HEBRON – At a packed Village Board meeting Monday, Hebron Village President John Jacobson said he was not resigning.
It was the first Village Board meeting after Jacobson was arrested March 22 on drugs and firearms charges. After a March 17 incident, police said they found cocaine, drug paraphernalia and a shotgun and ammunition in his home.
“You’re all aware of my current legal situation,” Jacobson said before public comment started. “I ask you to please recognize that none of the alleged conduct in any way implicates or involves my capacity as a village official.”
About 40 people and all of the village trustees filled Village Hall, and the board approved all items listed on the agenda except for a mosquito contract for 2016, which was tabled, before Jacobson made his comments and opened up the meeting for public comment.
“I love this town. I care for it. I’ve stressed over it. But that’s all I’m going to say. As far as my personal thing, there’s no more comments,” Jacobson said.
While Jacobson said he does not plan on resigning “right now,” he declined questions from the media on why he made the decision.
After his comments, Hebron resident Inga Santoro presented Jacobson with a petition signed by 232 residents asking for his resignation.
Resident Lisa Georgi then presented a petition to the trustees asking for a full audit of the village by an independent agency.
“This petition includes 215 residents who are requesting this action,” Georgi said. “Take action. Serve the people of Hebron as you are sworn to do. You have been elected to represent us. Make sure that you are representing our best interests as a community.”
During public comments, members of the audience questioned everything from the village’s purchase of holiday lights to the high water bills to Jacobson’s role in the village.
As Jacobson called the meeting to a close, resident John Santoro added in a final comment: “I know you don’t like to discuss your personal life, but your personal life affects this town big time … ”
Jacobson interjected, “I’m not discussing anything. Meeting’s over.”
Trustee Susan Ritzert said after the meeting that while she and other trustees would like to see his resignation, it can’t be forced.
“It’s frustrating, and there’s nothing we can do about it,” Ritzert said.
She also added that the Village Board likely will not do a more in-depth, forensic audit, as the petition asked for, because it already does yearly audits and is scheduled for another one in a couple months.
Trustee Mark Mogan, who emailed Jacobson asking for his resignation after his arrest, said his views have stayed the same.
“He needs to get his life in order,” Mogan said. “If he can’t get his life in order, then how can he run a village?”
Mogan also said that while residents questioned purchases such as the Christmas lights, and asked for the mosquito contract vote to be held until the village gets more bids, he said no information is kept from the public, and residents need to be more involved. It’s not uncommon for a few people to show up at Village Board meetings, he said.
And in the meantime, as a trustee, Mogan said he and others need to keep the village running.
“We just have to keep showing up and doing our job,” Mogan said. “And try not to be too distracted by the collateral results of his actions.”