Sacking of Long-Time Village Clerk Jan Hansen on Agenda on Lakewood’s Agenda Tuesday

Jumping off the page of Lakewood’s Board agenda Tuesday is the following:

  • Village President’s reporting of reasons to the Village’s Corporate
    Authorities for his removal of Jan Hansen from the offices of the Village Clerk, FOIA Officer and any other office she may hold.
  • Motion to remove Jan Hansen from the offices of Village Clerk, FOIA Officer and any other office she may hold, terminating her employment with the Village and directing Village Staff to effectuate termination of her employment by the Village.

An article by Tricia Babischkin, one of the people seeking a Trustee slot on the Board in April, looks at the reasons offered as justification for the firing of Hanson in her periodic “United Lakewood” publication:

New RedTail logo.

In light of this metaphor of a hawk striking its prey [discussed previously] , I also learned that the written charges against Jan, the longest serving (and lowest paid) clerk in McHenry County, had been sent to the board.

If Phil [Stephan]’s hawk is a picture of his presidency, then Jan is the unseen mouse just beyond the hawk’s talons as it goes in for the kill.

Before we get into the charges themselves, we have to look at the timing.

Having dealt with THREE investigations of appointed officials; ONE investigation of an employee; one termination of a long serving employee; I thought I understood the speed at which the village moved in these matters.

  • It took two months for the highly suspect and informal investigation of CAO Smith and Phil to be completed by Mr. Berman — given the sheer volumes of ‘alternative facts’ contained in it; it’s a wonder that document could even be considered an investigation.
  • It took a month and a half from putting our Police Chief on leave until they fired him.
  • It took two months to investigate racist comments made by a newly promoted supervisor.
  • It took at least 6 months to build the case against the last of the legacy finance department employees.

Given all of the above — why did it take less than 5 days from a Trustee mentioning at a board meeting that he was concerned about Jan’s work to formal written charges?

Jan Hansen

It appears to me that one of two things is possible — either there was no actual investigation or confirmation of anything OR this was pre-planned at already set in motion long before the board meeting of February 9th.

Add to this that we all watched Phil read from a paper his “clarification” of exactly what they were straw polling — this was a plotted strike against our long serving clerk.

To believe the tableau that the board attempted to paint that this was not already a done deal would be kidding yourself.

This move was plotted and planned with a singular motivation — yet again sending a signal to all who cross Phil and his Merry Board that they will use anything against you — even if it is untrue.

Keep in mind that this board fell all over themselves to declare their dedication to transparency — this move only confirms what I’ve thought for some time: to them transparency is great only if it destroys someone else — if it highlights their scheming, then they run as far from transparency as possible.

My question is — if this had been plotted for some length of time as this would seem to indicate — why the drama on evening of the 9th?

Phil will claim that since she’s an appointed officer of the village that he couldn’t have done that in executive session — that the accusations had to be done in public.

That’s actually untrue.

All he would have had to do is give Jan a letter removing her as clerk and then reported the details to the board not less than 5 not more than 10 days later.

Better, had this not been vindictive, Phil could have just asked Jan to retire and not disclose any of this.

With this in mind, the ONLY logical reason to handle this like this is to try to destroy the reputation of the longest serving clerk in McHenry County. Sound familar?

What are the reasons Jan is being removed?

Six and a half pages [in the agenda packet at its bottom] essentially breaks into 4 items Phil calls out as his reasons:

1. Shredding of a Village record and consistently providing incorrect information

This is the longest charge with the most ‘backup’ — but it’s basis is actually inaccurate. Oh, yes, Jan shredded a piece of paper. She did this to pull the original receipt (an internal tracking document — not election materials) from Pam Eddy’s nomination petition and replace it with one with the updated information when Pam resubmitted her altered packet after Phil removed her packet from village hall.

Let me say this again —

Phil violated the rules of submitting nominating petitions by removing them from the clerk’s care and removing them completely from village property.

Pam returned the documents (albeit altered) to the clerk. And when she did, the clerk wrote an updated receipt for the documents and shredded the now inaccurate one.

If you read the three and a quarter pages on this single charge, you will see that the village is attempting to claim that if Jan destroyed any document of the village she’s in the wrong. However, this is in fact not true. In fact, in the Berman written report, he reported that his finding on the question of if CAO Smith shredded documents was this:

If this cleared CAO Smith — why is the same standard not used for our Village Clerk?

2. Providing inaccurate testimony and being contradicted by two other witnesses under oath at the Electoral Board hearing

This charge is also from the transcripts of the electoral board hearings. It appears that despite not stapling the nominating petition, that Pam brought a stapler with her (which is in sharp contrast with her running mate, Phil, who used village property improperly to staple his petition). So, Jan was asked if Pam had a stapler with her and said no. Pam testified she did. Sue testified that she did. But no one asks if Jan KNEW she did. Sue told me that it was in Pam’s pocket — so, is it at all possible that Jan wasn’t aware of the presence of a stapler? And much more importantly, would it have changed the situation? Jan couldn’t tell the incumbents that their packets had to be stapled. Once handed to Jan, the documents were considered submitted so they shouldn’t have been altered in any way — let’s again ignore that Phil took his petition back from Jan, used the Police department stapler, and resubmitted.

So — this charge, I’d chalk up to reasonable doubt as to if she knowingly lied. And again, if Jan had said that Pam had a stapler — does that suddenly mean that the papers were stapled when they were not? Does it alter the reality of the situation that the petitions were submitted unstapled, were removed from the clerk’s care, altered, and resubmitted?

3. Poor, negligent and unsatisfactory performance of assigned work relative to FOIA

So, unlike the previous two, this charge does not have to do with the election board hearings. It actually has to do with the FOIAs that have been submitted to the village. There are four examples listed as issues with the way Jan handled FOIAs.

  1. She asked a private business to turn over documents under FOIA. I’m going to guess that this was likely an error — one that is not the grievous sin that this makes it out to be. All the business owner would need to do is email back and ask, “Hey did you mean to send this to me?” and it would be taken care of. However, this particular business owner had been working with Phil on some ‘unpermitted items’ and one can assume thought he was going to go to his buddy instead of asking the honest question. Oh — and this happened in the summer of last year and no one in the village spoke to Jan about it — so, I’m thinking if it rated a conversation, it should have been had before now, right?
  2. There was a FOIA requesting the IP addresses from a Zoom Board Meeting. The charge appears to claim that Jan extended the request until a time that she wouldn’t be in the office on purpose. Jan works part time — only 3 days a week. FOIAs must be fulfilled in 5 business days and the extension is 5 additional days. So — in 10 days (two business weeks), there is a 40% chance that Jan won’t be in the office on a due date. Additionally, our CAO has called Jan in to fulfill FOIAs on her days off — so that’s hardly an excuse. The reality on this one is that a) the requester is Bryan Younge and this is a dig at a resident and b) as the FOIA officer, Jan would have requested the records requested of CAO Smith (the keeper of the Zoom account) and had CAO Smith been timely in her response would have forwarded this one on to the law firm — as it was (as Jan describes) ‘sticky.’
  3. The last of the itemized examples is actually the interesting one. This one calls a specific person by name. You want to know what’s interesting about this? It appears that the gentleman named is not a resident, but in fact a lawyer. Hmm — does anyone think that the village has done anything recently that might make them a target for any sort of suit? So the claim here is that she didn’t outline the exemption and the FOIA was referred to the PAC. It goes on to state that Jan didn’t inform the CAO of the PAC review in a timely manner — except that the PAC emails Jan AND the CAO when they respond — ask me how I know? Additionally, it is my understanding that the CAO has deliberately inserted herself into the FOIA process and reviews every FOIA request — so if Jan has failed to do something properly, then also has our CAO/Finance Director/Budget Officer/HR Director/etc.
  4. The claim is that Jan released documents marked attorney client privilege in response to FOIA. I have no way to confirm this, but as I was the recipient of Phil handing me privileged documents; it seems odd that Jan is being (yet again) held to a different standard than any other officer of the village.

4. Poor, negligent and unsatisfactory performance of other administrative duties

The last charge is a laughable single paragraph. It claims that Jan failed to update something on our village website. Yes, the code should be updated on the village website — but the site is a mess. It’s as possible that the code mentioned is in the wrong spot as it is that it is missing — but the key is that Jan doesn’t post things to the website….wait for it….because she was not trained. Now, if this should have been changed; then Jan’s supervisor (that would be our CAO) should have stepped up and made sure that Jan had all of the tools she needed to do this work.

Four charges. Four charges blown out of proportion, taken out of context and twisted for a singular purpose. Four opportunities that the village administration could have ensured that Jan was treated the same as the other officers of the village. Four utter failures to do this.

It’s heartbreaking to watch Jan become the next victim of this regime. It’s heartbreaking not because most of these are unfounded and inaccurate — but that the people leveraging this weapon against her are the ones who do what they claim she’s done without penalty. Our board liked to throw the word “weaponizing” around at the last board meeting — well, they are weaponizing their power and using that power not just against our village clerk; but against a fellow neighbor and resident.

To what end?

Could it be to discredit a FOIA sent to a lawyer who might have a client with a powerful case? Or could it be that on Tuesday the 23rd, Phil and Pam both have an appeal hearing regarding their complete disregard for election process in the submission of their nominating petitions? This would be the same February 23rd, that Phil is planning on dragging our 19 year veteran Village Clerk through the mud with this pack of mostly falsehoods and ‘alternative facts.’

When you vote on April 6th (or before in early voting), remember Jan. Remember the people Phil has stomped on to push through an agenda that is entirely his own and serves only himself. Remember that in the course of the two years he has been in office, he has targeted the police, the finances, the records, and run RedTail into the ground so deeply it took a global pandemic to force people outside to golf. This isn’t success by any metric I know — this is razed earth and in the final days of his leadership, it appears there is nothing he won’t attempt to burn to the ground.

= = = = =

For those wishing to be added to the email list, look at the main page.


Sacking of Long-Time Village Clerk Jan Hansen on Agenda on Lakewood’s Agenda Tuesday — 22 Comments

  1. It appears Lakewood still has issues with communication or the lack of communication . . .a history of questionable decisions.

    I will ask again, who is the Law Firm, is it still Zukowski, Rogers, Flood & McArdle?

    The “Firm” seems to be the only constant . . .

    how much have they cost the Village for the last 32 years?

    Something to think about folks.

  2. We do not have trust in our entire Village Board.

    Jeannine Smith admitted to allowing the deletion of an entire email box in violation of the Local Records Act and attempted to cover it up with an old destruction certificate.

    This was my former Trustee email box which contained emails regarding finance and litigation.

    Why has Jeannine not been removed?

    This is a violation of the Local Records act.

    Where is the States Attorney or Attorney General?

    Phil Stephan removed ACTUAL OFFICIAL election documents from Village Hall in violation of at least 3 State Statutes (10 ILCS 5/29-6, 10 ILCS 5/29-11, 10 ILCS 5/29-12 and 1 Village Ordinance (Lakewood Ordinance 3.14 D (1)(2)).

    This was corroborated by current Trustees, Dan Alexander and Pamela Eddy in SWORN testimony.

    Why has the States Attorney not taken action?

    It has been reported to them.

    This is an attempt to frame Janice Hansen for the misdeeds of President Phil Stephan.

    When it comes to FOIA’s, CAO Jeannine Smith and the Village Attorney’s office, Zukowski, Rogers, Flood and McArdle, reviews almost every single one.

    Speaking of FOIAs, how did Trustee Ryan Berman gain access to the nomination packets?

    His FOIA wasn’t filled until AFTER he filed his packet nomination packet objections and he did not view them personally with the Clerk.

    It would appear a Village Officer, doing political work on government time, provided him special access.

    Again, no States Attorney or Attorney General.

    One more thing, the Village isn’t allowed to appoint a Deputy Clerk, that right is reserved by State Statute for the actual Clerk.

    Also, the Village President, NOT the Village Board or CAO, are authorized by State Statute to remove the Clerk.

    To date, the President Phil Stephan has not provided notice to the Clerk regarding her removal.

    This group of bumbling clowns can’t find their way out of a paper bag.

    In two years, they removed or chased off 3 police chiefs, an entire finance department and now they are taking aim at the Village Clerk.

    Public Safety, Public Finance and now Public Records!

    Lakewood should be very afraid!

  3. Is LITTLE phil considered a midget or a dwarf?

    Whatever he is he’s a POS.

    Let’s get rid of that LOSER and that dirty stinking lying piece of crap CAO Smith too.

    Did I mention stinking?

    Let’s get some new faces that have integrity, morals and know what they are doing on this board of trustees.

  4. From what I have read and seen at on the zoom meetings.

    17 complaints against the CAO and president from former employees and 17 employees gone.

    They either quit or have been fired..


    You don’t have to be Einstein to figure out where the problem lies.

    All Lakewood residents need to get out and vote April 6,2021.

    This board and president needs to be shown the door and good riddance.

    your town was once a great place to live and work before they ruined it..

    Time to flush the old and welcome the new ..

    Save the Date. April 6,2021 to vote for new change..

  5. Jason McMahon, you should be asking the Law Firm, all your questions, as to Why.

    Truth, start interviewing a new Law Firm . . .that would be a start, if they dare to take on the “Firm”.

  6. If McHenry County was a physical body (rather than a body politic) and needed an enema, the pipe would be inserted at 2500 Lake Av, Lakewood, IL

    Hansen is being made a scapegoat to cover the misdeeds of Stephan & Company.

    Hopefully, she will retain good legal counsel (which obviously rules out ZRF&M even absent the conflict) and goes for the gold.

    Lakewood has become a joke in recent years.

    It’s like watching a portrayal of rejected scripts from “Days of Our Lives”

  7. Jan is a good clerk.

    She brought out the truth in all of the BS that the purple shit skittle does.

    So naturally, the purple faced ass munchkin needs to take it out on somebody else.

    He was bullied as a kid, probably has a history of beating up family members.

  8. Lakewood needs to be disincorporated and taken over by the County/Township and patrolled by the Sheriff’s Department.

    These small towns cannot sustain themselves with Popeye Presidents who usually leech off of the surrounding cities much to the detriment of the surrounding tax base.

    The people end up paying for their dumb ideas, like buying Golf Courses and wanting a Sportsplex.

    Villages should not be in private business ventures, let the private sector make these gambles.

    I hope for the sake of this Village, they get new management and the same goes with the Assessor, who has single handedly did his very best to make/allow enough mistakes to enrich some of his fellow neighbors at the expense of the rest.

    A real States Attorney could open a satellite office here and probably have enough work for a year or two.

  9. I would like to know who wrote the article as I cannot seem to find a name, or just missed it as I would like to discuss a matter I have with them…

  10. I wrote the article. The comments pon the proposed firing were by the woman mentioned in it. Her web site is linked in the post.

  11. She must GO!

    And that’s a bit ironic, bc sh was once a go go dancer long, long ago.

  12. Wow, Cal, a link to sign up for their email list? Shilling for the Lakewood United crowd now? Careful, your blatant bias is showing.

  13. Phil Stephan’s argument for firing is on tomorrow’s village board agenda, to which I’ve linked.

  14. Jason McMahon…to answer your question “where is the states attorney?”

    It’s not illegal just because you say so.

    The states attorney isn’t interested in your pettiness.

    Babishkin’s continued use of “what are you hiding” when her assumptions are false is ridiculous.

    She has been proven wrong numerous times in public and then just creates another storyline to sensationalize every little detail.

    Weren’t you censured for spreading untruths as a trustee?

    Wish you could be censored as a resident.

  15. Correct, it is illegal because state statute says so.

    It is telling you sling comments from a fake screen name and don’t address or refute any actual statements.

  16. If it was illegal, the attorney would be involved.

    That’s your interpretation and it is wrong.

    The states attorney does not think it’s illegal – that’s why they aren’t acting.

    Keep saying it’s illegal all you want.

  17. I’m not sure why this is so hard for you.

    65 ILCS 5/3.1-35-95 Deputy clerks.

    (a) A deputy clerk may execute all documents required by law to be executed by the municipal clerk and may affix the seal of the clerk wherever required. In signing any document, a deputy clerk shall sign the name of the clerk followed with the word “By” and the deputy clerk’s own name and the words “Deputy Clerk”.

    How is a Deputy Clerk going to legal sign documents without a Clerk?

    All they needed to do was appoint a new Clerk.

  18. Just go away ..really!!!!!!

    Sounds to me you can’t handle the truth.

    You must be a board members..💩🚽

    Babischkin does find the truth.

    Name a time she been called out in a board meetings as giving false information..

    what she is doing is being transparent on everything she has found out after doing a lot of digging and research .

    Again Lakewood Residents

    Get out and vote April 6,2021

    It’s time for a change..

  19. Too easy.

    I’ll pick a more recent one for you.

    The case of the missing audit.

    More comments of “What are you trying to hide”.

    She continues to tell people that the audit was due and was required to be posted.

    “What are they hiding”, “why the secrecy” over and over again.

    I listened to the meeting.

    Both the attorney and the auditor said that it was not late.

    She was completely wrong.

    That was misinformation even if she thought she was reading the rules correctly.

    The vocal folks that are so aggressive and condescending continue to make claims like this.

    Please remember – you asked for one instance.

    Here it is.

    The fact that the 4 or 5 vocal (quite frankly jerks at times) make reference to Phils red face or gum chewing is so condescending.

    You lose all validity.

  20. Let’s talk about the audit! We should talk about what happened to everything called out by the auditor in previous years and then magically disappeared in 2020 WITHOUT any notations.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *