The following Letter to the Editor expresses the views of the author. Patch merely serves as a forum for readers to state their opinions.
The Niles Journal’s recent editorial about the need for restraint when invoking Robert's Rules needs clarification. It was not Trustee Preston who raised the point of order about the stated requirement for the Committee of the Whole to be chaired by a trustee and not the mayor, it was me.
When trustees take the oaths of office, we do so with the understanding that all will follow the law and the rules. A public body must follow proper conduct, not ignore rules just because someone erroneously thinks otherwise. Joe Annunzio, the Village Attorney and parliamentarian, concurred with my objection, but Mr. Callero merely defiantly blazed on ignoring even his own parliamentarian. It became a world where two plus two equals five.
Our public meetings should conform to the rules, and be followed by elected officials even if they don’t personally like them or want to follow them. Last year Mayor Callero and trustee Przybylo should have shown restraint but stomped out of an ongoing meeting just because they didn’t like the motion made by another trustee. Those of us who remained to do our duty sat there amazed at such behavior. The meeting was never officially adjourned. A sad way to conduct village business.
It is necessary and important to follow the rules of order because the legal functioning of a committee follows upon the legal requirements for a regular meeting. THAT’S THE LAW. The previous mayor was a lawyer and did pretty much what he wanted, when he wanted, rules or no rules. To disregard legal procedures now is to fall back to the days of yesteryear when the mayor could do practically anything he wanted and the trustees collectively nodded their heads to whatever he told them. Hundreds of thousands of dollars, cars and village property were apparently given out to the then mayor’s favorites all seemingly OKed by phone calls to trustees for alleged approval in direct defiance of state law and Robert’s Rules, both which require an official vote of the board IN SESSION.
"Leaderships in state legislative bodies are always attentive to the rules of order; that is often how they maintain control over the assembly, as well as control over their obedient state legislators and state senators who walk around the floor of their respective chambers, do crossword puzzles, chat on cell phones, carry on rambling conversations, eat and drink, scratch their tired and weary heads , all the while waiting for the voting bell to ring reminding them to push their voting buttons as ordered by their leadership.”
Restraint can be deadly. A surgeon should never show restraint to do all that is possible for a patient. A policeman should never show restraint to investigate crimes or enforce the law. A lifeguard should never show restraint to save a drowning person. And a public servant should NEVER SHOW RESTRAINT to follow rules which guarantee an orderly discussion of public policy and vote. Several of us trustees know what to do, and we ought not to be counseled to show restraint just because someone may find a topic boring, tedious or inconveniently true. We are required by law, oath and ethics to do what is right and proper. After a half century of lax enforcement, things apparently have still not changed. Niles has to get on track and follow the law and the rules of order.
Village of Niles Trustee
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