Village’s future uncertain

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ATWOOD, Ill. (WCIA) — Monday night, we told you about the resignation of three village board members, including the village president.

Now we’re hearing more details about how we got to this point.

Right now, there’s no quorum, which means the village board can’t do anything right now.

We spoke to the trustee who didn’t show up at Monday night’s meeting (which resulted in no quorum).

Art Urban said he had doctor’s appointments, and after those, didn’t feel well enough to come.

He didn’t realize the impact his absence would have on the village, but he doesn’t believe the accusations against the village president leading up to this are true.

“I was just not well enough to attend,” said village trustee Art Urban.

Not enough board members means no bill payments, and no pay checks this week for village employees.

Urban said he was looking out for his health…but he’s still looking out for the people he serves.

“I apologize to the employees,” said Urban. “I didn’t realize it was going to be that way. They are my friends, my neighbors.”

This all started in the middle of July, when -then- mayor, Brodie Farrar, installed video cameras in the police department.

Police Chief Rob Bross knew about the cameras. He didn’t know they could record audio.

“That’s a big problem in law enforcement,” said Bross. Especially when sensitive cases come into the police department. “They don’t want their business out there, nor should they. I mean, they’re juvenile victims of child pornography. They don’t need everyone knowing what happened to them.”

We got public records that show the mayor had access to a system where he could view the videos, and that he logged onto it numerous times.

Bross was under the impression that Farrar was eavesdropping on the police department.

Bross gave the information to state police, who jumped on the case. He told us the Piatt and Douglas County state’s attornies are investigating whether or not to charge Farrar with eavesdropping and obstruction of justice.

But Urban, and Farrar, believe these accusations are false. Urban believes the police reports are fabricated.

Farrar declined an on-camera interview with WCIA, but told us this:

“The reason for my resignation was due to continued harassment over the last few months. There are a lot of false claims being spread about this whole situation, I hope to one day be able to shed light on these false statements.”

Brodie Farrar, former village president

The cameras were removed.

Right now, what’s left is an ongoing investigation, three board vacancies, a soon to be missed payroll, and a whole lot of uncertainty.

Bross is one who won’t get paid…but he assures people of this: “The dedicated employees here…we’re going to stick around, we may not get paid Thursday, but we’re going to be here. We’re going to provide the services that the village expects us to do, because that’s our job.”

The village board meeting was rescheduled for Tuesday, September 17th. We asked Art Urban if he plans on being there, so quorum is made. He said he will be, but after that, his resignation letter may be next.

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