SAUK VILLAGE | It was the questions that spoke more to the state of Sauk Village than the answers provided by trustee candidates at Saturday’s election forum.
The forum, hosted by the Sauk Village Senior Committee, invited all 14 trustee candidates on the April 9 ballot to attend and answer questions submitted by the residents in the audience.
Nine of the candidates appeared at the forum: Francine Anderson, Tariq El-Amin, Eddie Kimble, Carla Phillips, Jacqueline Clemons, Ed Myers, Liz Zupon, Lynda Washington and Rosie Williams.
Missing were Dishawn King, Helen Washington, Hope Moody, Debra Davis and Jeffrey Morden.
Questions from about 75 residents were chosen randomly. The topics were indicative of the in-fighting and gridlock that has plagued the village for the last four years.
One question put to the candidates was whether or not they understood municipal, state and federal statutes as they relate to village government. The previous administration had many different perspectives on statutes, which led to much arguing and little decision-making at board meetings.
Another question dealt with Robert’s Rules of Orders and whether candidates understood the concept.
The candidates said they did understand and that they planned to adhere to those rules and work together if elected. But it was telling the questions were asked in the first place.
Candidates also were asked about how much volunteer or committee work they had done in the village the past five years. Residents said they were looking for a level of dedication from those running for office.
Of the nine candidates, seven indicated they have spent time on committees. Only two, Kimble and Clemons, stated that they had not, but they pointed out they had spent time on neighborhood groups that corresponded with the village government on local topics.
The financial status of the village was a popular topic among candidates. The village has a large deficit and has had trouble paying bills and making payroll during the economic downturn.
Residents asked the candidates to comment on what they would do to improve the financial status of the village.
Several candidates, including Zupon and Williams, stressed the need for the village to have a finance committee to oversee financial strategy. Others, including Anderson and Washington, said more work was needed to be done to obtain state and federal funds for the village.
Surprisingly, one topic not scrutinized by residents was the status of well and lake water in the village.
Last week, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency released a court order instructing the village to install permanent air strippers on Wells No. 1 and No. 2 and to repair Well No. 3 as a backup.
Some village officials have indicated that they want the village to obtain Lake Michigan water, even though the estimated cost is $20 million.