Once again, political arrogance and abuse of power were on full display at the Hanover Township offices the weekend of June 11, when the township's Emergency Management Agency (EMA) vehicles illegally and dangerously parked along Route 59.
Ignoring the clear language of Illinois law, Supervisor Brian McGuire's patronage army of pretend police officers finally found a use for the hundreds of thousands of tax dollars in elaborate emergency vehicles you–the taxpayer–never asked for, didn't need, but paid for anyway. They parked them on the grass along busy Route 59, and illegally illuminated the emergency lights to draw passing drivers into their beer tent.
The big, government-run, and highly politicized drinking party has been sold as a benefit for our troops. If it were, we'd be right there with them. Honoring our veterans is something The Examiner has been doing since we came to town, with full-page tributes every Veterans Day and Memorial Day–among other, quieter support. There's no more worthy cause for a newspaper that cherishes the freedom provided by the brave men and women of our armed forces.
But ever since its inception, McGuire has shamelessly used the event to promote his own name on advertising throughout the township–paid for by you, of course. When he was township clerk, it was the clerk's event, and he kept himself front and center. Now that he's supervisor, McGuire has seen to it that it's no longer the clerk's event, and again he is front and center.
But while McGuire is an exceptionally talented self-promoter, he's just one of many Cook County politicians who work tirelessly to keep our state the laughing stock of the country. The bigger issue, here, is the unbridled government growth and abuses by the EMA. Since McGuire conceived of this boondoggle, he's committed hundreds of thousands of your tax dollars into building, staffing, and funding something nobody had previously wanted or needed.
McGuire and the spineless township trustees who sit by idly and let him run wild, have assembled a gang of wannabe cops–without police training–who deck themselves out in police uniforms, complete with badges. They also bought themselves (again with your money) expensive fire turnout gear, complete with helmets at $200 a pop, bearing inscriptions of their official-sounding titles. For what? We don't know.
If you've never seen these guys, stop by the old Fire Barn next to the Village Hall on a warm evening. They're the ones loitering, smoking, swearing, and spitting on the apron of that big garage door. They also play with the expensive vehicles and equipment that they don't need and don't use.
Of course, the rent they're paying to the Fire Barn is coming out of the public coffers. And, the corporate ownership of the Fire Barn is the same corporate ownership McGuire had been a part of for many years as a board member. The same ownership that runs a private saloon where the wannabes can drink subsidized or free booze as long as they toe the McGuire line. The same saloon that led our real fire chief to pull our real fire equipment from that garage and sever any and all relationships with that building and the unsavory people who run it.
You heard that right: McGuire is using your checkbook from Hanover Township government to prop up his cronies' operations at the old Fire Barn. Reportedly, $20,000 a year of your tax money is propping up that operation. That sure could buy a lot of beer. That's not illegal, as far as we can tell, but it should be.
What is illegal, though, is the use of emergency lights to draw revelers to your drinking party. It's also foolishly dangerous on an already perilous stretch of congested highway. These same clowns have been shagged from fire scenes by the Bartlett Fire Protection District, and they are a laughing stock to the real police officers throughout the township who see the EMA for what it is: a joke.
But we don't find it funny at all. Public safety should not be imperiled because politicians, patronage workers, and hacks wish to burn through your hard-earned tax dollars to play with expensive toys, play dress up, and promote themselves.
When the next election rolls around, we hope voters remember well the misuses of public monies and abuses of power that have become routine at Hanover Township since McGuire took over as supervisor.