On Nov. 7, 2011, the Riverside board of trustees was presented with a orking draft of a Code of Conduct, upon recommendation of the village attorney. This code described appropriate conduct for elected and appointed officials when interacting with each other, with residents, and with village employees. It also included mechanisms for reporting, investigating, and sanctioning alleged misconduct.
With straight faces, Trustees Sacchi, Shevitz and Reynolds ridiculed the need for such a code, as well as the timing for its presentation to the board. One trustee claimed that we have done fine without one for 136 years. Perhaps it is true that for 136 years we did not have an elected official harassing and bullying employees. But if it happens again, what are employees to do? What about residents, or commissioners?
Most businesses and organizations have mechanisms in place to protect all parties in such a situation, why not Riverside? President (Michael) Gorman and his fellow RCA trustees have a history of bullying residents, staff, and fellow board members at board meetings (anyone remember the meetings on the Parks and Rec. issue?). The Nov. 7 meeting was no different with President Gorman and Trustee Shevitz loudly accusing the board minority of putting politics in front of policy, at one point yelling at Trustee Sussman. This is just the kind of behavior the code would address, if only the board would consider passing it. Instead, the RCA majority voted to kill discussion of adopting a code. As Trustee Sacchi would say, the employees, and the residents, would sleep better at night with such a code in place.
Jill M. Mateo