May 21, 2024 Local Stories in and Around St. Joseph, Illinois

Community members attend board meeting to support Assistant Public Works Director

On April 29, dozens of people attended a village board meeting and signed up to praise a village employee—Luke Fisher.

The board was meeting to discuss “the appointment, employment, compensation, discipline, performance or dismissal of one or more specific village employee(s).”

The agenda was posted at the village hall, sent to media and posted on the village website on April 26.

Under the Illinois Open Meetings Act the village board is allowed to go into closed session to discuss employment issues.

The board never said that the meeting was to discuss Fisher’s employment.

St. Joseph resident Rob Trotter spoke before the closed session.

He said Fisher was always reliable.

“Luke is the person you call when you want things done,” Trotter said. “I don’t know why a scorched earth approach is necessary for a one-time insubordination.”

St. Joseph resident Brandon Williams said he felt the meeting was a political stunt.

“I don’t know what’s been done, I don’t know what’s been said, I just feel like they are trying to railroad somebody out for personal reasons,” Williams said. “I hope a decision is not made because someone’s feelings are hurt or something was said about someone or something.”

Former Village Trustee Dan Davis also commented during the meeting. Davis said that during the storm in June 2023 that destroyed numerous trees in the village and made roads impassable, it was Fisher who stayed in town and handled the situation.

“He picked up the ball and ran with it,” He said. “He was trained for that situation. He got different municipalities here to clean up St. Joseph. He did a great job of it.”

St. Joseph Township Road Commissioner Brian Buss said he worked with Fisher and knows he can depend on him.

“I am going to tell you right now,” he said. “If it hadn’t been for Luke and Todd you would still be picking up sticks. (from the June storm). He knew who to contact, he knew what to do and how to get it done.”

Village resident Jeff Schleef pointed out it was unusual for that many people to attend a board meeting.

“I just want to say look at how many people are here supporting this young man,” he said. “Maybe he made a mistake. If it’s an ongoing thing that is going on every day it would be a different case. If one of you made a mistake how many people would be here to support you?”

Village resident Lee Jannusch said she has known Fisher for a long time and described him as a “great man.”

“I just implore each and every one of you to look at the facts and see how he is,” she said. “Just make the best decision that can be made, not just because someone’s feelings were hurt. He is loved in this community. I implore you to make the right decision.”

Mayor Tami Fruhling-Voges’ husband Mike Voges also spoke at the meeting.

He commented on Williams’ comment of the meeting being a political stunt.

“We all watch CNN, FOX and there are a lot of political stunts,” he said. “At a small town level, I don’t think there are political stunts.”

Fruhling-Voges thanked the residents for attending and said she appreciated them being there.

“I appreciate your comments and I appreciate you taking time out of your day to attend,” she said.

The board met in closed session for almost two hours.

No action was taken after the closed session meeting.

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