Lyndon Public Works Supervisor Resigns

John Wright, a ten year employee of the Village, said he worked in a "hostile work environment."
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The Lyndon Village Board held its November meeting a week earlier than usual to avoid interfering with Election Day as the Village Hall is used as a polling location. The main issue of the evening was the resignation of public works supervisor John Wright who quit on October 24th. Wright was not in attendance at the meeting.

Contacted after the meeting, Wright, who had been employed by the village since September 2011, said his resignation was due to a “hostile work environment that made me feel unsafe.” Wright singled out Mayor Becky Piester for his decision. “I was always looking over my shoulder and you can’t work efficiently like that.”

Wright said he said he received 15 reprimands in the past nine months from Piester. “The straw that broke the camels back was I got a “misappropriation of funds while on duty” reprimand for taking a screen door out of a garbage dumpster”, Wright said. In an interview Piester said that while reprimands are delivered by her, which can be verbal or in writing, other members of the board can ask her to do so. She also acknowledged that other board members were aware of the reprimands before they were issued.

Former Lyndon Public Works Superintendent, John Wright (l) digs a hole for a tree planting in Richmond Park in 2021.

Wright said he has been at odds with Piester for the last year citing several examples of reprimands that he felt were unfair saying the reprimands had caused him to become “not hirable” for other jobs in the area that he had applied for. Wright added that he felt he was also treated unfairly by other administrations citing examples shortly after being hired in 2011.

The Mayor said she and the board are limited on speaking on the matter at the advice of the Village attorney, but added, “There are two sides to every story.” Wright said he is planning on taking legal action against the village.

Since Wright was licensed and did water quality testing, the Village has secured the services of TEST Inc., which does water testing for several area municipalities.

Currently the two part-time public works employees are being supervised by Village Police Chief, Mike Fisk, who has helped the department with several projects over the years. Both Fisk and Piester said that so far things are “running smoothly”. Piester added there are no plans at this time to replace Wright.

During the public comment portion of the meeting several residents voiced their support for Wright. Dale and Libby Timmons asked if there was anything that could be done to get Wright reinstated adding they were very grateful for all Wright’s help over the years.

Resident Larry Stone stated that Wright had told him that he had been written up 15 times since the mayor had come into office and that he felt Wright was being harassed.

Bonnie Miles commented that she felt the board members needed better training in handling personnel issues.

Wright summarized his feelings over his action saying, “I’m not against Lyndon, I’m not against the board, I’m not against the people. I cannot work for her (Piester) and go to sleep at night knowing I have a bullseye on my back.”

Board Action

The board approved funding for the annual holiday lighting contest. First place will receive $75, second-place $50 and third place $25.

Approved a year end bonus of $150 for office personnel and $200 for a Village employee holiday lunch.

Approved the fiscal year 2023 tax Levy as presented.

Approved changes to the village’s personnel policy to include drug testing and the use of GPS tracking in village vehicles.

Mayor Piester asked for a motion to approve pay for short-term employment per the Personnel Policy for office help and or basic maintenance. Office workers will be paid minimum wage $12/hour for 2022,  $13/hour for 2023 and $25 /hour for CDL drivers.

Approved payment for Illinois Municipal League Risk Management Assoc. for workmen’s compensation and insurance in the amount of $49,573. 

Approved a payment of $200 to the city of Prophetstown for E-waste disposal.  

Approved a payment of $600 for the annual licensing fee for Microsoft Office software to include four users in the village office.

Approved the transfer of $47,800 from the vehicle fund to an 18 month CD.

Approved the transfer of $140,600 out of the general fund into an 18 month CD for the water and garbage fund.

A motion to sign a long term agreement with TEST Inc. at $400 per month for water testing was tabled until additional information could be obtained about the details of the agreement.

Approved the installation of a new heater in the public works garage for $2,300. The work will be done by Sutton and Son Construction, Heating and Cooling

Department Head Reports

Office Manager/Deputy Clerk – Georgia Schaver

Had a request from resident Demitry Feofanov to put a sign up in the corner by 404 4th Ave. West. It was determined the location for the sign was on Village property and the request was denied.

There will be lighting ceremony at the Historic Lyndon Bridge on December 3rd at 5PM. The event will include snacks, drinks, as well as an appearance by Santa Claus.

Police – Chief, Mike Fisk

Reported there was some vandalism (graffiti) to the Lyndon Bridge but a Lyndon resident volunteered his services and was able to clean it up.

The investigation into a house fire at 707 3rd St. West owned by Terry Tucker is still proceeding.

Board Members

Tyler Scott thanked the Public Works employees for their recent efforts. 

Beau Wetzell said he has been looking at the Public Works Department’s trucks to determine what repairs are needed. He also thanked department employees Mike Piester and Raistlin Hughes for doing a great job.  

There was no action taken from executive session.

The next Village Board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, December 13th at 6:00PM.

2 Responses

  1. I’d like to know what is being done to fix the water system at Hauck Homes. The water stinks regularly. It’s awful!

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