by Jim Nelson
Trustee Janet Chick has attacked the writers of this NewsBlog on the Northfield Area News Facebook page.  She has attempted to imply that because she doesn't like the tone of some of our less lauditory comments that everything here written should be ignored.  
This is nothing but a red herring, a logical fallacy favored by former Township Manager Howard Fink.   It is a crude attempt to divert attention from the real issue, Northfield Township's financial fitness.  Whether the tone of our occasionally frustrated reporting is nasty or lauditory does not change the facts underlying the Township financial miseries or the ugliness of the disagreement over hiring of a Township manager.
RedHerring 340w47h
 Some of you have asked why Northfield Neighbors Today did not endorse Janet Chick in the last election.  For anyone who has used the LiveAgendas to watch meetings, the answer has been staring you in the face since July 2015.
Here is my answer, in the form of some facts about Janet Chick's performance in office.  Draw your own conclusions.  I believe that they show how little credibility she should be given.  Whether the evidence points to a lack of either moral fitness or mental capacity to hold this position of public trust is for you to decide.
For almost five years, Janet Chick has been the Township Board of Trustees representative to the Planning Commission.  She is a liason, tasked with reporting Board directives to the PC and vice versa.  But she has been caught repeatedly cross-misrepresenting the actions and decisions.  This should be better known.  
The most recent example of this was Chick's April 11, 2017 misrepresentation to the Township Board that the Planning Commission had not recommended the Downtown Planning Group "concept plans" for the North Village project on the former Van Curler property surrounding the Post Office on Main Street.  Chick had tried spinning the middle/compromise or synthesis plan as an unendorsed necessary default.
At the April 19th Planning Commission meeting, PC Chair Roman questioned Chick's April 11th Board reporting.  He emphasized that the PC had indeed already endorsed the DPG's work and concepts as a whole, with no narrowing of choices or options.  He said that other interested parties, like the Downtown Planning Group, had to make the final decisions.  Due to that pressure from Planning Commission Chair Larry Roman, Chick was forced to "clarify" this at the April 25, 2017 Board meeting.  She admitted that the PC urged further public input as a means of finalizing a plan from among the several suggested.  If this seems confusing, you've been paying attention.
The misrepresentation I am documenting below is more serious and less equivocal.  
You may remember that in mid 2015, Township Planner Carlisle-Wortmann asked for some small fee increases, their first after years of working for the same price.   The PC responded by opening the Planner position to competitive bidding.   At the June 25, 2015  meeting, it was revealed that Carlisle-Wortmann said in a letter to the PC that they would not participate in the bidding process, effectively resigning. The four Planning Firms that had submitted proposals presented their firms and answered questions at a July 14th public meeting.  
In a July 15th vote, the Planning Commission selected McKenna Associates as its first choice for Township Planner.   In a second July 15th PC vote, Planning Commissioners selected Beckett & Raeder as their Second Choice, to fill the position of planner in the case that McKenna was not available or could not be hired.  These selections and the order of preference were unambiguous.
Chick was present and voting at that July 15, 2015 PC meeting.  Yet in her July 28-2015 report to the Township Board, she misrepresented the PC's choices and votes of a replacement planner.  She told the Board that Beckett & Raeder and McKenna were equal choices, that McKenna was an alternative only.  At that July 28th meeting Trustee Wayne Dockett protested that what Chick had said was not true.  (Wayne had been in the audience at the July 15th PC)  The Board ignored Dockett and voted to hire Beckett & Raeder.
At the following meeting of the Planning Commission, August 5th, PC commissioner Ken Dignan had the official Minutes of the July 15th PC meeting amended to pretend that Beckett & Raeder had always been a co-equal choice for Planner.  Watching the video shows that nothing could be further from the truth1.
Beckett & Raeder lasted only a few months.  At the January 12, 2016 meeting at which Beckett & Raeder's resignation was announced, Trustee Chick told the PC that she had no idea why the Board had hired Beckett & Raeder, that McKenna had always been the Planning Commission's first choice.

In other words, Chick contradicted her 7-28-2015 report to the Township Board in which she told the Board that the two firms were equally preferred alternatives.  She admitted knowing the real intent of the 7/15/2015 PC vote naming McKenna their first choice 

 At the next Board meeting McKenna  was hired at a 50% premium over the cost of Carlisle-Wortmann.

1 Compounding the perfidy, in an almost fantastic coincidence I hadn't noticed before today, this was the meeting at which came to light Mark Stanalajczo's attempts to order Recording Secretary Lemble to strip descriptive content from her spare and elegant Meeting Minutes.  This spurred a contentious debate.  FYI, that was the moment at which the LiveAgenda was born to counter Stanalajczo's attempt to reduce transparency.


It's all documented on video.  You can used the LiveAgendas below to watch the fifteen or so relevant minutes of meetings.
7-1-2015: Township Planner Carlisle-Wortmann's No-Bid announced at 7-1-2016 PC meeting.  This is in effect Carlisle-Wortmann's resignation.

 7-28-2015 Northfield Township Board of Trustees LiveMeetingMinutes



Planner Beckett & Raeder's abrupt resignation is announced at the January 12, 2016 Board meeting - NNT's report

McKenna was hired to replace Beckett & Raeder at the 1-26-2016 BOT meeting.   This was the meeting at which Janet Chick "fell ill" and was carted away on an ambulance.