Normal’s Festivities last night

By: Diane Benjamin

Must see Public Comments:

  1. Ron Ulmer at 3:51. Technical problems kept him from speaking at the last Council meeting so he gave his comment last night. He provided history of trains in Uptown and the obvious problems both the Town and railroad missed which cost taxpayers a lot of money. He asked how the same problems can be avoided with an underpass.
  2. Doug Fansler at 7:00. He states he was told he could not comment on two agenda items (Minutes and Bills). That is not in the public comment policy so somebody at the Town went rogue and made up their own rules. Doug then proceeded to talk about a non-agenda item: the “attack” Stan meeting. He accused council members of making unsubstantiated claims against Stan and the mayor of recruiting the only public comment when the agenda wasn’t published.
  3. Karl Sila at 10:05. Karl also spoke off agenda about last week’s “attack” Stan meeting and the obvious staged public comment. He expressed support for Stan Nord and stated since Normal has no ethics policy they can’t accuse Stan of breaking it. He also mentioned the Citizens Summit – must hear!

Two other public comments happened at the end of the meeting:

  1. Uptown business owner – Jennifer Perts (sp?) She loves Uptown but is upset a smoke shop opened a business next to hers. She submitted a petition to the Council asking them to tighten ordinances to control the types of businesses allowed in Uptown. It will be interesting to see if the Council respects her petition because she’s an Uptown business owner while they ignored the Blackstone Trails and mural petitions.
  2. David Blumenshine at 1:03:00. He spoke in support of Stan Nord as a person who actually represents citizens. He called last weeks “attack” Stan meeting uncalled for.

Stan Nord pulled numerous items from the Omnibus Agenda, the rest of the council didn’t pull anything. Funny how that didn’t stop them from chiming in anyway. Evidently the new way of doing a meeting is letting Stan state the obvious and then tell him he’s wrong.

Nord only voted against two items, the only no vote: Pam Reece’s raise and the agreement with the McLean County Regional Planning Commission.

Stan voted against Pam Reece’s salary increase because he wanted the Executive Session minutes released so citizens could see why Council members gave her a raise. Evidently the minutes aren’t ready yet, but the Council will decide in July whether to release them, I can tell you now the answer will be NO. They don’t want you to know why a person with 3 years experience makes over $200,000 a year.

Attorney Brian Day didn’t see a conflict of interest in MCRPC hiring Julie Hile’s firm for their transportation plan while she sits on the Connect Transit Board. Stan did and voted no on paying them $54,000 for planning services.

Stan questioned this expense:

Evidently this company is paid to manage the parking deck. If income don’t cover expenses the Town writes a check. So far in 2021 the Town has forked over $56,000. Stan thinks the Council could save money by making parking free. No reaction from the Council.

The meeting was relatively short, skip through the video if you want to see other items Stan brought up. The Public Comments are MUST WATCH. I wonder if Chris Koos will have a new Public Comment policy at the next meeting since two speakers didn’t follow his ridiculous rules.

Brian Day didn’t see conflicts of interest but citizens see them all the time. Now is a good time to review the ICMA code of ethics:

Tenet 3

Demonstrate by word and action the highest standards of ethical conduct and integrity in all public, professional, and personal relationships in order that the member may merit the trust and respect of the elected and appointed officials, employees, and the public.

Tenet 5

Submit policy proposals to elected officials; provide them with facts, and technical and professional advice about policy options; and collaborate with them in setting goals for the community and organization.

Tenet 6

Recognize that elected representatives are accountable to their community for the decisions they make; members are responsible for implementing those decisions.

Tenet 9

Keep the community informed on local government affairs; encourage communication between the citizens and all local government officers; emphasize friendly and courteous service to the public; and seek to improve the quality and image of public service.

Do deals for friends demonstrate the highest standards?

Do arbitrary decisions instill confidence?

Does not providing all details of agenda items violate Tenet 5? (all bids submitted)

Elected representatives are accountable to the community? Stan is, do the others know?

Encourage communication? Like a stacked Citizens Summit where only

hand picked people were supposed to attend? Does the Public Comment

policy encourage communication? (not the type they like)

Pictured is Wayne Aldrich who is retiring.

10 thoughts on “Normal’s Festivities last night

  1. The only surprise from last night’s meeting was that Koos did not stack the deck with his friends as public comment speakers. People like Dave Shields to tell us how privileged we are “to live in the best small city in the country.” Or, Julie Hile or her life partner Bob telling us how dangerous Stan Nord is to the health and group think of the Normal Town Council. Or, maybe we could her from Paul Harmon or Uptown Girl Cheryl and how wonderful Queen Pamela is. Better yet, let’s end with a group hug minus bully Stan and all go home.

      1. Koos got beat at his own game. If he interrupts then that plus the previous week’s non agenda comment proves harassment as Nord has claimed. BTW in last week’s non agenda comment by the Nord buster, could Stan have called for point of order? Under current comment policy he could have noted his objection to a comment being presented that was not on the published agenda.

  2. Accurate summary. One additional item I think is relevant. I asked on two items if staff communicated with businesses and property owners who may be negatively impacted by decisions we were asked to make last night. I then encouraged staff to communicate more in the future because constituents have said lack of communication by the town was a reoccurring concern. I figured this was good practice anyway since it is called out in Tenent 9 of the ICMA code of ethics which says “encourage communication between the citizens and all local government officers.” And Tenent 4 “ Members should inform their governing body of the anticipated effects of a decision on people in their jurisdictions, especially if specific groups may be disproportionately harmed or helped.”

    The problem is the mayor chimed in and told me not to instruct staff to do anything without the support of the council majority. So the ICMA code of ethics means nothing because the council as a whole must first agree for staff follow it.

    At the last council meeting when I brought up the ICMA ethics Pam Reece said she does follow it. The consistently changing rules and reasoning depending on the day is why I don’t trust anything that is said at council meetings.

    Normal needs their own defined ethics policy with a process for complaints and consequences. There will remain zero accountability or trust in government without some basic ethical standards. I expect this public conversation will never see the light of day. The mayor and manager control the agenda, unless 4 council members are willing to put down their rubber stamp, put the interests of the residents first, and break rank.

    Stan Nord – Citizen representative on the Normal Council

  3. WOndering how Brian Day passed the bar when he can’t even recognize a conflict of interest.

    1. Brian Day does not look out for the interests of taxpayers. His job is to protect and argue in favor of what his boss, Pam Reece, wants. Even someone caught red handed has a lawyer arguing their case. If Pam were OJ Simpson, then Brian Day would be Johnny Cochran.

  4. Does the Dance school lady, Jennifer, realize that she has the oldest Head Shop in Illinois, Mother Murphy’s right across the street from her business? I don’t plus 2 liquor stores 2 other smoke shops and several bars within 2 blocks of her studio?

    or is this just a personal beef with the new store?

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