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The Independent, Issue 2

The Independent, Issue 2

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Published by Dean Wright

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Published by: Dean Wright on Mar 22, 2013
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03/22/2013

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ind
e
 
 t 
MARCH 22, 2013 ISSUE 2, VOLUME 1
 
pendent
 
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Spend any amount of time with Pat-rick Sellers and it becomes very clear,very quickly that the candidate for Town-ship Supervisor has one thing on hismind:REFORM
 
The Independent candidate is runningagainst incumbent Freeport TownshipSupervisor Sheila Hooper in a Tuesday,April 9
th
Consolidated Municipal elec-tion. The election will determine wheth-er long
-
sought after reform and changewill occur in the office over the next four years.
 
“T
RUST
 
IS
 
EVERYTHING
 
Sellers says he believes that the key tomoving the Freeport Township govern-ment forward is regaining the trust of Freeport taxpayers.
 
“Trust is everything,” says Sellers, afamily resource coordinator with Free- port School District #145. “For any localgovernment to be effective it has to havethe trust of those that pay the bills—thetaxpayers. We owe it to our taxpayersand to our community to provide themwith the best township government wecan. That starts with trust.”
 
Sellers this week proposed a series of reforms that he says will create a newlevel of transparency within the belea-guered township government. The town-ship office has been beset with a series of ethics issues over the past two years— including pay advances for staff andHooper herself, nepotism, and violationsof the Open Meetings Act.
 
T
OWNSHIP
P
AY
G
ATE
 
In 2011 it was discovered that Hooper had given herself an additional $2,300 insalary for the year and illegally voted toincrease her own salary for 2013. It wasalso discovered that Hooper had beengiving herself pay advances all the way back to 2007.The township pay advance scandal,unfortunately, did not stop at just Hoop-er. Several township employees alsoreceived pay advances on request. Oneemployee received a full three months of  pay in advance of working the requiredhours.
 
Hooper’s activities led to the sponsor-ship of Senate Bill 3324 by State Senator Tim Bivins and State Representative JimSacia. This bill will prohibit townshipofficials from receiving pay advances.
 
In addition, Sellers would like thefinancial records of the Township to beavailable to the public. He also says theTownship must begin to produce amonthly expenditure report. Currently,the township provides no such records tothe public.
 
A L
OOK 
 
AT
 
THE
B
OOKS
 
To ensure that tax dollars are beingspent wisely and ethically, Sellers is call-ing for a full and complete audit of all theTownship’s financial records.
 
“There seems to be a lot of questionsregarding the paying of employees andother activities involving Hooper’s fami-ly members,” says Sellers. “I think a fullaudit of the township’s records mighthelp us find some of the answers to thesequestions, but more importantly an exten-sive audit will help us tighten up our  practices.”
 
O
PEN
 
TO
 
THE
P
UBLIC
 
Sellers also advocates for strict adher-ence to the Freedom of Information Act(FOI). During a recent investigation of the Township’s payroll advance scandalmany criticized Hooper’s slow, and attimes unwilling, response to produce per-tinent documents upon request from the public.According to those investigating the pay advance scandal, it took more than12 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)requests to Hooper to obtain informationregarding employees’ salaries. Evenmore troubling was the fact that severalFOIA requests were unable to be ful-filled. Some documents had been de-stroyed by the township office in viola-tion of the public records act.
 
“There is a reason why we have goodgovernment laws like the Open MeetingsAct and the Freedom of InformationAct,” contends Sellers. “It’s so the pub-lic has a way to keep its government andits elected officials accountable.”
 
Continued on Page 2
 
TRUST
a matter of 
How Patrick Sellers’ planto improve transparencywill help regain thepublic’s trust in Townshipgovernment.
Patrick Sellers
 
 
 
2
 
 March 22, 2013
E P A S foFpo Townhp Supvo
 
hp://www.fboo.om/EPASFoFpoTownhpSupvo
 
Trust
 
Continued from page 1
 
Sellers says that the Township gov-ernment must also be open to public over-sight. He says, if elected, he would liketo have a Township website built so that people can have electronic access tomeeting notices, minutes, reports, andother Township news. Sellers believesthat all Township meetings should beopen to the public and that notices for upcoming meetings of the local govern-ment should be posted in a proper andtimely fashion.
 
“Keeping the public out or discourag-ing them from participating in govern-ment is never a good idea,” says Sellers.“I believe the more participation in gov-ernment the better. How you do that ismake your meetings, your documents,your finances, and your operations availa- ble for inspection by the people and tax- payers that have hired you.”
 
Finally, Sellers says he would like tocreate a community board that wouldserve as an additional “eyes and ears” tothe business conducted by the FreeportTownship. This board, he says, would bemade up of community members whohave a heart for good government and for helping people who are in need.
 
Sellers believes that an advisory boardlike this may have stopped the townshipgovernment from spending $124,723more than it needed to. The townshiprecently purchased a new office buildingfor $376,723 when the building was onlyappraised at $252,000. The township hassince sunk an additional $116,139 in re-modeling and furnishings.
 
“Regaining the trust in our FreeportTownship will be my number one priorityif given the honor to serve as its Supervi-sor,” pledges Sellers. “I can’t think of anything more important.”
 
Kathleen M. Altensey
 
I am dedicated aboutmaking positivesteps to reform Free- port Township. Iwill ensure that thetaxpayer dollars arespent on those inneed within our community. I want to regain the trustand make honest, open minded deci-sions to assist our clients and leadthem in a direction that would helpthem obtain a better life.
Joy Harrell Sellers
 
(not related to Patrick A Sellers)
 
I care about the wel-fare of our commu-nity and feel that animportant issue thatneeds to be ad-dressed is fiscal re-sponsibility. I willexplore other availa- ble programs and opportunities so thatFreeport Township is not solely de- pendent on tax payer dollars. I amcommitted to working hard keeping inmind the best interest of the Townshipand its taxpayers and their dollars.
 
Nickee Bender
 
I truly care about mycommunity. I careabout those we servethrough the town-ship services. I be-lieve the most im- portant issue istransparency. I willwork to restore credibility and finan-cial accountability. I am not a rubber stamp. I will put thought and researchinto an issue before voting, alwaysconsidering how to best serve the con-stituents. I am not afraid to speak upwhen something is awry.
 
Diane Lofgren
 
As Township Trus-tee I will oversee thefinancial well
-
 beingof our TownshipGovernment. I will be dedicated to en-suring FreeportTownship is ac-countable, fiscally responsible, pro-fessional and respectful to their cli-ents. I believe the taxpayers of Free- port Township deserve someone thathas their best interest at heart
.
 
Q& A 
Rfom
-
mndd ndd  u whyhy  unnng fo Townhp Tu
 
 
On Tudy, Ap 9h VOTE 4 BARB BURNS!
 
On Tudy, Ap 9h VOTE 4 REFORM!
 
Barb Burns
FOR TOWNSHIP CLERK
RESPECTED DEDICATED TRUSTED

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