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Mayor Sommers:
'We Do Need to Be Seen'

By Matt Youngfrau
MONTICELLO — October 8, 2002 – Monticello Mayor Gary Sommers has heard a great deal of complaints lately. He has been accused of not listening to his constituents and not getting along with Village Manager Richard Sush. Sommers is determined to prove those accusations are wrong.
At the village’s board meeting last night, Sommers was expected to announce two new initiatives that will begin in November. Sommers recently offered a sneak preview of the new proposals.
“I had a meeting with the Monticello Chamber of Commerce,” Sommers stated. “There may or may not be a feeling that Richard and I don’t get along. We do. We do need to be seen more often in the neighborhoods.”
To that end, beginning the first week of November, Sommers and Sush will have lunch together once a week at a local eatery. Each week will be at a different restaurant. A press release will be sent out the previous Friday to alert the public where the two will be. From noon-1 p.m., they will make themselves available to the public and address any need brought to them, said Sommers. The cost for the lunch will be paid out of their own pockets.
“Why does he wait until I go on a diet for him to take me to lunch?” Sush joked. “I have no problem going to lunch with the mayor. We don’t need to hug to work together. If us having lunch will appease some people, I’ll do it.”
The other program will also start in November. The village board usually holds their meetings the first and third Mondays of the month. On an alternate Monday (most likely the second one), Sommers will hold a constituents’ night at the Neighborhood Facility. Sommers will be there from 7-8:30 p.m. He invites everyone, including fellow board members, to join him so he can address any issues brought to him. Sommers feels some people are not comfortable talking at a public meeting, on the phone, or at his shop and hopes this will encourage people to talk to him.
“If other board members show up, we can set up separate rooms [since more than two members constitute a meeting],” Sommers said. “I will be there – even if I am alone.”

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