DIXON – About a half dozen residents huddled outside of City Hall Monday evening as the City Council met in closed session to discuss the latest scandal, this time involving Public Works and Personnel Director Shawn Ortgiesen.
They wondered who could be trusted in their government.
Earlier in the day, the city released information that Ortgiesen used his city-issued credit card to pay for $13,521.14 in personal expenses. He’s paid back $4,890.31, officials said.
The news comes a week shy of the 1-year anniversary of Rita Crundwell’s April 17 arrest for stealing nearly $54 million from city funds.
The city put Ortgiesen on administrative leave with pay. He did not return calls to Sauk Valley Media seeking comment.
The City Council was supposed to conduct a budget session but postponed the special meeting to take heated public comments, and to talk in closed session.
When Dixon resident Gary Burger questioned why Ortgiesen still is being paid, Mayor Jim Burke said the City Council must discuss a course of action before it can take away his pay.
“We don’t intend on dragging this thing on and on,” Burke said.
Citing the Crundwell incident, Dixon resident Carol Fisher said the city needs to get its house in order, and called for Burke's resignation.
“This [discovery] came about as a result of the city using best management practices,” Burke countered.
Fisher asked if the city’s strategic plan would be postponed, since Ortgiesen was the point person for instituting it.
“We’ll have to look at that,” Burke said.
Jill Polivka, who spoke out in August against Ortgiesen receiving a promotion to personnel director, said city commissioners should “hang their heads in shame” for promoting Ortgiesen, pointing out his home has been in foreclosure since November.
Burke said he did not know about Ortgiesen's foreclosure until 6 weeks ago, and could not hold that against him.
Related: Ortgiesen could be fired soon