Direso resigns from city council

Direso resigns from city council

Update given on

Brotze lawsuit

Carlinville City Council member and Ward 4 Alderman Joe Direso submitted his letter of resignation to take effect Jan. 3. The letter was read by Mayor Deanna Demuzio at Monday night’s council meeting.

“As many of you know I changed employment in 2017 and my hours and days of work have changed several times, making it increasingly difficult to attend meetings,” read an excerpt from the letter by Direso. “I recently learned that my working hours will change again in the new year; therefore, I will be unable to continue in my role as alderman for the city of Carlinville with the level of attention I believe it deserves, and so I must allow that position to be filled by someone else.”

Direso has served on the council as an alderman since 2006. In his time as a council member he served in a number of committees including Public Works, of which he was the chair. In closing his letter, Direso added, “I wish the mayor and the council the best of luck in the future, and I thank the people of Ward 4 and the citizens of Carlinville for the incredible opportunity I’ve had to learn and to serve.”

After reading the letter, Demuzio gave the following statement: “Joe informed many individuals, including myself, those on the council and others, that dependent upon his new schedule he may have to go off the council. So his resignation at this time was not nor should it be a surprise. Nor should it be misconstrued by anyone or individuals as anything more than a change of work schedule and not predicated by anything else. To imply otherwise is inaccurate.”

Following the announcement of Direso’s resignation, Beth Toon brought to the attention of the council that the law for the resignation of elected officials indicates that an official resignation letter must be notarized. In light of this, and because Direso’s resignation letter was not notarized, the council voted to approve the resignation dependent upon the notarization taking place, but because Direso’s resignation has not yet been approved, the appointment has been delayed for the time being.

Late in the meeting, Cindy Campbell took a moment to show appreciation for Direso’s performance as a fellow member of the City Council.

“He was a great help to me when I was trying to learn my first term. He served well. He was always very diligent, and so I’m really grateful to him as a citizen of Carlinville for the many years that he did serve very diligently. I just wanted to say that.”

Campbell then addressed alderman Toon directly, saying, “I would also just like to say that I don’t know when you observed that we should have had it [the resignation letter] notarized or whatever, which is good, we want to do everything the right way; it’s good that we noticed it. But if you notice it ahead of time, why would you not just call?”

“I read it this afternoon, Cindy,” Toon responded.

“I just think it’s helpful if you know something that could help, maybe just call and let the clerk know? That would be tasteful, helpful,” Campbell said.   

A number of other resignations and appointments were handled during the meeting, as well. Randy Ober resigned, effective Jan. 3, from the Planning and Zoning Committe, and John Yowell was appointed to replace him. Doris Boente retired from Carlinville Public Library board of trustees; Sue Rush was appointed take her place, at the recommendation of the board of trustees. The Dec. 18 hiring of James Garner as a full-time police officer for the city of Carlinville was also approved.

Brotze lawsuit

City Attorney Daniel O’Brien gave an update the council on the suit filed in the spring of 2018 by Camille Mayfield Cooper Brotze and Wayne Brotze against the city of Carlinville, the city of Dorchester, Jersey County Rural Water Company and Illinois Alluvial Regional Water Company in regards to the city’s entry into agreements with the city of Dorchester and Jersey County Rural Water Company to form the Illinois Alluvial Regional Water Company. A court date was held in August 2018 arguing preliminary motions, which were finally ruled upon Jan. 2 of this year.

The court has ruled that the Brotzes lack standing to sue all parties, with the exception of the city of Carlinville. Those cases have been dismissed with prejudice, meaning that no further suits may be filed against these entities regarding this matter. Although O’Brien also asked to have the case against Carlinville dismissed based on standing, the court has denied the Motion to Dismiss. Despite this, there were still issues with the complaint as currently written, and the plaintiffs have been given 30 days to amend their complaint or the case will be dismissed. Pending this amendment, the case is still ongoing.

Other discussion

During public comment, Lane Pfeiffer and his father, Larry Pfeiffer, addressed the council regarding events that took place over the recent holiday season. Shortly before Christmas, Lane’s bicycle was stolen from outside of the Marvel Theater while he was inside viewing a film. The incident was reported to the police and resulted in Carlinville Police Officer Mike Stephenson using his own personal funds to purchase Pfeiffer a new bicycle. The Pfeiffers informed the council and the public that the original bike was later recovered by the police department and Stephenson was reimbursed after the new bike was returned.

Lane Pfeiffer publicly thanked Stephenson for his kindness, and after he and his father had finished retelling the events of the preceding weeks, his father said, “I think we’re here today to again thank the police department and the officers, thank the people in the community; there were over 500 shares on social media.

“585,” Lane Pfeiffer interjected.

“There you go,” the elder Pfeiffer continued. “We’re hopeful in the future that Lane might somehow serve as an ambassador. It’s our hope, his mother and I and our family, that Carlinville can continue to remain a safe, loving, nurturing community and maybe become a little more bike friendly.”

Two trees at Carlinville lake were approved to be removed at the city’s expense. The cost is estimated to be $750.

The city council will next meet at 7 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 21.

Thomas Johnson, son of Wayne and Qiao Johnson, of Boy Scout Troop 62 was honored for his achievement of attaining the rank of Eagle Scout at the Jan. 7 city council meeting. For his Eagle Scout project Johnson collected children’s gloves and hats that were donated to Catholic Charities for distribution. (From left to right: Scoutmaster Leland Smith, Bill Link, Thomas Johnson, his American family Todd and Dana Skinner, Mayor Deanna Demuzio)