Friday, May 2, 2014

King Gleason Is At It Again

Like most municipalities, Mount Pleasant allows a public comments session before village trustee board meetings begin. Residents have a few minutes to talk on record about whatever they wish.

Like a lot of municipalities, the public comments session is not a discussion. Trustees do not respond or ask questions. Speak your mind and move along.

Unlike a lot of municipalities, Mt. Pleasant has an ordinance which says when the discussion by board members on agenda items have concluded - "any speaker recognized by the chair may address the village board."

How that has looked in the past is: say there is an item on the agenda like borrowing $350,000 from the village sewer utility to complete a firing range for police officers.

Board members discussed the range, with one trustee pointing out whether those funds can be more or less raided by the board because taxpayers paid that money for the use and upkeep of the sewer utility - not a firing range.

A point like that might (and did) inspire some questions from residents who raised their hands at the conclusion of the board discussion. The chair of the meeting - in most cases - the Village President would call on them and each resident would have three minutes to speak. Instead, they stood with their hands in the air, completely ignored by the chair, Mark Gleason.

For as long as can be remembered, every past Village President has participated and honored this ordinance. Even "acting" Village Presidents have allowed residents to speak to an agenda items - not just because it's a village rule, but because it is good governance.

All of them, until Mark Gleason.

For over a year now, residents have stood, raised their hands and waited to be recognized (like they have for years) to add their thoughts to items on the agenda and Mark Gleason has ignored them. Trustees have objected to this new practice - but Gleason is having none of it.

This is what Gleason had to say last year on the subject:

So, that wasn't dickish at all. Gleason maintains that because the ordinance reads "recognized by the chair," if he doesn't recognize them, then it don't count. He also maintains that village attorney's (paid for by village residents) have cleared him for the unprecedented behavior.

This all may be true, but certainly violates the spirit in which the ordinance was written and put into practice for many years. Gleason doesn't care. He doesn't even pay his taxes!

Yep, this is the same guy who as of March 26, 2014 owed $26,000 in unpaid taxes and last year was over 260 days late in paying the previous year's taxes. Why in the world would he be interested in letting people who actually do pay their taxes weigh in on village business?

Amazing isn't it? When, perhaps, someone other than the lonely Racine County Eye and the few people who have tried to get attention to this finally do get some attention - Gleason will have to explain his behavior.

Until then he's not talking, he's not returning calls and he's not gonna let you speak.