The purpose of this letter is to respond to the recent issue of alleged break-ins at the County Administration Building.
The investigation of alleged break-ins failed so far to show conclusively that any break-ins occurred. As a County Board member concerned for people’s welfare and safety, I asked a number of questions of staff which revealed the following facts. First, Madison County does not have a policy and standard operating procedure for the distribution of master keys. Second, given the past practices for distributing keys, (no official list was kept) there is currently no foolproof list of who has keys. In fact, it is alleged by one staff member that a previous director of facilities handed out “master keys” as a professional courtesy. In my opinion, this, if true, would be a serious security breach. Third, the master key system has not been updated or changed since the construction of the Administration Building in 1992.
Given the discovery of an apparent lack of security procedures practiced under the previous County Board chairman, an overhaul seems needed. I laud current Facilities Director Rob Schmidt’s efforts to solve previous errors to include; (1) determining all who may currently have master keys, and (2) in consultation with professional security experts constructing a new master system for the securing and distribution of keys. I believe the safety of staff in all departments and securing of the State’s Attorney Office remain paramount. A complete re-keying for the master lock system according to professional industry standards seems long overdue.
Philip W. Chapman
Madison County Board District 3
This is a letter of endorsement for Ron Simpson, candidate for alderman, Fifth Ward, Granite City.
Ron has been a lifelong resident of Granite City, serving as alderman in the Fifth Ward for eight years. As my alderman, I can attest to the excellent job that Ron has done for our city. Ron has been selected to chair both the Insurance and Finance committees over his 8-year tenure. As an alderman, Ron has continually made himself available to the citizens he serves by keeping a landline and responding to a variety of complaints. Among his many accomplishments, Ron was responsible for repaving our streets, as well as making sure potholes were filled as soon as possible.
Ron Simpson is a public servant. On at least one occasion, Ron picked up several bags of leaves for a widow who didn’t have transportation to properly dispose of the leaves. He did it without saying a word ... she found out later it was Ron. That is a true public servant!
I personally have known Ron, his wife, Vicki, and their 3 wonderful children for 38 years. His leadership in his family is commendable and his integrity is unmatched. I whole-heartedly endorse him as alderman for the Fifth Ward in the upcoming election on April 4!
Kathy Lesnoff (Sparks)
President, Mosaic Pregnancy & Health Centers
My name is Stephanie Elliott and I am a candidate for the 6th Ward alderman in the city of Alton. I will be hosting a meet and greet at Maeva’s Coffee from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 25, for my fellow citizens of the 6th Ward.
Please come and ask questions to get to know me and why I would be a great choice on April 4 to represent you on the Board of Aldermen in the 6th Ward.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is Report to the People No. 9 from Madison County Board District 3 representative Philip W. Chapman.
As County Board District 3 representative, in an effort to improve government transparency I provide Report to the People to local papers. I hope you find the information useful.
Courtesy visit Feb. 10: Many thanks to Mayor Preston Hall and to City Engineer Walter Blotevel for explaining ways I might best serve the people of Worden and the surrounding area as their County Board District 3 representative. The mayor and engineer provided me information on three projects that would improve Worden’s infrastructure or could create jobs. Mayor Hall provided me a tour of project sites by car.
Follow-up meeting with Chairman Prenzler Feb. 10: Afterward, I met with County Board Chairman Kurt Prenzler and briefed him on Worden’s needs. I scheduled a meeting for Chairman Prenzler, me, and with Mayor Hall and Mr. Blotevel for Friday, Feb. 17.
Meeting Feb. 17
On Feb. 17, I met with Chairman Prenzler, Mayor Hall and Mr. Blotevel, who provided us a car tour. We discussed specific plans to bring more jobs to Worden, a curb and gutter improvement just south of old Worden, and safety issues related to a narrow road used by emergency vehicles and large trucks east of Worden. Chairman Prenzler and I will follow up on these issues and report back to the mayor.
Floodwater grants: I assisted with the interface between Madison County Community Planning and Development and the Highland City Economic Development Office in reference to grants for Federal Emergency Management Agency-related issues. Kristen Poshard and Lisa Peck have developed a good working relationship to assist with Highland floodwater issues. Many thanks to both for keeping me informed of their progress.
Proposed Highland Senior Citizens’ Center: I attended a meeting Friday, Feb. 17 ,with Mayor Michaelis, city staff and Chairman Kurt Prenzler to discuss creation of the Highland Senior Citizen/Community Center. The Weinheimer Senior Citizen’s Group, led by Elmer Emig, provided immensely valuable information. Interested parties will research possible sites for building or purchasing a usable and convenient structure in Highland. We discussed fundraising and grants but additional planning remains on hold until we determine a possible site and general plan for the building. Chairman Prenzler and I will work to make appropriate resources available. The next organizational meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday, March 17, at the Highland City Hall.
County Board meeting Feb. 15
On Feb. 15, two minutes before the board meeting, County Board member (Michael) Parkinson filed a lawsuit alleging the County Board failed to honor the provisions of the Open Meetings Act. I met with State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons on Feb. 17 to discuss the suit. Mr. Gibbons, who represents the board, stated he believed the suit has no merit. The timing of the lawsuit seems unfortunate as it sparked postponement of an important agenda item that had unanimously passed the Governmental Relations Committee.
No vote to proposed variance
I voted against a variance which would have allowed a manufacturing concern to operate in an agricultural area. I voted against it because (1) the business desiring a variance provided no definite sketch or plan of the building, (2) a lack of information concerning possible impact to neighbors’ property values, and (3) the knowledge that over 50 percent of the neighbors didn’t want the building constructed. I felt an approval of Resolution Z-16-0063 would be unfair to neighbors. Given a possible harm to neighboring property values, I believed approval would fail the test of “due diligence.”
Philip W. Chapman
County Board District Three