Heard that Alderman Stokes took it off the rails at last night’s Kankakee City Council meeting. Aldermen walked out. Facebook commentary attacking him on professionalism, ethics, being disruptive and disrespectful. While I am no fan of this kind of behavior, you have to put yourself in Jim’s shoes.
This is an administration that tried to take Jim Stokes career (firefighter almost 30 years) away from him (August 2011). That lasted more than a year.
Imagine if your employer tried to do that to you and you had to keep your household together. Five department heads coming after you to destroy your reputation and livelihood.
Then you get an attorney and an arbitrator says the firing is unjustified. You win back your job, seniority and your back pay (at the taxpayers expense), but how much damage is done?
Five months after the arbitrator says pay you back immediately, your employer hasn’t returned the back pay they owe you.
This all started with your employer when you ran for office. These same people try to hold you out then, threaten your job. But you win anyway. They decide to use some nonsense to fire you.
I guess the point is if they treated Alderman Stokes with some respect, maybe he would not act like he does. It’s the current culture of leadership that has lead to this and that is just some of the long list of things that needs to change.
Alderman Stokes should not be acting this way. But the leadership is equally to blame. And we all lose.
Tim Schmidt is owner of River North Restaurant in Kankakee and Democratic candidate for Mayor of Kankakee. Reprinted with permission from his Tim Schmidt for Mayor Facebook page.