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*** UPDATED x1 *** What in the heck is going on in Rockford?

Friday, May 29, 2020

* Rockford Register-Star

The Winnebago County Board meets Thursday to consider a resolution condemning Chicago Rockford International Airport Director Mike Dunn for calling board member Dorothy Redd “pathetic and stupid” in a fiery text message he sent her this month.

The controversy began soon after Chairman Frank Haney nominated Mike Schablaske on May 4 to the Greater Rockford Airport Authority Board of Commissioners. Schablaske served as a finance executive at Woodward for many years before leading the Transform Rockford civic organization from 2013 to 2018.

In a May 14 memo to Haney, Redd asked that Haney withdraw Schablaske’s nomination and let whomever voters elect to succeed Haney in November nominate someone to the airport board. Redd’s concern? The airport board lacks diversity. Five of its six members are white, as is Schablaske. Two of the six airport commissioners are women.

When Dunn learned of Redd’s memo to Haney, he sent her a text message that read:

    “I just read your pathetically stupid memo to the chairman re: the airport board. Please be aware if you did your research you would know that there hasn’t been an all-white male board at the airport for over 30 years. Since I have been associated with the airport and or the airport board since 2001, there has at all times been a minority on the board — Judge Gwyn Gulley, Rev. K. Edward Copeland and now, Leslie West. Your idiotic and stupid statements are actually more pathetic than stupid. Do your job. Thank God, the airport board is not and has not been filled with the likes of you.”

A minority”? Rockford is 51 percent white, 21.2 percent African-American and 18.4 percent Latino. But, yeah, the airport board has always had one “minority.” Woo-hoo!

You may not be surprised to see the photos of County Commissioner Redd and Airport Director Dunn…

[Oops. I originally uploaded the wrong pic for Dunn. Fixed now.]

* And the airport board is backing Dunn up

A scathing text message that the city’s airport director sent to a Winnebago County Board member was the communication of a private citizen and does not reflect the opinion of the airport board, said Paul Cicero, chairman of the airport board. […]

“Sounds like a private citizen expressed an opinion,” said Paul Cicero, chairman of the Greater Rockford Airport Authority Board of Commissioners, when asked on Thursday about his opinion of Dunn’s text message. […]

On Thursday, the County Board approved a resolution declaring Dunn’s text message to Redd was “inappropriate in subject matter and tone.” Board members elaborated on that message in a letter to airport commissioners.

“The lack of respect Mr. Dunn showed Ms. Redd is not acceptable from anyone, much less someone who occupies the position he has with the airport,” the letter states. ”… Mr Dunn owes Ms. Redd and the entire County Board on which she serves an apology. In the future we hope that his speech and writings will be tempered with professionalism and respect.”

* Back to the original story

“I have known Mike Dunn for 30 years or maybe more,” said [county board member Angie Goral], D-13. “I am tired of people saying ‘Well, that’s the way he is.’ He doesn’t just owe Dorothy an apology. He owes the whole board an apology. We all need to stay together on this.”

*** UPDATE *** From Gov. Pritzker’s press secretary Jordan Abudayyeh…

Gov. Pritzker has assembled one of the most diverse administrations in state history, because the governor knows representation matters. No public official should use inflammatory language and insults to silence those that call out inequity. The governor urges the Winnebago County Board to take action and make a real commitment to equity.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

21 Comments
  1. - Wizzard of Ozzie - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 2:06 pm:

    I believe that airport is supposed to be receiving some capital money. This equity-centric administration will probably not be as forgiving as the county board is.


  2. - Homebody - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 2:17 pm:

    This is the same (though obviously less severe) as tolerating bad behavior by cops. When you normalize this sort of unacceptable, unprofessional, and demeaning interaction, of course worse things will be allowed to occur.


  3. - Rich Miller - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 2:18 pm:

    Wizzard, I’ve asked for a response.


  4. - Wait... - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 2:26 pm:

    Completely inappropriate in any situation.

    ==This equity-centric administration will probably not be as forgiving as the county board is.==

    Hmmm. I seem to remember a male deputy governor threatening to burn down a female lawmaker’s house.

    I don’t believe the administration even reprimanded the individual or asked the individual to apologize–at least not publicly. Yes, the lawmaker took the high road and dismissed it as a non-issue but a public apology should have been requested by the administration.

    They might want to sit this one out.


  5. - Huh? - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 2:33 pm:

    If the airport director serves at the will and pleasure of the County Board, someone should be asking for a resignation.


  6. - Rich Miller - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 2:35 pm:

    ===They might want to sit this one out===

    You might wanna take a nap.


  7. - Reasonable explainer - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 2:39 pm:

    It’s just like when Trump calls Maxine Waters “low iq”… he’s just a private citizen expressing an opinion, what’s the big deal?


  8. - Jocko - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 2:46 pm:

    ==Thank God, the airport board is not and has not been filled with the likes of you==

    Dunn is lucky he stopped when he did. As Herm Edwards once said, “Don’t press send (exclamation point)”


  9. - Live Wire - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 2:54 pm:

    I think members of the GA that represent the area where the Airport is located make appointments too.


  10. - NIU Grad - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 2:57 pm:

    “Do your job” has become code in our political climate to mean “Sit down, shut up, and rubber-stamp whatever I say.” Coming from an appointed administrator of decades, this is a major red-flag for other organizational issues that need to be addressed.

    Clean house. Rockford deserves better than another political fiefdom.


  11. - Rudy’s teeth - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 3:07 pm:

    Term limits for the board. Someone may have been in the big chair for too long. Reminds me of Ralph Kramden.


  12. - Siualum - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 3:17 pm:

    I have a hunch they’ll be looking for a new airport director soon.


  13. - efudd - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 3:19 pm:

    One whole minority on the board at a time?

    Step aside, Rosa Parks.


  14. - VerySmallRocks - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 3:21 pm:

    If ethnicities were reversed, the Executive Director would have been fired by 5pm Friday.


  15. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 4:20 pm:

    Redd only asked for the voters to decide. Democracy is pathetic and stupid now?


  16. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 4:33 pm:

    Rob Ford had a twin brother, hey?


  17. - JS Mill - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 4:33 pm:

    And now you have little micro-insight into why Rockford has struggled for so long. Small mindedness and provincial attitude.


  18. - Rich Miller - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 4:48 pm:

    I thought for sure somebody would’ve noticed the name of the airport board chairman. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-jhmkcOGAA


  19. - Oswego Willy - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 4:53 pm:

    === I thought for sure somebody would’ve noticed the name of the airport board chairman.===

    Honestly, today has been tough day to things…

    However… I’m glad you dialed that up

    :)


  20. - Sunkissed - Monday, Jun 1, 20 @ 5:29 pm:

    He had a flight cancelled for his daughter’s wedding:

    https://www.wifr.com/content/news/Rockford-flight-cancellation-becomes-political-issue–400204351.html


  21. - Retired airport director - Thursday, Jun 4, 20 @ 9:40 pm:

    Given the level of local tax revenue this airport has been an underachieving operation for a long time.


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