Lake Zurich Mayor Thomas Poynton said there is nothing wrong with police officers delivering village board meeting packets to elected officials' homes.
Poynton defended the practice, which he reinstituted shortly after taking office last month, after a trustee raised questions about it this week.
Police Chief Patrick Finlon said the document delivery method had not been used “for some time,” but was reinstated after Poynton replaced Suzanne Branding as mayor. Poynton said he wanted trustees to have the same courtesy as members of Lake Zurich's advisory boards and commissions.
“I just felt that as trustees — the $3,000-a-year stipend and very few other benefits to this job — it was small 'pay' for the job and the type of hours these people put in,” Poynton said.
But Trustee Dana Rzeznik, during a meeting this week, questioned whether it's proper for cops to deliver the village board documents. She said she is joining Trustee Mark Loewes in having board documents left for her to collect at police headquarters.
“I'm just wondering why this happened,” Rzeznik said. “I think it's a waste of time by the police officers, a waste of gas (and) resources.”
Poynton said previous village leaders stopped the practice of police bringing the board materials to trustees' homes, typically on a Wednesday in advance of a Monday meeting. He said the service is particularly helpful to Trustees Jim Beaudoin, Daniel Stanovich, Jeffrey Halen and Jonathan Sprawka, who travel “many, many times during the week” and find it difficult to get the documents at the police station.
“I'm comfortable with that little benefit that we give them,” Poynton said, “and I think most of the residents would be as well.”
Beaudoin said he's appreciated the police department effort since taking office in May.
“Personally, as one who has a very busy schedule, it is very difficult for me to take time out of my day to do that (packet pickup). I say, thanks for doing (delivery). And it's a really nice thing to come home on a Wednesday night and have that packet sitting there, so I can get into that.”
Rzeznik said in an interview she doubts trustees who are so busy they need police to deliver board packets would begin reading those documents five days before a meeting. Even if it doesn't cost much to have officers drop off the packets at four of the six trustees' homes, the move is inconsistent for a village government watching expenses, she added.
Finlon said a community service officer can bring the materials to the trustees' homes if someone is home before 3 p.m. Wednesdays. After 3 p.m., he said, an evening shift sergeant decides whether to have one officer handle the chore or divide it between beats.
Packet delivery isn't an issue in Lake County villages such as Grayslake and Vernon Hills, where the documents are sent electronically. In Gurnee, Mayor Kristina Kovarik said community service officers handle the board packet distribution on the Wednesday before a Monday meeting. Libertyville police deliver the village board documents to officials' homes on the Thursday before a Tuesday session.
Rzeznik said Lake Zurich hasn't gone to electronic packets because of problems with wireless Internet connectivity in the Lake Zurich village board's basement meeting room.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.