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MACEDONIA -- Councilor Sylvia Hanneken was censured by her fellow Council members Jan. 12 for the second time in less than one year.
Councilor Kevin Bilkie made a motion to censure Hanneken "for putting out information that was misleading to the voters of Macedonia" in the November general election.
Council President Nick Molnar added to censure motion, saying Hanneken was "totally wrong" for responding with a letter to a female resident who criticized her at a November Council meeting.
Bilkie, Molnar and Jan Tulley voted for the censure, while Councilor David Engle voted against it.
Hanneken said Jan. 12 she is a member of the group "Citizens for Macedonia Fiscal Accountability," which she said distributed pamphlets to residents about the two tax issues on the November ballot that were ultimately defeated.
Mayor Joe Migliorini told Hanneken she distributed "propaganda" to the community.
"I take great exception when things are put out in the community that are not true," he said. "The issues failed at the ballot because of misleading statements."
Hanneken said she believes the information is true.
"I do not believe it is misleading," she said.
Bilkie said the literature implied to residents "these are the facts. Please vote no."
"But these were not the facts," he added. "It's misleading to say we have money when we don't."
Bilkie told Hanneken, "You disregarded everyone else's opinion" about the city's finances "and only used your own. You can't just throw out everyone else's opinion."
Molnar added, "It's all lies" in the pamphlet, telling Hanneken, "If you can't say the truth, don't say anything."
Regarding Hanneken's letter to the resident, Molnar said it was "wildly inappropriate. That is totally wrong in my mind."
Councilor Jan Tulley added, "What appalls me the most is that Mrs. Hanneken wrote a letter to a resident who came to speak her mind. You don't write a rebuttal. You have to realize that is part of being a public servant. I am appalled that she wrote that letter."
Hanneken said she "was advised by a counsel that I had to correct any factual errors as to what statements were made when anyone talks about me in public."
Hanneken said the letter she sent to the resident "did not threaten anybody. It simply said, 'You are making false statements and you need to be aware of them.' That was the point of the letter. I did not criticize her for criticizing me. I simply responded, 'These are the facts.' I do not threaten people who have a different opinion" than I do, she said.
Engle said the censure involved Council continuing to "rehash" the past.
"We've been through this 2-3 times," he said. "All we do is argue about the same thing. The levy has been voted down. Now, it's back again. It's good political drama, but it's not working for the city."
Molnar added, "Doing the same thing over is absolutely right. It's about spinning the truth and confusing everyone."
Law Director Mark Guidetti said the censure itself is the actual punishment, and that there would be no other penalty.
"A censure is the result of a public reprimand at a meeting," he said. "Council is the arbiter of its members for conduct it deems unbecoming."
Hanneken was previously censured Feb. 25, 2016. The motion was made by Molnar, who voted for the censure along with Bilkie and Tulley, while Engle voted against the motion. Under Council rules, Hanneken was not allowed to vote.
In his 2016 motion, Molnar accused Hanneken of "overstepping bounds," and "behavior unbecoming" a member of Council, as well as "taking a position contrary to" her oath of office. In the "behavior unbecoming" allegation, Molnar alleged Hanneken was the subject of a call to police from an assisted living facility on Nov. 2, 2015, alleging she was campaigning there without permission."The statements that were made were false," Hanneken said of the report to police.
Hanneken also denied she had done anything wrong in any of the allegations brought up by Molnar. "The kinds of things that you're citing here, they go back to try to re-litigate issues that we had disagreements about," she said. "There is nothing in here that I've ever done to violate my oath of office."
Mike Lesko: 330-541-9432