Lyndon officials upset with outspoken colleague

Trustee told he should not go to newspaper, EPA, others say

Published: Monday, Feb. 3, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT

LYNDON – Village Trustee Les Williams wanted to know what was going on with Lyndon’s second well.

Instead of going to city officials, he went to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to find out why the well wasn’t operating. That contact with the agency apparently angered his colleagues.

The village had upgraded the well, so it needed to be tested before going online, Williams learned from the EPA.

“We can use it in dire emergency, but not on a daily basis,” he said.

His contact with the EPA was discussed at the Jan. 13 meeting of the village’s board of trustees. An account of the meeting appeared in the Prophetstown Echo, a weekly newspaper.

Trustee Doug Dunlap said in an interview last week that Williams should ask questions at board meetings, rather than go to other places. But Williams, who was the village’s streets and water superintendent for nearly 30 years, said no one gives him direct answers, and that Village President Tim Crady doesn’t return calls.

Dunlap said the well has been out because the EPA needs to make sure the water meets standards. The testing includes running a large amount of water out of it. Village officials want to wait until the ground thaws out, Dunlap said, so the water seeps into the ground.

“The water would turn into a giant mess,” he said. “We don’t want a lot of ice there.”

According to the Echo, Crady apologized to everyone at the meeting, although the story didn’t say for what. Dunlap said the village president was sorry for raising his voice during a discussion with Williams about the well.

Asked during the meeting why he went to the EPA instead of village officials, Williams said, “Because you don’t like me, and I don’t like you,” the Echo reported him as saying.

The story read, “Trustee Les Williams has been reprimanded in recent months for taking his grievances to the media, instead of bringing it to the board as he should.”

Williams said other officials were upset that he spoke with Sauk Valley Media about the extension of a water line to a village worker’s house in October. 

He objected to the employee using a village backhoe to place a pipe from his property line to his house, which he said should have come at the worker’s expense.

Village officials, however, said Crady let the employee use the backhoe, and that the worker paid for the diesel fuel.

Williams said he has every right to speak with the EPA and the media, and that he shouldn’t be criticized for doing so.

“I have freedom of speech,” he said. 

Crady couldn’t be reached for comment.

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