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Guest Column: Asphalt plant: Business and ethics?

October 26, 2011

By Nichole Larison Sammon
Fox Ridge Subdivision resident

I know many of you have followed my frequent guest columns concerning the proposed asphalt plant in the East State Street quarry. Yes, it is true, the asphalt plant will be in my back yard, but I am not fighting because it is in my back yard. I am fighting because of the circumstances surrounding that fact.

William Charles didn’t come to the table with a first-class plan. The county representatives didn’t meet the residents with openness and a sense of working for the residents of this county. Instead, we were met with arrogance and inauspicious interactions from our elected officials and a short-sighted bargain-basement plan from William Charles.

Business and ethics are not words normally found in the same sentence, nor with politics, but they should be. We expect our elected officials to operate in an ethical manner in office, and we expect businesses to operate in an ethical manner in our society. In looking at William Charles, website, William Charles seems to have a strong ethical message for us all to read.

William Charles Ltd. ethics statement

A strong dedication to ethics fuels our growth at the William Charles organization and guides everything we do. We conduct every aspect of our business within the highest standards of legal and ethical integrity.

Our customers can depend on superior products and services that meet or exceed requirements and specifications, and are delivered right on schedule.

Our suppliers can partner with us knowing that we strive to build long-lasting relationships based on a strong sense of responsibility and a shared desire to best serve our customers.

Our communities can feel secure that we are good corporate citizens who are interested, first and foremost, in enhancing their quality of life with a clean environment and responsible management.

Our employees can feel confident that we will never discriminate by race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, veteran’s status, handicap, gender, marital status, sexual preference, or political or union affiliations.”

Quality message and well written, but is there, as they say, teeth behind it? During the ZBA hearing, according to William Charles, the following companies are completely separate entities. Rock River Environmental Services is the company from the Kilbuck Creek water pollution issues mentioned in The Rock River Times. Winnebago Landfill is the company the IEPA sent a notice of intent to prosecute for air pollution. Below are their websites’ ethics statements.

Rock River Environmental Services ethics statement

A strong dedication to ethics fuels our growth at the Rock River Environmental Services organization and guides everything we do. We conduct every aspect of our business within the highest standards of legal and ethical integrity.

Our customers can depend on superior products and services that meet or exceed requirements and specifications, and are delivered right on schedule.

Our suppliers can partner with us knowing that we strive to build long-lasting relationships based on a strong sense of responsibility and a shared desire to best serve our customers.

Our communities can feel secure that we are good corporate citizens who are interested, first and foremost, in enhancing their quality of life with a clean environment and responsible management.

Our employees can feel confident that we will never discriminate by race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, veteran’s status, handicap, gender, marital status, sexual preference, or political or union affiliations.”

Winnebago Landfill ethics statement

A strong dedication to ethics fuels our growth at the Rock River Environmental Services organization and guides everything we do. We conduct every aspect of our business within the highest standards of legal and ethical integrity.

Our customers can depend on superior products and services that meet or exceed requirements and specifications, and are delivered right on schedule.

Our suppliers can partner with us knowing that we strive to build long-lasting relationships based on a strong sense of responsibility and a shared desire to best serve our customers.

Our communities can feel secure that we are good corporate citizens who are interested, first and foremost, in enhancing their quality of life with a clean environment and responsible management.

Our employees can feel confident that we will never discriminate by race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, veteran’s status, handicap, gender, marital status, sexual preference, or political or union affiliations.”

The Winnebago County Board has an ordinance that spells out the rules around ethics and gifts.

No officer or employee shall intentionally solicit or accept any gift from any prohibited source or in violation of any federal or state statute, rule or regulation. This ban applies to and includes spouses of and immediate family living with the officer or employee. No prohibited source shall intentionally offer or make a gift that violates this chapter.

Ethics statements are only as strong as the people behind them. In the end, as residents, we are left with only rumors. Rumors are not trustworthy, but what is our alternative?

Based on what I have been able to verify in the public records, I believe this company of companies does not deserve another benefit from our county. This asphalt plant is not filling a public need. This asphalt plant is not creating jobs our county so desperately needs. This asphalt plant would destroy adjacent property owners’ “enjoyment of property,” which is a standard the special-use permit must meet according to the Winnebago County ordinances.

The question remains, will the Winnebago County Board vote based on the Winnebago County Ordinances, or how their “friends” want them to vote?

Ask your Winnebago County Board member to vote no!

East State Street neighbors go BIG with their message!

Three electronic billboards in town now show the messages “No asphalt plant in the East State Street Quarry” and adding an adoption from an EPA poster mentioning asphalt as a hazardous chemical, “if you burn it, you breathe it, you smell it — no asphalt plant.”

The billboard locations are: East State Street by NIU, State Street between Mulford and Alpine, and Perryville by Menards and the CherryVale Mall.

From the Oct. 26-Nov. 1, 2011, issue

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