Slow but steady wins our trust

February 3, 2014 

Three Springs at Shiloh is the big swath of churned earth you see across from the Dierbergs and Target complex on Frank Scott Parkway. The development involves a tax increment financing district, permits from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. There are developers and contractors and engineers and subcontractors on the project, all with just a fraction of the serious brick and mortar construction underway.

So with such a complex project, we'd hope our elected leaders would take their public watchdog roles a little more seriously than the example we saw Jan. 27. Shiloh trustees complained that they only got materials about the development and lowering the amount of cash on hand for project costs just hours before the meeting.

Mayor Jim Vernier's response: "They had what they needed. I don't care."

Then on questions about paying bills when the funds were below the limit set by the village board: "It was done at my direction. It's no big deal."

Maybe not, but if public officials are either this cavalier or arrogant in public about the public's business, you have to wonder how they run things in private.

The process matters. If elected leaders are giving up part of their weekends to review contracts and agreements before voting on them at Monday meetings, the least they are owed is to have all the materials in advance.

And if the public is going to have faith that their elected leaders have their best interests at heart, the right attitude coupled with transparency goes a long way.

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