Airdo: Petty tyrant for the ages
In yet another ham-fisted piece of political choreography, and with the collusion of his nasty little band of partisans, Bartlett’s unelected village president, Mike Airdo, has again made our village look foolish, petty, and corruptible.
Anyone present at last week’s village board meeting was witness to buffoonery on a grand scale—a lesson in what government should not be. And it all started because one trustee, T.L. Arends, had the audacity to question the latest of Airdo’s undemocratic dictates.
Before Tuesday’s meeting, Arends got wind that there was to be a change in the format of the monthly “Coffee with the Mayor & Trustees.” She asked the village administrator when and where the decision was made and was informed that Airdo was the source. Arends, taking her oath of office seriously, suggested that the decision was one that might be more usefully made not unilaterally behind closed doors, but rather collaboratively at a public meeting. After all, the coffees and how they are conducted do impact our residents’ ability to communicate directly and informally with the board.
But by the time the matter came up for discussion Tuesday, it was clear that Airdo’s only reason for allowing the matter to be put on the agenda was to put Arends in her place. Airdo’s cronies, Eric Shipman and Greg Martin, quickly piled on with feigned concern in an effort to make Arends look asinine for simply asking a question. Indeed, when Arends asked, “Am I not entitled to ask the question?” Airdo clearly chafed, answering,
“Sure, [but] I wish you’d’ve picked up the phone and called, I’d a [sic] happy to talk to ya about it rather than havin’ a big, formal discussion, but since you requested it to be on a committee….”
At which point Airdo readied to take testimony from some of the same flunkies who have been poisoning our public discourse ever since they tore into former Mayor Mike Kelly last winter. Never suspecting what Airdo had in store for her, though, Arends decided to spare the gathered assembly further debate and moved to adjourn the meeting.
And that’s when Airdo slammed his stacked hand on the table, revealing his little game. With menace in his voice, Airdo turned on Arends and sneered: “Nobody is gonna second that motion.” It was not only a rebuke to her, but also a reminder to his toady trustees to keep their mouths shut.
He went on: “We can talk about it right here. There’s a lot people in the audience who wanna talk about their experiences with coffee with the mayor and the board.”
Still trying to end the matter with decorum, Arends asked, “Why? I just wanted to ask a question. It is absolutely not a criticism.” She then asked simply to make a statement.
Outraged that Arends had not yet cowered in silence, Airdo quickly worked himself into a froth. He stammered: “No, your not gonna make a…. There’s no speeches.” Arends protested, and Airdo banged his gavel: “You’re out of order Trustee!” He banged wildly, roaring now, “Trustee Arends you are out of order! You are out of order!”
All Arends could do at that point was remove herself from the embarrassing scene on the dais, repeating “What a shame. What a shame.”
Then, bizarrely, a parade of “concerned” residents streamed up to the lectern with prepared speeches on the issue of the coffee’s format. They were the usual suspects—some we’ve exposed in these pages before, those with political connections to or monetary gains to be had from Airdo and company.
But how did Airdo know that there was this “lot of people in the audience who wanna talk about their experiences with coffee with the mayor” before those people stood up to talk? Could it be that it was all a piece of theater arranged beforehand? If so, how could and why would these people conspire to make such a scene about an internal board decision that was never made public?
The answer in next week’s Examiner…