Winfield board calmly delays debating 'rules of civility'

 
 

A planned discussion on civil discourse at Winfield village board meetings never happened Thursday and instead will take place in December.

But at least the delay was done in a civil manner.

For a board that has agreed on very little during the past six months, that represents a positive step.

Village President Deb Birutis had planned to introduce nine "rules of civility" at a committee meeting but Trustee Tim Allen instead asked to delay the talk "indefinitely." After village Attorney David Freeman advised Allen that a date for the discussion had to be set, Allen suggested Dec. 1, 2016.

Trustee Jay Olson suggested the second meeting in December and the board agreed that the civility rules would be discussed on that day.

Trustee Jim Hughes said he supported Birutis' efforts to have the discussion, which would have drafted a resolution that adopted the rules as guiding tenets moving forward.

The village board has been stagnant since new trustees joined the board in April and May with two groups of trustees constantly bickering.

"I do believe this is a sound and reasonable resolution," Hughes said. "What is not certain is the timing. I am OK to see us table the resolution and put it to rest so we can function well as a group tonight."

Unlike most meetings, the village board did seem to make some progress Thursday. Gone from the meetings were the usual back and forth that hijacked most of the meetings since Allen, Trustee Tony Reyes and Hughes joined the board after the April election.

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As a result, the board burned through several items and narrowed down the agenda. At its next meeting, the board is expected to vote on ordinances governing banners and home-based businesses, as well as the reduction of the village's liquor license.

Trustee Jack Bajor said he looked forward to discussing the rules at a future meeting.

"We're all human beings and all of use lose control at different points in time," he said. "We need to really pull things out in front of all of us to discuss them and to come to some type of understanding."

Bajor said the disagreements are something he hopes to move past.

"We are all guilty to some extent and we should share the blame," he said.

At the start of the meeting, Winfield resident Bob Borsodi told the board that the trustees should work together to get things done.

"We have a lot of talent, high-quality, top-shelf talent," he said. "I don't understand the fighting and the bickering and no business getting done. You guys have accomplished nothing and the agenda keeps getting longer and longer ... let's be professionals."

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