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June 17, 2024

Chatham Mayor Tom Gray Refuses To Meet With Residents Over Water Quality Issues –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On September 2, 2016


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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  • Dave
    Posted at 07:55h, 03 September Reply

    Pretty pathetic when your mayor won’t meet with the citizens…. we have a right to petition govt for redress… meaning to “To set right; to amend”

  • Bob Judd / Chatham
    Posted at 09:43h, 03 September Reply

    The actions by Chatham’s Mayor Tom Gray is a bold example of his arrogance toward the Citizens that he is supposed to be accountable to.. They have an Ordinance in Chatham (I deem it the Chicken Walk Ordinance) that allows the Mayor and the Trustees the privilege of not being required to answer questions that are asked in the public comment portion of the Board meetings..
    They are legally free to answer all questions if they choose to, and on certain occasions they do choose to answer certain questions. But only if the person or question favors their stance on something..
    I.P.L. In Plain Language? They use the Ordinance at their whim in order to pick and choose who and what they wish to respond to..
    That is a legitimate reason they need to repeal the ”Chicken Walk” Ordinance…

  • Andrea Parker
    Posted at 20:00h, 03 September Reply

    Nearly every meeting of the Village board is accompanied by the following from the mayor: No, Your time is up, Jeff?, That’s a personal attack, We aren’t required to…..; Can one of you (Dave, Joe, Matt, etc., answer that? A complete batch of dunderheads. Meanwhile the malfeasance evidence pile gets higher and higher.

  • Jacob G Mason
    Posted at 14:44h, 01 September Reply

    “We have nothing to hide”. Due to recent events, the citizens of Chatham have discovered there was in fact something to hide, Not many things are harder to hide than a 200 million gallon yearly capacity ethanol plant which needed a water source of around 1.5 million gallons of water, daily. Big money names are suddenly popping up and the scale of this is much larger than anyone imagined. This was the true intention on why the South Sangamon Water Commission was created. It is my belief that the local Chatham leadership saw the opportunity to provide the water to the ethanol plant. They conflated the Village’s water into the plan in order to secure the water plant’s construction bonds via property taxes as collateral.

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