Statement from Mayor Tom Hayes to the People of Arlington Heights Regarding Facebook-Generated Controversy

Traditionally, local politics and reputable local government in Arlington Heights has been remarkably non-partisan, but this week turned a little ugly — possibly fueled by the national political climate, and the hazards of social media. Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes issued a statement at the Village Board meeting Monday night, February 6, 2017 in response to the controversy created when a meme shared by a candidate for Village Trustee was shared to his brother, and detected by a third party. The content of the meme was released to the wild, and shared to the Daily Herald. Then there was an uproar that the meme was fat-shaming and sexist. The Village Trustee candidate, Joe Favia, ended up withdrawing from the race on Saturday, February 4, 2017.

Additionally there were claims related to questionable candidacy maneuvers that Favia defended as a misunderstanding. Favia told the Daily Herald that he believes he became a target “because a few bullies on the playground are upset about the misunderstood events that allowed me to be on the ballot uncontested.”

Apparently, several people had been considering running for trustee but some said they decided not to run, believing that all four incumbents were running for re-election. Incumbents Bert Rosenberg, Tom Glasgow, Jim Tinaglia, and Joe Farwell were running — a perceived formidable challenge. Some believe Farwell, intentionally dropped out late in the application and signature process, which raised suspicion that the late announcement was announced to aid Favia’s chances to win without any opponents. The Daily Herald reports that Farwell and Favia deny this is true.

In response to these issues that arose the past week, Mayor Tom Hayes read the following statement to the audience in the meeting room and on live television.

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We try very hard to keep politics out of village government, but situations have arisen which compel a public statement from me as Mayor of our great community. As troubling as it is for me to have to do so, these situations need to be addressed in order to protect and preserve the reputation for open and honest government many of us have worked so hard to establish over the years.

In the matter of the comment posted on Facebook by now former Village Trustee candidate, Joe Favia, let me be clear that I found it to be offensive and inappropriate for anyone to make, let alone someone
intending to serve and represent the residents of Arlington Heights. The Mayor and Trustees run as independents in non-partisan at-large elections and not as members of any political party because, if
fortunate enough to be elected, we represent all residents of Arlington Heights. The public’s trust that we do so is the bedrock foundation of our service and I oppose any action that erodes that trust.

Having said that, we all make mistakes. Life is a learning process and hopefully we learn from our mistakes and do not repeat them. Contrary to what you might think, holding elected office is not an easy job. It takes time to learn the job and how to best serve the people you represent. I can tell you that I am still learning after 26 years in elected office.

As Dr. Favia was only a candidate and not a member of the Village Board, we could not take any action for or against him. Ultimately, the court of public opinion is the appropriate forum for this debate and Dr. Favia has and should speak for himself in his defense.

In the matter of any political maneuvering that resulted in Dr. Favia’s candidacy, I had no part in, and do not approve of, how that may have occurred. I will say that it was my desire to keep the current Board together in order to continue the good work we have done on behalf of this community. While it appeared to the public, and to me as well, that all four incumbents were running for re-election, let me make it clearthat there was nothing preventing any and all eligible residents from running against them. As it should
be, the voters decide who their Trustees are and the top four vote getters win.

Let me be clear, however, that any effort to take the process out of the voter’s hands and engineer a specific result is wrong and not in keeping with our reputation for open and honest government.

As someone who believes that things happen for a reason, I believe that Arlington Heights will get through this and come out better for it. Thank you all for your interest in the welfare of our community
and your contributions and commitment to ensuring that it remains a great place to live and work.

Sincerely,

Thomas W. Hayes
Mayor




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