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May 29, 2024

Chaos and Hypocrisy Front and Center at Veterans Assistance Commission Meeting –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On September 14, 2022

Will County – (ECWd) –

Chaos and hypocrisy were front and center at the Veterans Assistance Commission of Will County’s meeting as 8 alleged executive committee members who have not been appointed to the Commission but still occupy a seat, restricted those who were actually appointed from speaking and voting, removing them from closed meetings, and threatening to arrest them for exceeding a non-existent public comment time-limit. The meeting ended with the executive committee walking out of the meeting and leaving the attending Veterans without a quorum.

At approximately 47:51 in the meeting video, alleged Chairman Jack Picciolo (who can’t remember when, nor which organization ever selected him as a Delegate) decided that since Plainfield American legion Post 13 submitted its amended Delegate/Alternate appointment form a few days after the March 31, 2022, cut-off date, Tom Mlynek was still the delegate and not William Sutton, who was named in the amended form.

Incidentally, the proper Delegate and Alternate from American Legion Post 13 are the only two people of color properly designated as members of the Commission, and both were continually snubbed by Chairman Picciolo and Secretary Denise Williams by their refusing to acknowledge they were the proper delegates and refusing to permit them to vote, even though they were counted as part of the quorum and permitted to Motion and Second on Motions. Several months ago, a commissioner referred to them as “the Brown Boys” and later apologized to one of them.

Then Chairman Picciolo completely ignored the fact that he, along with 7 other executive committee members were never selected as a delegate or alternate in 2022 – but turned around and disqualified a delegate who was named in early April 2022, while at the same time silently accepting two executive committee members whose forms were submitted in late-July (one from an organization not qualified to submit delegates). I hope he sees the hypocrisy in his actions.

Chairman Picciolo continued by misquoting the Military Veterans Assistance Act (“MVAA”), which does not state there is only one vote per Veteran Service Organization (“VSO”).

With verbal objections from the AL-13 delegate, Chairman Picciolo continued to ignore those objections and insisted on continuing with the meeting.

Denise Williams, the alleged Secretary, who cannot possibly have been appointed as a delegate from the American Gold Star Mothers – Department of Illinois because that organization does not meet the statutory requirements of the MVAA to appoint delegates to this Commission, continued with her unwarranted jabs at commission employees. Meeting minutes are the job of the secretary, not the job of a commission employee.

Amanda Koch, alleged commissioner, and County Board Member blamed “the staff” for not sending out information to the commission when that is once again the job of the secretary. Koch is not authorized under state law to occupy a commission seat due to the conflict of interest created with contractual relationships between the VAC and the county, and the conflicts of interest were acted upon when Koch twice voted as a county board member to grant the VAC a $495,000 grant (See Section 1).

Throughout most of the meeting, even though counted for a quorum and permitted to Motion and Second on Motions, the secretary refused to even call for a vote from the Plainfield American Legion Post 13’s legally appointed Delegate or Alternate.

All the Motions to approve past meeting minutes were tabled because the board secretary failed to ensure the entire commission received copies they could review prior to the meeting.

It was alleged that alleged Commissioner Horne (who is not a delegate or alternate) apparently wants to take funds from homeless Veterans to pay for an attorney to fight the lawsuit brought against him and others for illegally sitting as commission members without being selected as a Delegate or Alternate by a VSO in 2022 as the MVAA requires them to be.

At approximately 1:19:29 in the video, Tom Mlynek stated that he was never told he was not the delegate for AL-13, however, his own words on video during the May 17, 2022 meeting confirm he knew then he was not a Delegate and decided he would represent the 40 & 8 instead (read this article and watch the video) – but they are not a VSO eligible to appoint Delegates or Alternates to the Commission. He has apparently abandoned that argument and went back to “I wasn’t told” even though he was told and admitted to knowing it months ago.

At 1:20:00 in the meeting, alleged commissioner Amanda Koch abandoned the meeting.

Alleged secretary Williams tried to place blame on fund balances on staff by alleging the committee directed staff to move the funds at the last two meetings. Williams still does not realize the committee and the Commission cannot and do not have statutory authority to direct any employee to do anything. The Commission, not the committee, can direct the Superintendent, but there is currently no Superintendent. The Superintendent is the only person in the statute who can direct employees to do anything, and he is also the only person who can hire and fire employees.

During this part of the meeting, the commission appointed several attorneys but refused to call for votes from the legitimate delegates/alternates.

After considerable discussion, the commission adopted a public comment policy of five minutes per speaker with a total of one hour for public comment during all meetings of the commission and meetings of committees of the commission. Alleged board member Wayne Horne voted twice to not permit Veterans and others five minutes to speak.

When attempting to vote on appointing a Superintendent of the Commission, Chairman Picciolo, at 1:48:57, stated that the bylaws and the Military Veterans Assistance Act gave him the authority to appoint the superintendent – he could not have been more wrong even if he tried. Section 10 of the MVAA grants appointment authority to the “Commission” – meaning to each and every Delegate and Alternate. There is no language in the MVAA permitting the Chairman to appoint. Any alleged authority purportedly granted in the bylaws is invalid as it would not comply with state law.

When questioned on the appointment powers and a printed copy of the law placed in front of them, alleged secretary Denise Williams Motioned to immediately adjourn the meeting and then alleged commissioner Wayne Horne abandoned the meeting, while running his mouth on the way out.

Prior to leaving the meeting, Tom Mlynek stated again, twice, that he was removed as a Delegate – but he continued to sit there and vote on items knowing he was not a delegate.

We urge all interested parties to attend the next meeting of this Commission.

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