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Our View: Leadership is lacking in Oakwood Hills

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT

As of Tuesday afternoon, Oakwood Hills Village Hall still was closed for business and apparently will remain so until Sept. 2.

Village Hall has been closed since Aug. 2 because of reported threats made to village officials over a proposed 430-megawatt, natural gas power plant to be built in Oakwood Hills.

Village Hall should be open now. In fact, it should have reopened when it was determined there were no credible or serious threats made against village officials. That would have been at least two weeks ago, when Oakwood Hills officials confirmed there was no documentation from local authorities relating to threats against village officials.

In response to a Freedom of Information Act request seeking police reports documenting any physical, verbal or other kind of threat to any village official, board member or employee between July 1 and Aug. 1, village FOIA officer Cheryl LoSasso said no documentation existed.

We know the Illinois Attorney General’s office agrees with us. In a letter dated Aug. 22 and sent to Village President Melanie Funk, Chief Deputy Attorney General Brent Stratton told village officials while the office has no opinion on the zoning process of the proposed power plant or on the seriousness of any threats, the village should resume business with the public.

“Even if members of the public continue to express their opposition to the proposed power plant, the village offices themselves could and should be open so that the public can conduct whatever business they have with the village,” Stratton wrote.

Stratton wrote the village should open as soon as possible. Funk, in an email Tuesday, said the village wouldn’t open until Sept. 2 so a new security plan could be implemented. She also said despite Village Hall being closed, many services continued, including police operations and the building department supervisor since he does not require Village Hall to be open. Funk noted that trustees have been available by email and phone.

The entire episode has left us questioning whether current leadership in the village is up to the task of running the village. From the lack of transparency in the zoning process to closing Village Hall for far too long, village leadership has demonstrated anything but leadership.

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