Avon Township trustees to consider censuring supervisor Wednesday

  • Terry Wilke, Avon Township supervisor

    Terry Wilke, Avon Township supervisor

  • Avon Township Center on Washington Street in Round Lake Park. Township trustees on Wednesday will consider censuring Supervisor Terry Wilke.

    Avon Township Center on Washington Street in Round Lake Park. Township trustees on Wednesday will consider censuring Supervisor Terry Wilke. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer, 2015

 
 
Updated 2/18/2020 5:21 PM

A rift in Avon Township government continues as trustees have called a special meeting to deal with several items involving Supervisor Terry Wilke, including a planned censure.

Credit cards, the budget process and appointing an independent counsel also are on the agenda for the meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the township office, 433 E. Washington St. in Round Lake Park.

 

Special meetings can be scheduled when three trustees request one in writing and attach an agenda. Township trustees Michele Bauman, Paul Law and Steven Vaughn called for Wednesday's session.

The action and nature of the items to be discussed is further indication of tension between some trustees and Wilke, who they say is secretive at times and has acted without their consent.

A censure is a formal reprimand of an elected or appointed official showing general displeasure with the person's behavior or actions.

Bauman, who has led the effort, said a letter outlining the reasons for the censure will be read at the meeting.

"This is just a symbolic action but still makes a statement of how the trustees of Avon Township feel about his leadership as supervisor," she said.

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Items for discussion Wednesday generally are meant to bring more transparency to township government "so everyone knows what's going on," according to Bauman.

For example, the agenda includes forming a finance committee composed of two trustees, two community members and Wilke.

Much of the contention has been related to financial decisions being made by Wilke without obtaining proper approval, according to Vaughn.

One of those actions was Wilke's purchase last summer of a vacant home near the township office in Round Lake Park. He bought the property for $1 from a "green book" of available Lake County properties as the first example in a township revitalization program.

But some trustees argued Wilke didn't have that authority. Township voters at a special meeting Jan. 13 declared the move "improper and invalid."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Wilke contends the issue was unclear legally. Voters directed the township to hire an independent counsel to sort it out.

Wilke on Tuesday described the proposed censure as an empty gesture that amounted to "political haymaking."

"There's no law that was broken," he said.

The positions of all four trustees as well as supervisor are up for election in April 2021.

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