The relative peace at Carpentersville village hall that's existed in the two years since Ed Ritter replaced Bill Sarto as village president is officially over.
Doug Marks, a new Carpentersville trustee sworn in just last Tuesday, has wasted no time in using social media channels to bash Ritter for excluding him from finance-related committees. Marks also took to Facebook Friday, urging his friends to question the validity of a waste water treatment plant upgrade expected to cost nearly $2 million. In the same post, he threatened to involve Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan if the village continued to "stonewall" him on the issue.
Before seeking a trustee's seat, Marks ran as a Libertarian for the 14th Congressional District. During the run-up to the Carpentersville election, the village's budget was squarely in Marks' sights.
Ritter recently appointed fellow freshman trustee Don Burroway as well as Humberto Garcia, who ran for a trustee seat and lost, to the audit and finance commission. The board is scheduled to vote on those appointments Tuesday.
In a missive Marks posted to his trustee Facebook page Friday afternoon, he calls Ritter on the carpet for protecting Carpentersville's image at his expense.
"He has excluded me in an effort to keep anyone from asking questions about the expenditures but he forgot one tiny little thing. I'm still on the board. He is so concerned about keeping a front of harmony and peace that any disagreement, even at the committee level, is not tolerated. Guess what Ed? I am left with no choice but to bring ALL my statements to the board meetings. Have fun with that. You've just sealed your fate. In two years, you're done."
In a subsequent interview, Marks relayed a conversation he and Ritter had in which Ritter said he'd keep Marks "on the outside" if he didn't fall in line with the others.
Ritter's recollection of the conversation differs from Marks'.
"I just told him that over the last two years, our board has worked together," Ritter said, alluding to the divided board that Sarto oversaw. "We've discussed things openly and we've come in without preconceived ideas about what we're going to find. If (Marks) comes forward with the same spirit, things will continue to improve in Carpentersville."
There was only one trustee seat available on the audit and finance committee, and Ritter decided Burroway was the better fit. Ritter will recommend Marks for the village's improvement committee, which focuses on graffiti removal, an annual paintathon and the Adopt A Block cleaning project.
"I'm livid," said Trustee Paul Humpfer, who ran with Marks in the April election. He chairs the audit and finance commission and intends to block the appointments Tuesday. "I don't understand it. It smacks of punishment."
Meanwhile, to the wastewater treatment project Marks says the village staff hasn't justified why the project is as expensive as it is.
Village Manager J. Mark Rooney didn't reply to Marks' emails because he was researching the answers to his questions that he presented at Thursday's audit and finance commission meeting. Marks said he didn't attend the meeting due to a prior engagement.
"I did not know he was not going to be present," Rooney said.