April 14, 2015
At the Annual Edwardsville Township Meeting held at the Lincoln Middle School in Edwardsville, IL, citizens gathered to be heard standing against the the issue of building a new Town Hall.
During the budget hearing portion of the meeting Edwardsville Supervisor Frank Miles refused to answer any questions brought by the public, instead offering to write the answers at a later date to those that had attended the meeting.
Questions ranged from how many miles of road the Edwardsville Township maintained, the growth of recent township spending, the lack of general assistance awarded, and to how many paid SIUE interns were on staff at the Town Hall.
Township Lawyer Tonya Genovese had a few weeks earlier denied three petitions to add agenda items to the annual meeting. Those petitions to add agenda items were due before the required March 1 deadline.
Only items on the township agenda can be voted on at the annual meeting.
The key agenda item submitted by the public was an advisory referendum to place the necessity of building a new $2 million Town Hall to a public vote.
The meeting got interesting when electing a moderator to lead the meeting.
Mark Rabe and Mike Campbell were nominated for the position.
The vote for moderator became tied at 11-11 and Genovese did not know how to proceed, as she was seen talking to Supervisor Miles and taking calls on her phone.
Over twenty minutes passed until both sides agreed to pull names from a hat, at which Mark Rabe prevailed as moderator.
The sides were divided with paid elected township officials and employees on one side and regular township residents on the other. Miles, Genovese, and Township Clerk Fred Schulte, as well as the Township Trustee’s voted against the residents and Mark Rabe.
The main agenda item that was struck by Township Lawyer Genovese and Supervisor Frank Miles became contentious when a point of order was made by Doug Hulme, Ron Williams and Pat Hulme.
Edwardsville resident Doug Hulme questioned Genovese about an agenda item approved a year earlier that asked for the township to make a statement to the US federal government about First Amendment issues being denied to American citizens, and pointed out the hypocrisy of the township in denying their agenda items while approving an obviously inappropriate agenda item the year before.
Moderator Mark Rabe questioned Township Clerk Shulte if it was true that the puzzling agenda item from a year earlier was in fact deemed appropriate.
Schultz nodded in the affirmative that it was indeed judged appropriate and voted on at the meeting.
Glen Carbon resident Ron Williams questioned the township’s lack of good faith in responding to the requests, questions and concerns of the citizens, and pointed out that there was a movement state-wide to reduce layers of unneeded Illinois government that do not respond to the wishes of the people
Genovese argued that the agenda items were struck because they were not a proper agenda item for a township annual meeting.
This interpretation was in question by the public.
It is clear Illinois Law allows an advisory referendum for townships, but getting one passed in Edwardsville Township maybe harder than it should.