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*** UPDATED x1 *** Locals behaving badly

Thursday, Mar 11, 2021

* Edgar County Watchdogs

It has come to our attention that the Village of Poplar Grove has been using its official Facebook page for electioneering purposes - in favor of the current Village President, Owen Costanza.

Use of official government communications, like email and social media, for electioneering purposes, is wrong and we urge residents of Poplar Grove to file an official complaint to either the Village’s Ethics Commission (if there is one) or the Illinois State Board of Elections.

This gives an unfair disadvantage to other candidates and gives the impression that the Village is taking sides in the upcoming election. No amount of couching it as an informative listening session or “coffee talk” while advertising it as a “Re-elect Costanza” event could bring it into compliance.

These advertisements also pulled Illinois State Representative Joe Sosnowski into the electioneering issue, since his name is listed as a speaker at this event. He should have known better.

*** UPDATE *** Press release…

State Representative Joe Sosnowski, R-Rockford, issued the following statement today in response to the coffee he hosted in Boone County earlier this week at which Poplar Grove Village President Owen Costanza was a guest:

“The Coffee Talk held at the Boone County Family Restaurant on March 8 was my event, organized by my legislative office as an opportunity for me to update constituents on state issues and listen to feedback from members of the community. As a benefit to constituents, I invited Poplar Grove Village President Owen Costanza to be a guest at the coffee. I have spoken with Village President Costanza, and he has acknowledged that he accidentally shared an invitation on the Village’s Facebook page with his political logo attached to it, making it appear that the event was sponsored by his campaign. Upon being made aware, he immediately removed the image.

“I will take additional precautions when scheduling these events in the future to ensure that all are aware that these are official events not to be associated in any way with an individual campaign or political purpose.”

* Not good…

* Meanwhile, from the BGA

Nearly a year-and-a-half after federal agents raided Lyons Village Hall as part of a sweeping corruption investigation, clean government has become a top issue in the west suburb’s upcoming election as controversial Mayor Chris Getty seeks a fourth term.

Getty, the son of a former mayor who went to federal prison for stealing from the village, is fending off a challenge from residents vowing reform. At the same time, the current mayor has spent nearly $100,000 in campaign funds on legal fees as part of the wide-ranging probe that has hit suburban mayors, state lawmakers, contractors and utility giant Commonwealth Edison.

At stake for Getty is not only maintaining his political power and access to campaign cash, but a significant payday. Should Getty win, he stands to make at least $70,000 in salary for each of the next four years as mayor and liquor commissioner. That’s compared to $10,000 he made in both jobs when he was first elected in 2009. The salaries have been growing steadily since Getty himself pushed the pay hikes through a compliant Lyons Village Board. With insurance and retirement, his total compensation at the end of 2021 will exceed $109,000.

Richard Gatz Jr., a longtime resident of the working-class suburb who was a village board member nearly 20 years ago, is running for mayor along with a slate of board member and clerk candidates on the Village Integrity Party ticket.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Mar 11, 21 @ 9:52 am:

    Costanza, eh?

    Serenity now (banned punctuation)

  2. - Downstate - Thursday, Mar 11, 21 @ 9:53 am:

    I live in a town with a greater population than Lyons, and our Mayor makes less than $30k/year.

  3. - Masker - Thursday, Mar 11, 21 @ 10:00 am:

    You get what you vote for.

  4. - JS Mill - Thursday, Mar 11, 21 @ 10:05 am:

    I have always said the small towns invented corruption, big cities just made the numbers bigger.

  5. - Flyin' Elvis'-Utah Chapter - Thursday, Mar 11, 21 @ 10:10 am:

    What JS Mill said-

    There’s no corruption like the corruption from local muckety-mucks.

  6. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Mar 11, 21 @ 10:29 am:

    Examples 7,341 and 7,342 to the importance of local information and awareness to local politics.

    While others want a partisan bite to information, the most important takeaway is awareness around your own backyard will shine a light on things others might want ignored.

  7. - TheInvisibleMan - Thursday, Mar 11, 21 @ 10:39 am:

    corruption in small towns is often right out in the open.

    ECW started to look into plainfield township corruption after receiving a tip from a township employee, but then turned a blind eye to it after talking to the township supervisor and finding they shared the same political ideology.

    About a year later the same township supervisor was arrested by the US secret service for embezzlement.

    ECW will turn a blind eye to corruption when it’s convenient for them. Which ironically, is pretty much the definition of corruption.

  8. - Fmr Prairie Stater - Thursday, Mar 11, 21 @ 10:45 am:

    Has Poplar Grove incorporated over the last few years? Last I remember it was an unincorporated village with no legal status.

  9. - JS Mill - Thursday, Mar 11, 21 @ 10:48 am:

    =the importance of local information and awareness to local politics.=

    Amen to that.

  10. - Steve Rogers - Thursday, Mar 11, 21 @ 10:48 am:

    Is the website also touting his credentials as an architect? I think he always wanted to be a fake architect.

  11. - Downstate - Thursday, Mar 11, 21 @ 11:00 am:

    The ability to steal funds from smaller entities is sadly too easy. One parent, in our region, overseeing the little league program was able to pocket $17k/year without anyone realizing it.

    Another individual “graciously” served as a city clerk for two small communities. She was robbing from both.

    And finally, the Dixon, Il fiasco is a perfect example of how easy and long a scam can be perpetuated where longevity in office served as the cover for the $53 million in funds that were stolen by that community’s city treasurer.

  12. - Club J - Thursday, Mar 11, 21 @ 11:07 am:

    **** ECW will turn a blind eye to corruption when it’s convenient for them. ****
    One of the ECW filed suit against the Governor with DeVore over the Governor’s executive orders. When they those all went in the loss column it was never heard about again. It’s easy to only report on the stories that fit your agenda.

  13. - Bruce( no not him) - Thursday, Mar 11, 21 @ 11:23 am:

    This was posted in the comments on the Edgar County Watchdogs story. For what it’s worth.
    County Clerk needs education?

    Posted at 23:27h, 10 March REPLY

    From Boone County Clerk Julie Bliss:

    “There are no electioneering laws in Illinois regarding social media.

    Electioneering laws that fall within the scope of the Boone County Clerk’s office or the State Board of Elections only apply to the physical polling location during polling hours, which also includes early voting polling in my office. If there are any ethical questions about electioneering that occur outside the scope of the Boone County Clerk’s office or the State Board of Elections, then the issue should be referred to either the district in which the possible ethical violation occurred or filed with the State’s Attorney’s office.”

    Julie A. Bliss (FKA Stapler)
    Boone County Clerk & Recorder
    1212 Logan Ave #103
    Belvidere, IL 61008
    (815) 544-3103

  14. - Sporty41 - Thursday, Mar 11, 21 @ 12:10 pm:

    Poplar Grove has incorporated as a Village and has been so since the 1950’s. During the 2000’s its population went from 500 to now almost 6000 in a 10 year span. Surprisingly, there isn’t a single poplar in the town.

  15. - thisjustinagain - Thursday, Mar 11, 21 @ 12:25 pm:

    Riverdale’s incumbent mayor sent campaign mail out in envelopes saying “Mayor Lawrence L. Jackson/Village of Riverdale as part of the return address. (Rich: I have the envelopes and one of the pieces of literature that came in them). I’m tired of filing complaints with Illinois state agencies and having them fail again and again to address the issues raised, or taking far too long to address them. I have to write a detailed ISBE complaint, have it notarized and they’ll likely do nothing. As usual.

  16. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Mar 11, 21 @ 12:30 pm:

    ===I have the envelopes and one of the pieces of literature===

    Send it.

  17. - Yo yo mama - Thursday, Mar 11, 21 @ 12:44 pm:

    So who did Getty flip on to give him the confidence to run for re-election as both mayor and township sup?

  18. - EssentialStateEmployeeFromChatham - Thursday, Mar 11, 21 @ 3:14 pm:

    While on the subject of misbehaving local politicians, Springfield Ward 2 Alderman Shawn Gregory has faced scrutiny after his involvement in a physical altercation last week. Mayor Langfelder originally defended the alderman for not resorting to weapons in the fight, but then walked back his statements after criticism by the police union.

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