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Correction: Coffee With The Mayor in West Chicago Cancelled Until Further Notice

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The following news story appeared on the West Chicago Voice on 10/31/2023. We were contacted by city administrator, Michael Guttman on 11/1/2023 stating he never received an email from us asking for proof of the existence of the ALJ’s directive that the parties were not to communicate directly with each other. In our attempts to verify the existence of the administrative law judge’s directive, Michael Guttman told us about,

Quote from the administrator, “The matter in which you seeking comment is currently pending litigation, and as such, City officials are not able to speak about it.  In fact, I was informed that the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) presiding over this case specifically stated that the parties are only to communicate through their lawyers and in the hearing itself.  The City will not disobey or disrespect the directive that the ALJ issued”

We composed an email to Mr. Guttman on or around 10/27/2023, but according to him, it was not received. We are unable to locate it in our drafts or sent folder, so apparently he did not receive it. He subsequently stated that he checked with the IT department and they found no record of it being received on the city’s server. The West Chicago Voice apologizes for the error in stating that our email went unanswered. We have since inquired about the existence of the directive he stated exists and told us about via email. The other party says they and their attorney are unaware of any directive. We requested a copy of it from the city attorney, Sean Conway as well as submitted a FOIA request for a copy or transcript to validate its existence.

Coffee with The Mayor in West Chicago Is Cancelled Until Further Notice

On  October 19, the city of West Chicago posted on its website that residents were invited to attend a casual event called “Coffee With the Mayor”. The invitation was also extended to residents via social media.

This is not a new event for the city, these meetings have been happening as a regular monthly feature for years and then they were changed to a quarterly event. Having an opportunity for residents to engage in a relaxed atmosphere is a dynamic idea and a much-needed way for people to engage with our municipal administration because many residents may not feel comfortable speaking publically or in a formal setting such as a city council meeting.

On Friday, in addition to many residents on social media,  Dan and Jody Bovey also saw this invitation and felt it would be a perfect opportunity to voice their concerns and to be able to ask directly for Mayor Pineda’s intervention with an ongoing struggle they’re having with the City of West Chicago. They’re currently in litigation with the city regarding a greenhouse they’ve been building on their property since 2020. According to the Boveys, they felt talking to the mayor directly, in a relaxed atmosphere might produce different results to the matter where they feel they’ve previously met opposition. They claim they’ve tried to contact him but emails and phone calls weren’t returned. They’ve felt restricted and have come away frustrated after other formal proceedings. (More on this to follow)

*Clarification, if it was not clear in the original article, community development for the City of West Chicago is suing the Boveys in the aforementioned litigation over their greenhouse project , the Boveys are not suing the city. The Boveys say they have had no prior interactions or issues with mayor, and they say despite 7 previous attempts to communicate with him he has not replied to their efforts at communicating. It is also claimed by Dan Bovey that he was not loud, rude or disrespectful whatsoever during the attempted meeting with the mayor, he said he was calm and pleasant and witnesses seem to back up that claim. An additional  witness told the Voice it seemed the attorney’s demeanor could have been interpreted as being somewhat aggressive towards the Boveys and the witness felt that was a contributing factor to the incident. We were not at the meeting and weren’t witnesses ourselves. 

This type of casual gathering, which aims to strengthen community bonds and provide an opportunity for residents to engage directly with the head of the local community, took a turn when the Boveys and two of their neighbors who came to the meeting to support them, arrived at city hall for the meeting and were allegedly denied the right to speak to the mayor.

Upon learning of this breakdown in communication occurring at the meeting, we reached out to Mayor Pineda for comment and he stated, “It was not a rough coffee with the mayor. There was a topic brought up, per the court, that was stated could not be discussed. The attorney was there to state that fact. I cannot comment any further.”

[The West Chicago Voice attempted to contact the city administrator and city attorneys but is unable to verify the existence of the aforementioned court order as we received no reply to our emails.]

CORRECTION: After the publication of this story, City administrator, Michael Guttman emailed us and said that he never received any subsequent email from the West Chicago Voice and said he asked the city’s IT department to search for it on the servers and they are unable to locate it. We apologize and thought it was sent. We send many emails and occasionally, a glitch may happen. If a copy of the directive/“gag order” in question is provided, we will confirm its existence.

Later in the day on the 28th, a notice appeared on the City’s website announcing the event had been canceled until further notice.

Coffee with the Mayor has traditionally served as a platform where West Chicago residents can interact with their elected officials in a casual and friendly atmosphere. Its cancellation comes as a surprise and disappointment for community members who have valued the opportunity to voice their concerns, offer feedback, ask questions, and share ideas directly with their mayor.

This Coffee with the Mayor event has previously been a successful avenue for community building, but this recent controversy has cast a shadow over its future. As residents await further updates and clarification regarding the cancellation, there is a growing demand for transparency, accountability, and an open dialogue between the city administration and its citizens.

The cancellation of the event has raised important questions about communication between the local government and its constituents. As the community awaits a resolution to this matter, West Chicago’s residents are encouraged to continue engaging with their elected officials in public meetings such as committee/commission meetings and city council meetings, by writing letters to the editor and emailing elected council members to ensure that their voices are heard and that their concerns are addressed in a fair and transparent manner by their local government.

It’s imperative that a constructive and inclusive platform for discussion will be reinstated in the near future. It’s important for residents to take a proactive role in matters that are important within the community. They are encouraged to continue to advocate for the issues by actively participating. Going forward, The City of West Chicago is encouraged to reinstate coffee with the mayor or find alternative opportunities for residents to engage directly with their elected officials. The community wishes to see residents and elected officials engaging and communicating in meaningful conversations.

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Se cancela el café con el alcalde en West Chicago hasta nuevo aviso

El 19 de octubre, la ciudad de West Chicago publicó en su sitio web que los residentes estaban invitados a asistir a un evento informal llamado “Café con el alcalde”. La invitación también se extendió a los vecinos a través de las redes sociales.

Este no es un evento nuevo para la ciudad, estas reuniones se han realizado como una característica mensual regular durante años y luego se cambiaron a un evento trimestral. Tener una oportunidad para que los residentes participen en una atmósfera relajada es una idea dinámica y una forma muy necesaria para que las personas interactúen con nuestra administración municipal porque muchos residentes pueden no sentirse cómodos hablando públicamente o en un entorno formal como una reunión del concejo municipal.

El viernes, además de muchos residentes en las redes sociales, Dan y Jody Bovey también vieron esta invitación y sintieron que sería una oportunidad perfecta para expresar sus preocupaciones y poder pedir directamente la intervención del alcalde Pineda en una lucha en curso que están enfrentando. tener con la ciudad de West Chicago. Actualmente están en un litigio con la ciudad por un invernadero que han estado construyendo en su propiedad desde 2020. Según los Bovey, sintieron que hablar con el alcalde directamente, en un ambiente relajado, podría producir resultados diferentes al asunto en el que se sienten. anteriormente se encontraron con oposición. Se han sentido restringidos y han salido frustrados después de otros procedimientos formales. (Estén atentos a West Chicago Voice para un artículo futuro sobre el proyecto del invernadero Boveys)

Este tipo de reunión informal, que tiene como objetivo fortalecer los vínculos comunitarios y brindar una oportunidad para que los residentes interactúen directamente con el jefe de la comunidad local, dio un giro cuando llegaron los Bovey y dos de sus vecinos que asistieron a la reunión para apoyarlos. en el ayuntamiento para la reunión y supuestamente se les negó el derecho a hablar con el alcalde.

Al enterarnos de esta falla en la comunicación que ocurrió en la reunión, nos comunicamos con el alcalde Pineda para solicitar comentarios y él afirmó: “No fue un café brusco con el alcalde. Se planteó un tema, según el tribunal, que se afirmó que podría “No se puede discutir. El abogado estaba allí para declarar ese hecho. No puedo hacer más comentarios”.

[Es importante tener en cuenta que, después de intentar contactar al administrador de la ciudad y a los abogados de la ciudad, The West Chicago Voice no puede verificar la existencia de la orden judicial antes mencionada porque no recibimos respuesta a nuestros correos electrónicos.]

Más tarde, el día 28, apareció un aviso en el sitio web de la ciudad anunciando que el evento había sido cancelado hasta nuevo aviso.

El café con el alcalde ha servido tradicionalmente como una plataforma donde los residentes de West Chicago pueden interactuar con sus funcionarios electos en una atmósfera informal y amigable. Su cancelación es una sorpresa y una decepción para los miembros de la comunidad que han valorado la oportunidad de expresar sus inquietudes, ofrecer comentarios, hacer preguntas y compartir ideas directamente con su alcalde.

Este evento Café con el Alcalde ha sido anteriormente una vía exitosa para la construcción de comunidades, pero esta reciente controversia ha ensombrecido su futuro. Mientras los residentes esperan más actualizaciones y aclaraciones sobre la cancelación, existe una creciente demanda de transparencia, rendición de cuentas y un diálogo abierto entre la administración de la ciudad y sus ciudadanos.

La cancelación del evento ha planteado cuestiones importantes sobre la comunicación entre el gobierno local y sus electores. Mientras la comunidad espera una resolución a este asunto, se alienta a los residentes de West Chicago a continuar interactuando con sus funcionarios electos en reuniones públicas como reuniones de comités/comisiones y reuniones del concejo municipal, escribiendo cartas al editor y enviando correos electrónicos a los miembros del concejo electos para garantizar que sus voces sean escuchadas y que sus preocupaciones sean abordadas de manera justa y transparente por su gobierno local.

Es imperativo que en un futuro próximo se restablezca una plataforma de debate constructiva e inclusiva. Es importante que los residentes asuman un papel proactivo en asuntos que son importantes dentro de la comunidad. Se les anima a seguir defendiendo los problemas participando activamente. En el futuro, se alienta a la ciudad de West Chicago a restablecer el café con el alcalde o encontrar oportunidades alternativas para que los residentes interactúen directamente con sus funcionarios electos. La comunidad desea ver a los residentes y funcionarios electos participar y comunicarse en conversaciones significativas.

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