LYNDON – The village’s public works superintendent says he’s not politicking on the job.
This week, Kathleen Stone, a candidate for village president, questioned why Public Works Superintendent Mike Williamson had called her cousin about one of her campaign signs – the latest flare-up in an already heated campaign. She is facing incumbent Tim Crady in the April 9 election.
On Tuesday morning, Williamson called Stone’s cousin, Pamela Beldin, who lives in Ganado, Texas, about a sign that appeared in front of a house that she owns in Lyndon. Identifying himself as with the village, Williamson said there had been problems with campaign signs around town and asked her whether she had allowed the sign.
Beldin told Williamson that Stone had received her permission. She said she informed him that she was the candidate’s cousin. The conversation ended quickly after that.
On Friday, a story about the sign dispute was published by Sauk Valley Media. The day before, Williamson had declined to comment, but he decided to speak out after the story appeared.
He said he wasn’t working on behalf of Crady’s campaign when he called Stone’s cousin. But he acknowledged that it was the only sign he had called about. He said no one had been living at the house and a sign suddenly appeared.
“It didn’t matter who the sign was for,” Williamson said. “There were other signs put up that were in question. I wasn’t politicking.”
Asked about the other signs, he said one village trustee candidate reported that his name had been included on a sign with candidates whom he did not support.
Trustee candidate Doug Dunlap, who backs Crady, confirmed he had seen at least one sign that included his name as well as that of Frank Stone, husband of Kathleen Stone and a candidate for trustee.
While municipalities can regulate placement and size of signs, they have no power over the political messages.
Asked whether he handles code enforcement, Williamson said he works with the village’s police officer on such matters.
Crady said Thursday he knew nothing about Williamson’s call involving the campaign sign.
Kathleen Stone questioned why a village employee would call about a sign during work hours.
“When did it become the [public works] superintendent’s job to call and ask whether an election sign is legal or illegal?” she said. “Shouldn’t that have come from the clerk’s office? A worker [is not supposed to] do campaign work during working hours.”