter a great deal and are a critical component of its future survival and revival.  There should be a list of grants that have been given to the Village maintained on the website at all times…whoops!  There’s that spoiled brat in me expecting too much  behavioral changes out of Government.

P.S.  Still would love to see what ComEd could design to light up flood-prone areas of the Village and possibly contributing to the upgrade via some mechanism that elevates the Village’s position as a RainReady community, among other numerous benefits of better lighting in public areas, including side streets.  We’d make a great prototype place for them to imagine up some creative solutions…

“Move Aside, Attorney That I Called Upon!  I Am Asking A Question” Moment: L’Heureux has extensive exposure to parliamentary law and Open Meetings Act points of violation, much gathered while in the role of Trustee, but some possibly as far back as the late 1990’s and then growing through the curves specific to Midlothian.  L’Heureux asks the Attorney if he can discuss something about a point made by Gillis and before Village Attorney Nick Valadez can get more than an “ummm…” out, L’Heureux dismisses him with a statement, “Whatever.  I’ll ask anyways.”


It’s not like L’Heureux suddenly remembered the rules, he made it clear he didn’t care to wait even 5 seconds to find out if what he was doing was appropriate based on the opinion of Valadez, the person he turned to for the answer.  Why bother asking him a question and then so boldly dismiss it’s relevance and importance?  While he did open the floor to discussion about items on the Consent Agenda and while Gillis did present his own questions about a specific line item, I’ve always been quite confused as to when and where a Mayor can just jump right in and say what is on their minds.  I’ve seen many different kinds of displays over the years.  Plus, I am curious as to how Valadez would have answered the question.

Interesting Question Caused By the Mayor: What Are the Formal Procedures For Securing Contract Work With the Village?:  The question L’Heureux wanted an answer to whether or not a vendor was brought to the Village’s attention via ComEd and Gillis mentioned the Village had used them before.  With calibration issues still residing with why Robinson Engineering still seems to receive so much contract work as a corporation, when they are merely representative of acting as the Village Engineer.  Things that probably should be shared with a wider audience are not necessarily seeping its way fair and square into the broader marketplaces involving government contracts.

L’Heureux then went on to state that he received 2 calls from people who wanted a “piece of the pie” when they saw it listed on the agenda.  Gillis mentioned he reached out to another vendor about their possibly doing the work, but its L’Heureux who hasn’t been able to inspire anyone to initiate a section on the Village website immediately listing any and all opportunities for 3rd party individuals to offer up promotional materials and possible solutions…let alone not one newsletter, electronic or paper, coming from the L’Heuruex administration since he took office.  He needs to call those two companies back and tell them because of their interest, he became inspired to initiate an initiative to ensure all economic opportunities are listed in its most usable and accessible format possible…but the calls will never happen, nor the initiative, so I’m not going to hold my breath with this particular matter being improved upon any time soon.

Couzin’s Midlothian Offered Expansion Opportunity For Its Brand of Fun and Entertainment:  Trustee Karen Kreis asked the board for approval of a Redevelopment Agreement (RDA) between the Village and Couzin’s Midlothian that has been worked on since October 2017.   The property next to the existing Couzin’s (formerly MidVilla’s Pizza) on 147th is owned by the Southland Land Bank and Development Authority and assuming the owner of Couzin’s follows through on closing on the property, a building sitting vacant for at least 7 years will be able to provide an even broader audience the food and fun that comes with the Couzin’s name.  Plus, it would also make Couzin’s even more ADA friendly…and their live acoustic music performances on a Sunday summers Eve can be a tremendous respite and oasis from the regular stresses of life as everyone is always welcome to join in the jams…and they do!  So if everything works out according to the RDA, the Village will soon be benefitting from both property tax income and sales tax income.  Kreis made the motion and Killelea seconded the motion.

We Interrupt the Meeting for A Technical Discussion:  With only minor hesitation, micro management watchdog Trustee Kathleen Caveney called for a moment of clarity as to whether or not the document they were voting on was The Redlined Version, or something to that effect.  Insider humor aside, Caveney asked Kreis why she didn’t distribute The Redlined Version to the Board and Kreis made point that if she wanted a copy of that version, she could have asked for it.

This is the kind of stuff my administrative assistant ears tend to perk up on when being discussed in detail.

Caveney went on to sternly make a point of the difficulties for a group of people to know not only what version of a document they are looking at, but yes, knowing exactly what was changed from the prior documents and what was left alone.  Caveney’s point was that by standardizing the use of a Microsoft Word tracking feature that draws literal red lines through deletions and also provides red text for anything newly added (color scheme flexible), it allows for a reviewer to quickly check on what was altered rather than demanding a full review of the entire content in search of what may or may not have changed since the last time it was read.

This feature does allow for a new version to be created from a redlined one and Caveney’s call for a redlined version of documents to be distributed does allow for a reviewer to eliminate the markings at any point once they’ve received it.  Then Attorney Valadez mentions The Final Redline Version is separate from The Final Version, which is a no-duh and had nothing to do with her call for protocols to be put in place, which Caveney calls him out on.

Caveney then informally polled the Board as to whether or not they compared the document in front of them to the last document they reviewed prior to the meeting and after a few seconds of silence, she claims that she’ll take their silence as a no.  L’Heureux calls out to two-time Deputy Clerk Maria Kolacki and then looks at Caveney while restating her request to be a matter of including a redline version with emails and a final version with the Board packet to be absent of redlining.

Once again Attorney Valadez jumps in with statement that what the Board is voting on is not the redlined version.  After Caveney tried to reiterate her point, L’Heureux suggests that all voting members get the redlined version and the Clerk will get the clean version and Kolacki quickly jumps in with a “fine,” which its not…so let’s see if I can frame it better.

Two files get sent in the board packet.  The last redline version leading up to the clean version being voted on by the board and the clean version being voted on.  You can even tag the files with “Final Redline Version” and “Final Board Approval Version” or something to that effect.

So I think I can understand why Caveney decided to quit trying to explain both versions needed to be sent to the board members at the same time AND while the versions were being worked on, the redline version would be the standard default file format that a reader can then opt to change.  And why would the Mayor recommend giving the Board a false document as the only document to the voting members of the Board, let alone the Deputy Clerk having authority to okay the procedure?

And where was Clerk Allen Moskal in all of this?  Sitting right next to the Mayor, mouth closed. No public statement on how the records of the Village should be kept and distributed on his watch.  Watch for Caveney to cry foul again and under what circumstances.  It would be a new habit for everyone to acquire and while it’s a quality control point worth fighting for, it looks like Upper Front Office Management just doesn’t understand its value to the voting members of the Board.  Perhaps they think the whole process is crazy to begin with…you know…the idea of Board members actually knowing what is being put before them to sign with their votes…especially anything that might have been changed?

And Now the Couzin’s Vote:  With a booming “No,” Trustee Carl Ivan became the only Trustee to vote against the Couzin’s RDA, thus approving its ratification.  That deserves a phone call as to why, but it’s Sunday.

And Then a Non-Velvet Hammer Dropped:  After the vote was finalized, Attorney Valadez decided to request that the Mayor not sign the document until after the developer does, assigning his reasoning to the issue Caveney had just brought up as well as some other generic citation of past issues as part of an apparently new policy to prevent the Village from having documents with empty signature slots.

That’s extra hysterical considering Valadez still has the problem of empty signature slots sitting on hundreds of building inspection reports.

I wonder if he’s been reading too much Stormy-related materials and is trying to protect only the Mayor with his policy request, rather than truly having the Village’s best interests at heart.  Kreis went along with it, and it has limited merit, but excuse my cherry-picking at this particular scab of mine.

Why is it such the challenge to have the Mayor and the signers in the same room together when most of these RDA’s have relatively local ownership, or at least formal representation…?  That was also a Rybak habit as well, although Rybak once showed up to pick up a check so she could flash it at a Board meeting that she got it.  Ahhh…the lack of consistent pageantry, presentation and protocol when signing an agreement with the Village…but boy will the President of the Village take credit for the accomplishment beyond it happening on his watch.

Communications Sent To Kreis Update:  One habit of Trustee Kreis continues to be her habit of reading some letter or email into the public record from some government unit or company involved with the Village, thus sparing everyone the FOIA request to become aware of the information.  This time around it was from the South Suburban Land Bank updating her about a recent legal outcome regarding an abandoned property here in Midlothian.  The status of various properties around the Village can be a hot topic online, especially in social media circles and Kreis is someone who has been known to volunteer this type of information at a meeting from time to time.

Speaking of documents needing signatures:  According to Trustee Kreis, The Invest in Cook Application for the Phase I Engineering of Natalie Creek was due Friday, March 16, 2018 and that the Mayor and the Clerk had documents that needed to be signed and scanned.  I wonder if they made the deadline…

Active RainReady supporter and owner of Grill’s Hardware, Dale Terhaar, 53, passed away.  Terhaar and the Village worked hard to improve the property over the past few years, including Terhaar agreeing to host the first large-scale rain garden in Midlothian.  His relationship with his staff and the community was evident through more than just investing money into his business prospects, he invested in people and legacy as I got to discover through the RainReady side of Midlothian.  He will be missed.

Calling All Techies:   According to Trustee Carl Ivan, the Technology Committee is actively seeking new members and asked people to contact him.  Was that via phone, email, YouTube or Facebook?

A “Nothing To Report” Entry Into the Records:  Killelea had nothing to report.

New Rule, Old Funding Approach?:  Trustee Sandy Crowley brought up information sent to board regarding a proposed Capital Fund ordinance and a Traffic Enforcement ordinance.  Police Chief Daniel “Dan” Delaney and Attorney Nick Valadez are putting together a fee schedule for the Board’s review at the next Committee meeting and she hope’s it can be voted on at the next Board meeting.

Old Building, Partial Structure Audit:  Initial audit of structural/building problems with the police department side of the Village Hall building.  Both written documentation and pictures were to be forwarded to the board for review.

Map overlay of Village owned property and Park District property delivered to Village by South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association (SSMMA).

Old Building, Still New Problems:  Fire Department wall came crumbling down this week.  There is also an issue with wall in the Public Works building.

Zing-A-Ling, No Gavel Needed:  While only the Mayor can give permission for an audience member to speak once public comments are closed, Gillis Sr. questioned who is in the Building Department if DeSimone was on vacation.  He started by asking how much vacation time does he get, which then segwayed into a pitch for getting the burned out property cleaned up quickly because it is “deplorable.”  He then claimed that the Building Department has been dragging its feet.  L’Heureux then interrupted with a comment about how he thought Gillis Sr.’s comment would be a brief comment.  He then invited Sr. to talk during the President’s portion of the meeting to move the meeting along.

Raising Midlothian’s State of RainReadiness To Another Stage:  Public Works Superintendent Joe Sparry announced that financing has been approved for the Phase II MWRD RainReady/Natalie Creek project.  The current estimated timeline is as follows: publish project on May 9, 2018, pre-bid walk-through May 22, 2018, bid opening June 26, 2018, contractor award September 6, 2018, completion of construction September 18, 2020.

Uncommonly Shared Litigation Information Released:     According to Attorney Nick Valadez, there is a Release and Settlement agreement for Mayor’s signature to end litigation.  My memory isn’t perfect, but I can’t remember former Village Attorney William “Bill” Gleason ever doing that.  Hmmmm…

We Interrupt This Ending With a Highly Questionable Political Campaign Ad Insertion During President’s Business:   So while the content is a little muddled, apparently  2 judges running for the Circuit Court were in attendance at the meeting and the spokesperson(?) wanted L’Heureux to know they were grateful that he had the regularly scheduled board meeting…?  Cancelling meetings is not a L’Heureux habit…a Rybak or an Eric Kellogg habit maybe, but not a L’Heureux.  But he certainly asked for everyone to say “Hi” to them.  Why they spoke at the end of the meeting rather than at the beginning is beyond me as they are off camera and didn’t notice anyone walk into the meeting while watching the video.

Need To Think Through Further Topics

Class 8 testimony

Partial Annexation of Unincorporated property via Emergency Response Contract

Status of Burned-Out Building Still Left Standing on 147th.

Alleged illegal dumping by contractors/insurance company

CRS rating:  Approved at a 7 by May?

Reviewed appellate brief for South Suburban Joint Action Water Agency (SSJAWA) and Valadez is “confident” the appellate court will affirm the lower court’s decision in favor of the Village of Midlothian.

Donna Mazalin given notice of cancellation of contract, which gives 30 days to finish everything up and turn everything over to Treasurer Mary “Maggie” Britton.

Happy 91st Birthday Midlothian!


Event #26: With SSJAWA, It Only Took Two To Make A Birth Certificate and One was Just Indicted

***The content below the “Problem Behaviors” graphic was originally published on January 22, 2016 as part of an audit of what appeared/s to be the minutes and agendas from the South Suburban Joint Action Water Agency.  The content published below the “Event” graphic was created December 11, 2017***

The problems that ail the nearly defunct South Suburban Joint Action Water Agency, or SSJAWA continues to take a back-burner when it comes to indictments.

One of the key figures in the SSJAWA schematic, Joseph T. Letke, passed away a few years back, leaving behind mountains of questions and molehills of answers in trying to decode exactly what transpired in connection with this particular legal entity once given a stamp of approval from the State of Illinois to act as a Joint Action Water Agency.

So with the City of Harvey’s water woes still being thrashed about in the marketplace, while the City of Chicago holds receivership over Harvey’s water billing and water distribution needs, over time the City of Chicago legal battle revealed enough evidence to begin questioning the timing of the creation of the SSJAWA and if it was intended on being a vehicle to allow the City of Harvey to escape its water debt with Chicago and to start anew with a completely different vendor.

There were only two original member communities with this project, the City of Markham and the Village of Robbins when they created the birth certificate for the legal entity and the invoices and contracts that come with such a birth.

At the first meeting on June 30, 2011, (now former) Village of Robbins Mayor Irene Brodie couldn’t bother herself with such mundane matters and sent Village of Robbins Trustee William “Willie” Carter in her stead to join (now former) City of Markham Mayor David Webb, Jr. to create this corporation in front of 6 other witnesses.

Plausible deniability arguments aside for Brodie, it is the recent Grand Jury indictment against Webb, Jr. alleging a bribery scheme that throws yet another crippling blow towards hope of bringing the original participants of this monstrous collection of falsehoods to a level of perhaps being forced to “settle” with some of what likely were more lower-level players, such as Brett Postl and Odelson.

Letke needed this deal for multiple personal financial dealings…among other things.

Webb, Jr. needed this deal to finally gain total control over all of the waterworks around Markham, rather than being stuck with Harvey as a distributor and MidMark as another distributor in his own backyard.  Putting together something from scratch and then performing a take-over of local water works through bonding methods was a sure-fire way for SSJAWA to keep the heat on anyone wanting to withdraw and thus ensuring at least 8 local water works would belong to one entity.

It will be interesting to see if anything about SSJAWA is drawn out from this particular indictment…Webb has a lot of “evidence” to barter with…if he so chooses…but he might just take the hit as he already called it quits on being Mayor of Markham.

The actual date of conception of the South Suburban Joint Action Water Agency is difficult to pin down exactly as it is likely no public notices or meeting minutes were taken during discussions prior to the legalization of the Agency.  Some suggest the Agency wasn’t formed until at least 2012, but public records clearly indicate the Agency was established just a wee bit earlier than that…and Alsip was nowhere in sight in the beginning (unlike what Mayor Bitchin’ Kitchin’ seems to enjoy leading people to believe).

It all started with a public announcement suggesting the birth of another government unit in Illinois was due to arrive soon in the form of a combined Notice of Meeting and Agenda.

With traditional (and mandated) formality, the notice read “Pursuance to 5 ILCS 220/3.1 the South Suburban Joint Action Water Agency will meet on at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, June 30, 2011 in the Markham Village Hall second floor meeting room 16316 South Kedzie Parkway Markham Illinois 60428”.  The notice was complete with the signature sloppiness of record-keepers in the southwest suburbs “will meet on at” and included a 17 line-item agenda for the meeting and according to minutes from the meeting on June 30, 2011, the notice was publicly posted on June 28, 2011 in the City Hall of Markham, Illinois and the Village Hall of Robbins, Illinois.

Unfortunately, there is no known video or audio of this meeting, or any meeting for that matter.  Therefore, much of this first part of the story is drawn from details left behind in meeting minutes that were available from one of two websites hosting the SSJAWA logo and content.

To open the celebration, the meeting began at 10:45 a.m. on Thursday, June 30, 2011 and a call was made for everyone present to acknowledge their presence.  The attendee list could easily remind a person of the Genesis flood narative of Noah loading up 2 of each animal onto the Ark prior to the storm.

2 law firms (Burton “Burt” Odelson, Odelson & Sterk, LTD and Michael “Mike” Roth, Ice Miller, LLP), 2 representatives from Post-Yore (Daniel “Dan” Donahue and Brett Postl), 2 representatives from Letke & Associates, Inc. (Joseph “Joe” Letke and David “Dave” Schutter) and 2 municipalities (Mayor David “Dave” Webb, Jr. of Markham and William “Willie” Carter of Robbins on behalf of Mayor Irene Brodie of Robbins).

With Odelson acting as announcer, he read sections from a variety of legal documents, such as City of Markham Ordinance 11-O-1984 and Resolution 11-R-443, Village of Robbins Ordinance 4-26-11C and 5-24-11, the SSJAWA Intergovernmental Agreement v041511 and correspondence regarding the appointment of an Alternate Director.  After he finished, he proceeded to declare the SSJAWA was legally constituted under the laws of the State of Illinois.

To finalize formalities, Odelson administered two oaths of office, one for Webb as Agency Director on behalf of Markham and one for Carter as Agency Alternate Director as a stand-in stuntman for Agency Director and now former Mayor, Irene Brodie on behalf of Robbins.

For much of the meeting, it was nothing more than a love fest for one another, with Webb and Carter alternating as motion-maker and seconded-maker, breezing their way through a series of unanimous votes designed to place the clearly pre-chosen individuals into their now legal capacities.

First came the Agency by-laws (v062711).  Next came the appointments, with Webb taking the Director chair, Carter receiving Chairman status and Brodie being bestowed the title of Vice Chairman.

With the core cast of characters firmly in place, it was time to adopt the first Resolution (2011-R-0001) establishing the regular meeting schedule for 2011 pursuant to Open Meetings Act requirements, which passed unanimously.

Of course, no story is complete without a supporting cast of characters.  Odelson, the announcer of the birth of the agency was picked as General Counsel, Secretary and FOIA Officer (perhaps because he did such a great job with his audition piece at the beginning of the meeting).  It is also likely he was a proficient quick-change artist, which would be needed due to budget constraints for costume department staff members.  These three positions were all unanimously approved in three separate votes.

As reward for his work off-scene, Roth and the firm of Ice Miller, LLP was appointed Special Counsel with the blessing of Odelson preceeding the vote.  Both appointments breezed through the voting process with a yes vote across the board.

In between those choices, the stage was set for the role of villian to be played by none other than Joseph Letke of Letke and Associates.

Letke already had his pocketbook filling up from illegally diverted funds from municipal bond proceeds while serving as Comptroller for the City of Harvey beginning as far back as 2008.  Letke’s firm pocketed not only $547,000 in middle-man fees for advising the suburb on the loans to Harvey but also nearly $270,000 in fees paid to his firm by the developer that were never disclosed to the lenders.

But you’re not supposed to know this at this point in the story so forget I said anything about it for now.  This wasn’t brought to light until the SEC sued Letke in 2014 with the Courts eventually barring him from participating in municipal securities offerings and ordering him to pay over $200,000 (Securities and Exchange Commission v. City of Harvey, Illinois and Joseph T. Letke, United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Civil Action No. 1:14-cv-4744 N.D. Ill., filed June 24, 2014, default judgement announced January 27, 2015)

Back to June 30, 2011.  Letke was already enjoying his positions as Comptroller of multiple municipalities, so it was only natural that such a clear leader in managing money would be appointed as Treasurer of such an important project.  We are talking water here.  So, Letke pulled down the next unanimous vote from the Directors.

Now it was time to dole out the contracts to the rest of the crew in the picture.  Odelson informed the Directors that he had reviewed the professional service agreements in consideration prior to the meeting and found them to be in order.  He also mentioned “…all explicitly state no fees will become due and owing on professional services unless and until an Agency Project is funded.”

Delaying payment on fees for services from the workers is usually a good thing for a project of this size.

First up was the contract for Program Management Agreement with Postl-Yore & Associates, Inc., which passed unanimously.

Next up was the Financial Consulting Services Agreement with Public Funding Enterprises, Inc., which passed unanimously.

Following was the contract with Letke & Associates, Inc for Public Accounting Services.

Lastly, Odelson first took a moment to mention the proposed agreement with his firm was “…similar to the terms and conditions of the Ice Miller, LLP agreement” before the Agency agreed unanimously to award a Legal Services Agreement with Odelson & Sterk, Ltd. and a separate agreement with Ice Miller, LLP

Now that the Big Business was taken care of on the agenda, the Directors opened the floor to public comments, which there were none.  There wasn’t even a need to go into Executive Session.

“Laudatory comments by Mr. Letke and Mr. Odelson on the formation of the agency” were made and Roth was kind enough to remind the Director’s that with that first meeting, the 120 day effective date period had begun and that Agency Members would become Agency Charter Members if the Directors did not extend the effective date period.  Schutter did his best to ensure compliance with public notice laws by confirming a 10 day public notice is a legal requirement for the public hearing on a budget.  Odelson also added he was “…optimistic the Village of Riverdale will act to join the Agency in the coming weeks.”

And on that positive outlook note, Director Webb made the motion to adjourn with Carter seconding the motion.  With a unanimous vote, the meeting was adjourned at 11:15 a.m.

And with that one meeting being started and finished, the takeaway was two southwest suburbs became owners of one newly minted government unit…

The South Suburban Joint Action Water Agency.  Or SSJAWA.  Or JAWA as many municipalities like calling it in their own meeting minutes.

End scene here.  That’s a wrap.

June 30, 2011 Agenda for South Suburban Joint Action Water Agency

June 30, 2011 Meeting Minutes from South Suburban Joint Action Water Agency

Event #27: Jumping Jay “Jack” Hille Leaps To Rescue Family and Friends First

This post is currently under re-construction due to misinformation contained in multiple public records (including government records) being used in this story relating to Jack Hille’s legal name versus a nickname he has been known to go by.

Click here to review disclaimer

The “Draw Your House” Profit/Prophet Plan: A True Signature Valerie Mental Fitness Exam™

True Signature Valerie Mental Fitness Exam™
The “Draw Your House” Profit/Prophet Plan™
A Veteran Stood Up For My Freedom To Speak Up and Speak Out So Here’s Another Stream of Steam
My Artist Accountability Statement™ For My Political Artwork on November 11, 2017

(Note to LLCC fans:  So I’m still tryin’ after all these years, but also freshly stamped “crazy” after all these years.  Military I am not, but perhaps my words might help a veteran not feel so alone with their own thoughts of their own experiences so that they can find their own ways of communicating when they need to.)

Did you know people get paid to watch someone draw a house on a piece of paper if a medical professional recommends it as part of a more expansive testing intended on “examining the inner workings” of someone’s mind?

As a child, I was dragged back and forth between ultimately hundreds of people of the mental health community with a demand from my parents, “She’s clearly broken.  Figure it out and FIX HER or we’ll go to someone else who can.”

But having me go through these corporate-designed and sold exams I was given were predicated on the idea that my parents were 100% right and everyone else was wrong…and they had the money and insurance to prove it no matter how many people it took to convince them they were right all along and it was the medical community screwing it all up.

Every time one of these corporate-designed exams are sold, the private sector profits in bulk and in spades.  Mandatory mental health screening tests now in the schools?  Someone pocketed some big bucks to come up with yes or no questions for children that no member of the government would allow themselves to be judged upon.

As I was sitting in front of my computer this morning, I started getting frustrated that I couldn’t draw using just a pen and paper.  I had a political cartoon forming in my mind and despite everything to date, I still don’t live in a Matrix world where I can just download the knowledge and then poof!  I can only assume others experience similar frustrations when something comes to ones mind and they do not have the skill set to communicate it even in its most fundamental ABC form.  In fact, the medically disabled and senior populations are two of the most vulnerable groups to suffer through acts of sometimes insane abuse, physically, emotionally and sexually, all because the abuser(s) know for a medical fact the person can’t say a damn thing about it.

But the cartoon sitting in my head had to do with a different kind of abuse.  It’s the kind of wound that comes from a total and complete severance of trust in reality in exchange for only mistrust and fear, as was the case with what happened over a month ago in a police department.

So I went ahead and scratched out the draft on paper and instead of being satisfied with my results, I fed myself a good dose of reminder of the “Draw Your House” exam used so many times on me in the past in a medical setting.

An examiner has you sit down at a table, sometimes with them sitting directly across from you while others might put some physical distance between themselves and you (physical proximity of an examiner plays a role as much as the proximity of a police officer questioning someone) and you are given paper and a writing instrument.  Sometimes it was crayons and I was encouraged to use color, while a few were just pen and paper, but the exam was the same each time.

“We would like you to draw us a picture of your home and then tell us when you’re finished.”

Clunk.  Kerplunk.  Shut all the doors kind of what the f***?  You’re going to judge my perception of my home life based on what I can manage to scratch out on a piece of paper??

I would tell the examiners that I was a poor artist, but their training would only allow a smile and something to the effect of being patted on the head and then told “Don’t worry about it.  Just do the best you can.”

Don’t worry?  Don’t worry?  I read some of the books talking about the exam during this time period (still fiercely love libraries!) and I saw what elements they were looking for.  No door means XYZ, a chimney means JKL and a tree means MNO…the list of line item assignments to what ingredients “should” and “should not” be in the picture is actually quite endless even if it has never been fully articulated and documented.

And even today, I’m screaming at the top of my lungs “DAMN IT!  I CAN’T EVEN DRAW WHEN I WANT TO!” at only the empty theater of my own mind, filled with empty seats, trying to reassure myself that it was okay.  But telling myself it’s okay to still do the best I can doesn’t necessarily triage the recent citations in a police report referencing my “handwritten notes” saying some severely false and unsubstantiated allegations.

This “Draw Your House” exam was a regularly scheduled exam on the mental health circus…errr…circuit I was passed along, all a part of ensuring I took full accountability for all that ailed my household, which had to include no more talk about being abused in that house.

But rather than continuing down this path along the far away past, it all comes back to my wanting to draw a political cartoon and not having what I would consider to be a sufficient skill set to present the bigger picture.

Eventually, one of the thousands of lines I had to select from popped up into the Top 10 of Options.

 “Fuck it.  Just do it.  Come on, you just swore out loud to yourself.  Fuck it!  Let’s go!”

And so I did it and drew out what I would classify as a political cartoon, still absent of any glimmer of real talent in the drawing realm.

Damn.  Then I thought to myself I should at least try again.  Maybe I could do it better a second time around.

And then it happened.

I quit.

That’s right.

I quit on myself and told myself give up the effort to draw with a pen and just move to a medium I know how to maneuver around.

Sigh…but only because I proved to myself I still wouldn’t be able to draw a picture of a house that would rescue me from an abusive situation I could not safely extract myself from.

But I can use pre-draw shapes to create imagines, and this is what was on my mind this morning for one split second…until I called it back for review…looked it over and decided I wanted to develop it so that I could share it online in a way I could accept accountability for as it relates to its creation, the thoughts behind the creation, the intent behind the publishing and the hopes I put into these virtual “messages in bottles floating around the tubes of the Internet” that I compose and then toss into the waves of signals.

So here is what I spent a bunch of hours creating as part of my own need to check in with my belief system to see how much is still intact when it comes to designing a binding of sorts around some of my more potentially controversial communications.

It’s called an Artists Accountability Statement™ and it acts as sort of a custom x-ray into my own stream of consciousness connected to a likely controversial piece of artwork so that phrases like “you should be really, really careful” don’t get misconstrued as a threat worthy of being jailed over…or labeled mentally unstable either.

Otherwise imagine how many parents would be in jail for telling their children they should be really, really careful about nearly anything…

Still Hindsight Heartaching A Little (fingers crossed),

Midlothian Valerie

SLAPPing Back At the Illegal Secrecy Surrounding the Midlothian Police & Fire: So Does Anyone Know Who That 5th Person In the Interview Room Was On 10-4? (not the one in the mirror)

A Truly Midlothian Valerie “Freak Show” Mental Fitness Exam™

SLAPPing Back At the Illegal Secrecy Surrounding the Midlothian Police & Fire:  Being the first publisher to introduce to the people of Midlothian who your 2017 Midlothian Fire Department members are while still being left wondering who the mystery 5th person was in the room with me while I was being taken out of the Interview Room at the Midlothian Illinois Police Department on 10-4

So its coming up on Monday, November 6th.  31 days after entry into the mental health system under the supervision of first a private facility and then a facility run by the State of Illinois and I have two “incident reports” I received upon my request for a copy in a paper and ink format that I have been reviewing this weekend.

One was issued by the police department and one was issued by the fire department.

The police report leaves fire department personnel unidentified, no mention of my request to speak with Officer Gulli who I knew was on duty that day, completely inaccurate time stamps for the start and end times as well as when the phone call was made to the fire department…among other fatal flaws, including a 5th man in the room towards the end of my being in that room that isn’t recorded in the narrative.

The fire report was what went with to the hospital, btw and it also used the word “combative” to describe my actions in the interview room when Officer Alton became the first male in the room to completely ignore my demands for them to stop advancing on me.

As a sidebar, Alton is the same officer that physically obstructed my access to both my exits from my own home years ago when myself and one other person tried to communicate real and frightening concern about a white van taking pictures of kids at a bus stop in the morning. Alton had intentionally situated himself against the door frame, “tolerating” my emotions with counter comments about how people have a right to take pictures while on public property and my using numerous words like “pedophile” to see if he would at least acknowledge it was a possibility, which he refused to do…

and still refused to accept while on the ambulance ride away from the police department, which is the “Midlothian Officer Alton accompanied us to the hospital. Patient remained ‘combative’ during transport to the hospital.” Of course I am furious at this point and feeling safe enough to verbally assault his judgment as an officer, knowing full well that the driver could very well stop at any time and then next thing I know I am nowhere near a hospital. He’s an officer I faxed in a complaint to Schavone on and of course, nothing was done to improve the department’s habits in these types of situations.

Back to the fire department report and what it means to be a True Community Policing community. Too many in the older generation find themselves wishing for those “good old days of policing, where everyone knew your name” without recognizing the literal obstruction to such a possibility lies square on the shoulders of the Corporation’s refusal to include these names in their full form on every record that is asked to carry someone’s identity “for the official record.”

So while most of this list remains absent of first names, I at least know the names of the two that helped physically restrain me using restraints in an inappropriate manner, Rich Moore and Jayson Fons.

Funny how the fire department report carries their full names at the beginning of the report and the Police Department report doesn’t carry their names at all…okay…not funny ha-ha, but funny as in something’s really not right here.

In fact, come to think of it. Even the fire department report doesn’t carry the name of the 5th person in the room on the video either, but according to the bullet-proof vest this person was wearing, he at least appeared to be a member of the Police Department. I didn’t take any time to get anyone’s badge number on the way out. I had other things on my mind.

But there’s nothing like being obstructed by another #MidlothianRule406AHabit from learning the actual legal names of who was in the room after being attacked by members of law enforcement and two fire department personnel when the Top Brass in the Fire Department at the time was Engineer Marty Rita. Both the DC and the Chief were both absent from either fire house at the time of the incident, let alone the Captain and the Lieutenant also being marked as absent.

There’s nothing quite like Midlothian Illinois’ idea of what True Community Policing looks like. Woo hoo! Or maybe its more a Boo Hoo most of us while a few Woo hoo at our expense and detriment.

Kind of difficult to list them by their full legal names in legal paperwork needing to be filed, don’tcha think? #EndInequalAccessToJusticeNOW #EqualAccessToJusticeForAllNotSome

So on that note, here is your list of first initial, last named 2017 Midlothian Fire Department Personnel as of November 5, 2017

Full Time

Stephen Hotwagner Fire Chief
J. McClelland Deputy Fire Chief
J. Kucharski Captain
S. Gillis Lieutenant
Marty Rita Engineer
K. Kelly Engineer
R. Bielema Engineer
S. Badger
D. Dalzell
M. Dillenbeck
J. Ditzler
Jayson Fons
S. Gorski
D. Klimson
K. Latek
J. Ramirez

Part Time

B. Baldwin
N. Bayer
M. Belliveau
O. Gonzalez
K. Johnson
S. Krivanee
Rich Moore
J. Sawatski
M. Stanton
D. Tornga
D. Townsend
N. Wilmington


J. Lovrich
C. Pochinskas

In fact, the information released to me about the members of the Fire Department in such in depth detail down to title, career path…and whether or not they are on duty.  That’s how I think I know that the top four members of management in the Fire Department were nowhere on the premises when this all happened.

So while this list still hides everything from a full first name all the way down to whether or not they are male or female members of the department, that’s a topic for another day.

#JustRememberItsNeverTooLate 2 #STOPtheRealHURT and #STARTtheRealHEAL #StartTODAY #StartNOW

At least Arizona had a Tenant/Landlord Act First…

While certain individuals here in Midlothian were busy putting their signature touches on legislation they knew would pass as long as they wrote it, I have argued since my first months in Midlothian back in 2006 that the Village was in severe need of a Tenant/Landlord Ordinance, at least similar to the one in Chicago.

Imagine my surprise last night when I was once again combing through the training manual and came across this “overlooked” error.  Of course we are not going to look at Arizona state laws for application in the State of Illinois, but instead I couldn’t help but chuckle at yet another piece of irony.

Vehemently opposed as I will always be to the program, at least the program was implemented in a state that had a state-wide Tenant/Landlord Act, unlike Illinois, which has zippo, zilch, nada.  I don’t know how strong Arizona’s Act is, but even the keywords bring me at least a sliver of comfort that Tenants have laws dedicated to protecting them from abusive and even criminal landlords.

Way to go editors!  Thanks for leaving that one in our book ‘cause it is so short, sweet and to the point.

This program is run based on a Landlord/Law Enforcement Ordinance.

Midlothian has no Tenant/Landlord Ordinance.

There were a few reasons for this to be in existence, btw…but that’s going to take more time to get to.  Trying to stick with the micro for a while longer.

In the meantime, if Midlothian had an honest-to-goodness Tenant/Landlord ordinance, I bet you’d be surprised how many properties would have ended up being forced into compliance because the consumer of the rental space filed a consumer-driven complaint with the Village…

And the Village actually followed through with whatever steps they were authorized to take to force compliance with building codes.

Remember, having a complaint record absent of complaints only means that none were ever recorded in an official manner.

That doesn’t mean they never existed or were untrue.

In my own circumstances, they were just summarily dismissed based on a variety of features, including who was doing the reporting, namely me, but who knows who else has tried to complain over the years about rental property owners not living up to their end of the consumer contract they are offering while on Midlothian Illinois soil.

The Editors of the book missed changing this sign to reflect the actual sign people should be looking for…at least one time.

Park District Reserves and Finances Almost $7,000 Worth of Ad Space For Two PD People, Past and Present

While this chart doesn’t reveal the source of financing for these advertisers (i.e. tax dollars, advertising dollars, other, etc.), the Top 10 advertising accounts hold the greatest number of days outstanding that the rest of the advertisers, with Sharon Rybak owing the largest percentage of delayed payments to the Park District, with Mary Ellen Levine (former Park District Trustee) close in delayed payments. This isn’t the same thing as Sharon Rybak claiming rental payments due to the Village for the Park District’s use and benefit of Raday Lodge were an “oversight” on the Park District’s part…but its still a part of the pattern of negligence left behind by Sharon Rybak and Michael Kohlstedt at both municipal units.

The intentional and intense politics infused into the Midlothian Park District brochure was always sensed from a surface perspective by the many, including myself.  But after having a few days to work with the numbers given to me by the Park District, it’s as if the Village Clerk, Michael Kohlstedt, as Park District President said to his Finance Director, Sharon Rybak, back at the beginning of their terms at Village Hall and said:

“Go fetch me the Village Seal as Mayor of Midlothian and get it onto the outside of this document, damn it!  And leave my name out of it!  The damn public is still yelling at us at Board meetings we need more people to pay attention to our programs.  Gleason and I will have your back at the Village and this success will look good on your Finance Director resume AND your Mayor of Midlothian List of Accomplishments.”

Did those words cross his mind?  Irrelevant as there is no doubt this possibility is part of the message he perhaps unintentionally left behind over these years as the Park District President who went on records months ago almost stealing straight from the mouth of a former Presidential candidate by commenting about “what difference does it matter?  It all comes from the same place” in response to the Park District being accountable for helping share both projects and costs to continue reducing flood rates and ratios.  Not many will remember this moment, but I was sitting right there in the audience of a few and at least the video is somewhere on my YouTube channel.  It matters greatly what accounts what money is being drawn on to pay for something or other, especially when it comes to tax dollars being allocated for various purposes unique to a municipal unit.

With Scrivener’s Errors aside on my part, this is the second part to an analysis of the information given to me by Midlothian Park District FOIA Officer and Finance Director Sharon Rybak in connection with my FOIA request to see a list of all advertisers in the Park District brochure, along with the amount they paid for the ad.

Most notable is the number of days in which an advertiser was allowed to bend the terms of the brochure which clearly states “All ads are on a first come first serve basis and payment is due at the time of reserving your ad.”  My statistics use the last day for insertion for each edition which means that the 3,819 days I came up with is likely even greater, depending on when an advertisement was reserved.

Speaking of reserving ad space, this particular set of statistics go on to show another Extremely Favorable Terms (EFT) given to Sharon Rybak for her “Village Newsletter” advertisement written in the voice of the Mayor of Midlothian.  She was late a total of 866 days for the pages listed as purchased by “Sharon Rybak” as a vendor of the advertising kind.

Second in line, and helping take one of the top two slots on most delinquent accounts, is former Midlothian Park District Board member, Mary Ellen Levine.  There is no love lost between Levine and various Village Trustees and she was allowed to be late a total of 670 days, 41% of the total 3,819 days between all advertisers combined.

In other words, Sharon Rybak and Mary Ellen Levine, were allowed to both reserve space and have the Park District finance $6,855 worth of advertisements in the Park District Brochure for their personal benefit and potential profiting for the life of each brochure!

But it gets even messier than this creative accounting.  Advertisers are frequently sent Proofs of what was printed, as part of their receipt the “product” was delivered, i.e. the advertisement as previously agreed upon.  One column suggests $18,455 should have been taken in to account for the insertions and yet only $16,745 worth of value was delivered.  This difference is caused by Sharon Rybak being listed as purchasing “5 (Full)” pages, when in fact she was given 4 full pages, one half page ad and half of the back cover.

Total Editions 6
   Total Projected Ad Revenue (avg) $3,075.83
   Actual Physical Ad Space Value (avg) $2,790.83
   Total Amount Paid to Park District (avg) $3,701.63
   Average Late Payment $3,091.29
   Average Days Late 636.50
Total Suggested Ad Revenue Taken In 136 $18,455.00
   Full 40 200 $8,000.00
   Half 27 115 $3,105.00
   Quarter 30 85 $2,550.00
   Inside Front 6 300 $1,800.00
   Inside Back 6 300 $1,800.00
   Back Cover Half 6 200 $1,200.00
Actual Physical Ad Space Value $16,745.00
   Full 34 200 $6,800.00
   Half 33 115 $3,795.00
   Quarter 30 85 $2,550.00
   Inside Front 6 300 $1,800.00
   Inside Back 6 300 $1,800.00
   Back Cover Half 0 200 $0.00


Who ended up putting up the cash for at least 6 editions of the Park District Brochure?  Hard to tell specifics without a forensic audit, but the number of accounts that were allowed to have any balance due on their account to begin with (remember: “payment is due at the time of reserving your ad”) shows that only $3,662 were actually taken in by the Park District at the time of the deadline.  The rest of the $18,547.75 showed up in the Park District bank accounts, with some of the financing being carried over to the next publication.

Total Amount Paid to Park District $22,209.75
   Total Outstanding 1 $300.00
      Bartolini’s $300.00
Late Payment 84 $18,547.75
Total Days Late 3819
   Sharon Rybak 866 22.676%
   Mary Ellen Levine 670 17.544%
   Alterations by Terry 277 7.253%
   BMO Harris Bank 221 5.787%
   Kenootz 209 5.473%
   Midlothian Girls Softball 150 3.928%
   Factory Bedding 109 2.854%
   LaVida Massage 98 2.566%
   Madori’s Liquor & Deli 97 2.540%
   St. Christopher School 96 2.514%
  John Amico School of Hair Design 83 2.173%
   First Midwest Bank 76 1.990%
   Bremen Township 75 1.964%
   Legacy Dance Studio 73 1.911%
   Flower Nook 63 1.650%
  Tom’s Diner 62 1.623%
   Berkot’s Super Food 62 1.623%
   Blackhawk Real Estate 51 1.335%
  Cuttin’ on the 9’s Barbershop 50 1.309%
  James L. Levine Insurance Agency 48 1.257%
  Gum Wah 47 1.231%
  Rose Pilny 33 0.864%
  Greene’s Floral & Balloon Shop 30 0.786%
  Cuzin’s 22 0.576%
  Mobile Music/RJ Fitness 19 0.498%


In terms of places someone can purchase advertising, buying space with a publication from municipal unit isn’t as telling as the terms said advertisers are given.  While the advertisers are ultimately responsible for paying their bills consistent with the terms on brochures containing a form to apply for space, it is far more curious whether or not these advertisers were ever given a copy of the brochure I have been working from, let alone the “Application for Advertisements.”

While it still remains clear the Midlothian Park District has a lot of repair work to do, this all started at Village Hall and Sharon Rybak, as President of Midlothian, claimed publicly that she decided to take it upon herself to produce a “Village Newsletter” that was paid for out of her own pocket.


But not at the times the space would have to have been reserved by in order for it to be included in the next publication of the Midlothian Park District brochure.

For that part, she just helped herself to the reservation in her employer’s brochure and Village Clerk Michael Kohlstedt made sure there was no investigation conducted by simply not complaining to the President of the Village about Sharon Rybak’s personal use of the Village Seal.

Would you believe there’s still more?

A lot of this ties into the two people who have been responsible for overseeing Sharon Rybak’s activities as Finance Director at some point this year, former Park District Director Evelyn Gleason and current Director Dominic Egizio.  Those two held/hold the role of day to day Reputation Manager for the Park District.

Until the next time…