CHATHAM, IL. (ECWd) –
Chatham, Illinois residents have had ongoing issues with water quality since the city switched to the South Sangamon Water Commission. Several emails have been sent to the mayor requesting a “town hall” face-to-face type meeting which would allow residents to ask questions and engage in a conversation with city officials, including the mayor.
Mayor Gray has repeatedly said “we have nothing to hide”, but his words do not appear to match his actions.
With “nothing to hide” they would certainly meet with residents outside the normal public meetings.
During the August 23 village council meeting, Mayor Gray was asked if he would meet with citizens to discuss the issue. He responded that they should write down their questions and give them to him to answer. When asked if he would meet with the residents and answer the questions in person, he said he would not.
His way of “answering questions” is to maybe at some point in the future, provide written answers to questions submitted, without any possibility of anyone following up with another question or for verification.
It is impossible for the residents to have meaningful interactions with the Mayor, when they can only meet with him during board meetings, and only 5 minutes at a time thru one-way speech. He should respect the residents a little more than that and meet with them for a lengthy discussion.
He claims he isn’t an expert, but refused to even consider a meeting, where he could bring in the water experts to answer any questions.
Is this how the Illinois Municipal League teaches municipalities to interact with their residents?
This discussion starts at about the 43:55:40 mark in the below meeting video:
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