Arlington Heights Trustees Promote Pride Month Proclamation
Most Arlington Heights administrators are in favor of approving a village proclamation recognizing Pride Month in June, but some wonder if this will lead to similar statements for other groups and causes on a monthly.
The issue came at the end of a sometimes controversial board discussion that took place over three hours on Monday evening, when board members weighed in on the village’s ongoing diversity initiative, d equity and inclusion. This followed a rare public debate over the selection of an interim president.
The idea of recognizing the LGBTQ community in the form of a formal statement came from trustee Tom Schwingbeck, who said it would suit the larger discussion on DCI issues.
His idea won the support of directors Mary Beth Canty, Robin LaBedz, Rich Baldino and Nicolle Grasse. Jim Bertucci and John Scaletta said they would be in favor of it as well, although they were concerned about the number of proclamations that could arise in the future.
Mayor Tom Hayes said he should see the wording of the Pride Month proclamation before signing it.
LaBedz, who was chosen as interim chair earlier in the meeting, said that when she was chair of the library board in the 1990s, the library hosted a showcase in recognition of Pride Month. While this generated some controversy in terms of the anonymous letters the library received, LaBedz said no opponents showed up in an oversized boardroom at the next library board meeting.
“All of our names are on these proclamations, so if there are a lot of things that seem controversial, we’re all included in them. My name means something, and I’d like to have it on something that I think it is. is as important as these other proclamations, ”said LaBedz.
LaBedz’s comments came after an exchange between Hayes and Canty over whether past village council proclamations had been controversial. Hayes said he receives proclamation requests from various groups almost daily and tries to be careful of which ones he chooses.
“I think most of them are not controversial and the whole board could be okay with it or else I would check with the board,” Hayes said.
Canty said she can remember at least one controversial proclamation since she was elected to the board in 2019. She favors a structure or process for determining which proclamations the board adheres to. .
“I can’t comment on what was presented to the mayor or staff that I or another board member might have felt differently about,” Canty said. “I would admit a certain rigor in how we do this, who we recognize and when. I think a good place to start is our first opportunity which comes up here in June.”
While saying he would support some sort of Pride Month proclamation, Bertucci wondered how many different proclamations might come up each month.
“I just want to make sure we don’t do things prematurely and arrange for a class that might either cause something where someone says, ‘You did this, but you didn’t do it,’ or more work on staff and resources than we might have, ”said Bertucci.
Noting that municipalities issue and read proclamations to varying degrees, village director Randy Recklaus said he would seek organized policy for Arlington Heights, while drafting wording for the Pride Month proclamation for the June 7th village council meeting.