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July 7, 2022

Downers Grove Commissioner Barnett selective in conflict concerns

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On March 25, 2016

DuPage Co. (ECWd)-

The Village of Downers Grove Commissioner Bob Barnett appears to be very selective in which conflicts of interest concern him.  We recently reported on his request to the DuPage County State’s Attorney for an opinion regarding David Olsen serving as both the Mayor Pro tem for Downers Grove and a College of DuPage Trustee.

The question we now have is why is he concerned with David Olsen’s appointment when he was silent on past Mayor Sandack serving in that capacity as well as taking Dan Cronin’s vacated Senate seat?

Clearly a sitting Mayor has a potential conflict being a State Senator, but not a peep  out of Barnett, who also happens to be Sandack’s committee treasurer.

You can review the State Board of Elections report for Sandack, which confirms Barnett is in fact the treasurer of his committee, at this link.

Of additional interest is how not a single paper, that we could find, raised any issue of concern regarding Sandack’s conflict of serving as Mayor and State Senator.  We can only wonder why it’s now newsworthy for the Daily Herald.

As we understand it, Cronin did not want Olsen to be appointed as COD Trustee, but the next question is what on earth do these people have against David Olsen?  Is his leadership  as a young and upcoming political figure in DuPage County a threat to the King-Maker?

We will update when the Attorney General responds to the request for an opinion, which may take years.

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4 Comments
  • Mark Thoman
    Posted at 07:26h, 26 March

    Mayor pro tem is an appointed position. There’s no per diem or pay involved. He’s been efficient and effective in that capacity.

    Commissioner Olsen on Village issues and political issues has been a straightforward problem solver. He’s shown that same problem solving efficiency and effectiveness, so far, as an appointed unpaid COD Trustee.

    His public service work ethic has contributed to make him popular with folks tired of local politics bullshit, and very unpopular with the purveyors of said bullshit.

    • Tom Cawthorne
      Posted at 22:58h, 31 March

      Very interesting reply from Mark Thoman. One of the KEY participants and actives in the local political “BS” scene. Mark Thoman is an active member of the Downers Grove Republican Township Organization. AND, also an active member of the Downers Grove Township governmental unit. What Mr. Thman fails to recognize is how David Olsen voted NO on granting a zoning variance simply for the sake of being politically correct. You see Mark Thoman was on the Long Range Plan Committee that zoned an area that included a historic (albeit beaten down) house as Downtown Central business district. The developer who bought the property wanted to build condos on the site. Part of the zoning code required that the first floor be set aside for commercial (store front) businesses. Had the developer planned and placed businesses on the first floor, then a zoning variance would not have been needed. Instead the developer wanted to just have living space. Olsen and fellow DGTRO member Mayor Tully voted against granting the variance. Had they gotten their way, the village would have definitely lost a lawsuit. Being election season. the DGTRO recruited democrats simply because they “hate Ron Sandack” to run for village council. They used the loss of a “historic” home as a red herring to put their candidates in office. Furthermore, David Olsen organized a petition and created a faux organization using lies to make it appear that the council was going to definitely spend over $52 million on new village facilities. In Olsen’s 2 years on the council, I believe the only new business item that he has seen come to fruition was not having a village council meeting on Election Day. Apparently, he was going to be too busy going to election results parties and taking selfies instead of doing the peoples business.

      But, getting to the heart of the original post, Barnett did inquire at the time of the Sandack senate appointment. There was a precedent in place where the two positions of state office holder and local office holder were deemed compatible. However there also is precedent where it was ruled that holding 2 LOCAL offices would create a conflict. For context, keep in mind that Sandack was also finishing out about 4 months of his Mayoral term. Not 2 years. . For a watchdog group to question asking for an opinion baffles me. Barnett is not asking that Olsen step down, he is simply asking for an opinion as to make sure the village is protected.

      Maybe the WATCHDOGS can look into the donation a liquor license holding business gave to Martin Tully and why Tully didn’t report it on his campaign disclosure doc? Maybe find out why Republic Waste donated $500 to the DGTRO and in turn signed a new contract with the village of Downers Grove? Find out why David Olsen marched alone in the 4th of July Parade and still had his campaign account still open and operating 2 years after the election raising $27,000 DESPITE being a violation of the Village of Downers Grove Ethics Ordinance?

      Don’t let the DGTRO play you guys the same way they played the citizens of Downers Grove.

      • Kirk Allen
        Posted at 08:56h, 01 April

        We have no problem with a request for an opinion. We pointed out that the information used as the justification for such an opinion was wrong. It tied to School Boards, not CC Districts. As far as asking for an opinion “to make sure the village is protected” that is a ruse. If it was about trying to protect the office then he would have said so. He also has refused to disclose what the village attorney told him. Interesting silence.

    • Tom Cawthorne
      Posted at 16:00h, 02 April

      http://www.downers.us/public/docs/Rheintgen.pdf

      Just another example of Mark Thoman being a purveyor of local politics BS. For a guy who complains that the citizens deserve a choice, here is his fruitless effort to get two sitting village council members thrown off the ballot due to a minor oversight.

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