Editorials

When Queen Bee rules a corrupt village, the sting will be painful

Joann Reed leaves court in 2013 after an appearance on the felony charges from smuggling a cellphone and food to her niece in the Alorton village jail. Her conviction was later expunged, allowing her to again become Alorton mayor, but a new felony charge for vote fraud threatens her ability to keep the office.
Joann Reed leaves court in 2013 after an appearance on the felony charges from smuggling a cellphone and food to her niece in the Alorton village jail. Her conviction was later expunged, allowing her to again become Alorton mayor, but a new felony charge for vote fraud threatens her ability to keep the office. znizami@bnd.com

If you are the Queen Bee, you make sure there’s plenty of honey for your drones.

Alorton Mayor Joann Reed is busy doing just that, hiring her cousin and other cronies. She just got the sole power to hire, fire and set salaries by getting most of Alorton’s trustees to agree that they needn’t be bothered with such matters in a village where nearly half the 1,862 residents live below the poverty line.

“I think everyone has enough trust in me that I can make the decisions,” Reed said when trustees gave up their oversight.

Let’s think about that a moment: Trustees need not be consulted on the village’s biggest expense at a time when they are deficit spending at a rate of roughly $25,000 a month.

They are trusting a woman already convicted of one felony for sneaking food and a cell phone into the village jail for her niece. She is facing a second felony for vote fraud, and if convicted will be forced from office.

The two dissenters on the board can’t get financial reports or basic information, meaning public money and decisions are being handled in secret. One of them dubbed her the Queen Bee.

Alorton’s leaders for decades have been graduating from the village hall to the federal pen. Three mayors, at least three police chiefs and the street superintendent were all convicted of felony corruption charges.

Alorton is the last place that needs a criminal-in-chief operating with the powers of a dictator. Somebody’s going to get stung unless the village is merged with a responsible neighbor.

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