A Wesley Township trustee urges police to stand guard at township board meetings, saying audiences are getting out of control.
“I look forward to the police being at the next several meetings,” Trustee Kathleen Kennedy said in an interview Monday.
Shortly after the board’s meeting a couple of weeks ago, Will County sheriff’s deputies and Wilmington police arrived in response to a call.
According to a Wilmington police report, Kennedy called the police and said 25 to 30 people were near the township building after the meeting and wouldn’t leave. However, after police arrived, people were calm and officers determined the report was “unfounded,” police said.
Kennedy said she left before police arrived, so she didn’t know what officers encountered.
The meeting ended early when the township’s supervisor, JoAnn Quigley, cut short public input after a resident accused her of lying in response to public records requests and undermining the road commissioner.
Quigley gaveled repeatedly, saying, “It’s over.”
In Illinois, government boards are required to take public input.
After the meeting, Kennedy said, there was “heated conversation. Several people were ganging up on one trustee.”
Kennedy said no one apparently filed a complaint when police arrived, which she suspected was the reason the police called her report unfounded.
Quigley said the people outside the township building were not calm. They were yelling at township officials, she said.
Carol Treadman, a Wesley Township resident who attends meetings, said the trustees consider those serving as watchdogs over the township as “bad people.” It was unnecessary to call police after the last meeting, she said.
Treadman and other township critics noted two Wesley clerks have resigned during the last couple years. The critics contend Quigley has locked clerks out of the township’s file room, even though they are the custodians of public documents under state law.
“A lot of (public records requests) are coming back saying the township doesn’t have the documents,” Treadman said.
Quigley said the township is following public records law and clerks have had access to files.
Kennedy said the township has been transparent.
“(The critics) are constantly getting paperwork. There’s nothing substantial in the paperwork that shows wrongdoing,” Kennedy said. “They’re keeping after the supervisor, so she’ll be frustrated and leave. She’s a strong-willed woman; I doubt she will leave.”
Records show the township paid Chicago-based Ancel Glink, a law firm that does much work with townships, spent more than $3,000 a few months ago. Kennedy said she expected the township would get another bill of $4,000 or $5,000 from the firm, mainly to help deal with “gray areas” involving public records requests.
The township is holding a special meeting today to discuss budget issues and the appointment of a clerk, Kennedy said.
The township, population 2,200, collected $284,000 in tax money last fiscal year, according to the state comptroller’s website.