By Chris Johnson


Action relating to containing the spread of Covid19 has left citizens in the village of Pecatonica facing serious life realities, following an Executive Declaration by Illinois Governor JB Pritzker.

Village President Bill Smull called for an Emergency Meeting of the Pecatonica Village Board on Tuesday, March 17. The issue of coronavirus had reached the streets of Pecatonica and the Board was ordered to take action.

Restaurants, bars, hair salons and other areas that often house larger numbers of people or encourage close person-to-person contact, were closed to foot and seat traffic.

All Village Trustees were present to answer the call to arms against the viral invader. Trustee Paula Hachmeister requested a tele-connection to proceed. The use of phone interfaces is something Board Members will see expanded, according to the Village President.

A unanimous vote by the representative body during the Tuesday night Emergency Meeting allowed action to commence. It was announced that the Village of Pecatonica would be placed in a “lock-down” situation and if necessary, a decision by the Village President to immediately act without first consulting Board Members was being sought.

Smull explained that what he was asking his Board Members to do was give him executive control for split second decisions. It wasn’t for any purpose other than being able to act as quickly as possible to protect citizens, when needed.

“I’m not trying to overstep my power. There’s no power abuse I’m trying to make. I want the Trustees to tell me that it is o’k to make decisions when it comes to Covid19.”

The power would allow the Village President a lot of control to move a lot of things around as needed, according to Village Attorney Darron Burke.

“From a procedural standpoint, the easiest way to categorize this is whatever the Board can do now as a whole, the Village President could do.”

It was explained that the controlling power, if granted to the Village President, would stay in effect regarding all things relating to spending, budgeting or collaborating with others, until the Board converged next in its Business Meeting or 30 days from acceptance, as supported by Village Ordinance.

The village leader expressed that he wanted the Ordinance written in a way that would assure absolute power could be recovered by Board Members as a collective, when the emergency had passed.

“If we pass this Ordinance, I don’t want it to stay on the books. I want it repealed and thrown out.”

Trustees did not approve the plan to grant Smull executive control. By a vote of 6-0, it was decided that the current form of instant communication and calling for meetings would be followed.

At this point, Trustees receive text or phone call notification of any action required of them. If a meeting is needed, they are notified and asked to respond at the required time.

The Pecatonica Village Board met in Emergency Session twice last week. On Thursday, March 19. the issue of water bill payments and late fee waivers surfaced,

Board Members were asked to approve a measure that directly impacted resident’s current financial situations.





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