Roach campaign tied to illegal removal of campaign signs by union Local 670 leaders

Editor’s Note: The O’Fallon Weekly received several inquires from readers concerned about the facts included in this press release from the Goodwin campaign and published in the March 1, 2017 edition. The Weekly decided to temporarily deactivate the press release from our website so that we could independently confirm the police report and discuss the matter with the O’Fallon Police Chief. The police chief told the O’Fallon Weekly he has reviewed the documents pertaining to this case and he believes it is a “factual report.” (See copy of report below)

The O’Fallon Weekly agreed to make space available to both mayoral candidates during this campaign cycle. Press releases published in the newspaper are identified by the “For the O’Fallon Weekly” by line under the headline. Going forward, we will mark these press releases differently. These press releases will say “Campaign Press Release” and identify the candidate who sent the press release to the Weekly.

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O’FALLON – According to an O’Fallon, Illinois Police Department Report filed on Saturday, February 18, 2017, the Roach Campaign instructed Union Local 670 leaders to remove Goodwin campaign signs at the State Street/Seven Hills roundabout.
The police report states the reporting officer “found Travis Craig, Andrew Rushing and a third subject removing Goodwin for Mayor signs from the farm property that surrounds the roundabout at State and Seven Hills.”

Travis Craig is listed as the Business Manager for the Laborer’s International Union Local 670 in O’Fallon, which is a member of the Southwestern Illinois Building Trades Council who recently endorsed Roach for Mayor.
The report states Craig produced an email from the Roach Campaign that claimed Goodwin did not have permission from the landowner to place his signs on the farm property.

While the officer was speaking with Craig and the other two subjects, the report states “Robert J. Smejkal came from the home of the now deceased Eleanor Behrens. Smejkal first confronted one of the three and asked why they were pulling the signs. Then Smejkal came to talk to me and advised he was Behren’s son-in-law. The land (all of it around the intersection) is owned by the Eleanor Behren’s Trust and his wife Judy Smejkal (Eleanor’s daughter) is the executor.”

The report continued that the Smejkals “have given permission to Goodwin to place the signs on the property and in fact do not mind if someone (anyone) wants to as long as they ask permission.”

“This report is very disturbing,” Goodwin stated. “Mr. Roach’s campaign has taken a wrong turn in the decision to instruct a local union to illegally remove my campaign signs, especially when this union’s contract is up for renewal with the City on April 30th.”
Roach received the endorsement of the Southwestern Illinois Trades Council of which Local 670 is a member, just five days before the incident reported by the O’Fallon Police.

According to a February 13, 2017 article in the Labor Tribune, Dale Stewart, executive secretary-treasurer for the Southwestern Illinois Trades Council, said Roach is the kind of candidate that unions can work with successfully.
“We’ve got to elect these kinds of people who do understand what we do and who will make that tough vote and support us when we ask them,” Stewart added.

Roach has made honest communications the centerpiece of his campaign for mayor. He recently stated “one of the keys to good leadership is solid open communications” in the February 15th edition of the O’Fallon Weekly.
“If sending an email to union workers telling them to illegally remove campaign signs is open and honest communications, every voter in O’Fallon should be very concerned,” said Goodwin.

“My campaign is focused on moving O’Fallon forward by keeping politics out of city management and providing property tax relief to homeowners who have built our city,” said Goodwin. “We are not cutting deals in the back room.”

“The old dirty political games of the past that my opponent’s campaign is engaged in have no place in our city or this campaign,” Goodwin said. “Bringing politics into labor relations is a practice of the old party machine and only leads to bringing our community down.”

“As mayor, I will keep politics out of the hiring process. I will work to ensure that city staff is qualified to perform their duties and labor contracts are negotiated to provide the best service to our residents, not to help me win a campaign,” Goodwin stated.

“From the head of a department to the frontline worker, I will make sure that each person who works for the city understands they work for and are accountable to the residents, not a mayor who cut a political deal for an endorsement,” said Goodwin.