By Sentry Staff
The value of the Villa Park Law Enforcement Advisory Committee (LEAC), a volunteer group with an indeterminate mandate, was questioned by Mayor Diana Fascenelli at the Dec. 15 city council meeting, but no action was taken to disband it.
The city council was prompted to consider termination of the committee because it does not receive regular reports from the group and is largely unaware of what it is doing. Comprised primarily of retired law enforcement personnel with a reported 180 years of experience, the committee was originally formed by Councilman Bob Collacott to address school and traffic safety issues. Separate from CERT and Neighborhood Watch, it seemingly adds an unneeded layer of bureaucracy and duplicates the sheriff’s reports. It also, Fascenelli asserts, has expanded to address issues beyond its purview.
Committee chair Vince Rossini insisted that all actions taken are within the scope of the committee, and that many citizens come to it when they need help with neighborhood problems. As an example, he cited a homeowner who felt “ignored by the council and city manager” when she complained about trash and loud parties at an adjacent house rented by Chapman students. After the homeowner spoke with LEAC about possible options, including stricter city ordinances, the property owner removed the trash.
City Manager Jarad Hildenbrand emphasized that he had not ignored the homeowner, but followed proper protocol with letters and notices, and that the trash removal was a result of same. Councilman Bill Nelson, also a LEAC member, indicated that the committee is looking at a “loud party ordinance,” that would increase penalties and make property owners accountable for the activities of renters.
Early on, Councilman Rick Barnett had asked, “What does LEAC do that the city and sheriff don’t do?” After public testimony from numerous citizen supporters, Barnett answered his own question, noting that “LEAC provides an ear and comfort level.”
That said, the council unanimously voted to remove the item from the agenda, with no action taken.