The following Letter to the Editor states the opinions of the author. Patch is serving as a platform for writers to express their views.
Can you keep a secret? In “the good old days” many Niles officials could.
How did taxpayer money get paid to friends of the “good old boys” without residents and even some trustees knowing about it? Years ago Village Board meetings were short with trustees rushing through the agenda as though it was all settled ahead of time.
There were no public comments, minutes were very brief and incomplete. There was little news coverage because there wasn’t much to cover. Finances were handled in secret by a select few. The few committee meetings were not open and there were no minutes. And don’t forget the decisions made as a result of phone calls with no records to be reviewed.
The secrecy of “the good days” explains how cars were “sold” to friends for $10 and bonuses or gifts of $100,000 were given out and why we are still dealing with the financial repercussions of deals made in secret that resulted in inflated pension expenses that we are still paying. It explains why The Responsible Leadership Party is so committed to open meetings, public participation and transparency. As advocates for open government we are committed to giving residents the right to know how their tax money is being spent.
It has been a long time coming but things have finally changed! Now the Finance Committee meetings are publicized, open and minutes are available. Budget meetings are public. Now, residents can even watch the Village Board meetings and budget workshops on cable. The meetings are shown repeatedly on cable and can be reviewed on the Niles Village website.
How did the change happen? Chris Hanusiak, Louella Preston and Jim Hynes, trustees running as the Responsible Leadership Party candidates, worked for televised meetings and improved budget procedures. THEY worked for the taxpayers and for the rights of residents to be informed and have a voice. Our slate supports term limits and I personally circulated a petition to place a term limits referendum on the April 9th ballot to allow residents to vote on the issue.
After being on the Village Board for 24 years Trustee Przybylo voted NO to term limits. He voted NO to televising meetings. He voted NO to holding meetings in December. His actions say that he is longing for the “good old days” with short meetings held only 11 months of the year. NO debate and NO public comments. Is he upset that it is more work to be a trustee now than in the “good old days” of his past 24 years?
Those “good old days” are gone. With the election of the Responsible Leadership for Niles Party there will be no more secrets, no closed meetings, no decisions by phone calls, no missing records and no more taxpayer money being shoveled out the back door while the taxpayers are being denied knowledge of what is happening to their money.
Mary Marusek is a candidate for Niles Village Trustee in the April 9 election.