Fallout From Alvin Wire Controversy Continues

Mixed responses to Wire’s comments; 10 board members did not respond to requests for comment by press time.

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Community members and local elected officials have spoken out against Alvin Wire’s controversial comments about sexual harassment, but others have remained silent three days after Wire was removed from his committee leadership position by County Board Chair Bill Hadley. 

Elected leaders like Freeport Mayor Jodi Miller and Freeport Township Supervisor Patrick Sellers have spoken out against Wire; the Stephenson County Democratic Party called for Wire’s resignation.

Local organizers copied The Voice onto an email addressed to every member of the county board, including Wire. In the email, they demanded Wire’s resignation, thanked county board members who have spoken publicly about Wire’s comments, and invited all members of the board to “stand in solidarity” with them during a demonstration scheduled for Saturday, July 25th. 

The organizers are billing the event, which is slated to begin at 10am at the Lincoln-Douglas Debate Square, as a Women’s March.

The Voice has asked every board member the same questions via email: 

Will you be attending the Women’s March on Saturday July 25th?

Will you ask for Mr. Wire’s resignation or support a resolution from the entire board asking for his resignation?

We received the following replies as of 3pm today. 

Jerry Pardus (R-District H): 

No, I will not be attending the women’s march this coming Saturday. Mr. Wire has been a very dedicated member of the Stephenson Co. board for many years. I will not ask for or support a resolution to remove Mr. Wire from the county board.” 

(Note: Pardus and Wire represent the same county board district.)

Scott Helms (R-District I): 

“I do not condone nor support the proposed language and subsequent comments made by Mr. Wire at the July 8th Administration Committee meeting regarding enticement and  placing blame on victims.  Equally, I do not support nor condone Mr. Newton’s response to Mr. Wire where he stated, ‘You’ll have a legal issue with that.  I’m not a lawyer but from what I’ve seen-that ain’t even, that won’t fly…but it sounds good!’ Clearly, neither men understand the issues relating to sexual harassment. Words have power and there is no room anywhere for statements like those made by these two county board members in a public and county sanctioned committee meeting.  I have strong concerns about both Mr. Wire and Mr. Newton continuing to craft the county’s employment policy as long as they feel these comments are appropriate and “sound good”. Both Mr. Wire and Mr. Newton should apologize for their insensitive remarks and pledge to create a safe work environment for all county employees.”

Mark Diddens (R-District K):

“I support Chairman Hadley’s action to remove Mr. Wire from his Chairman position, Admin seat, and Finance seat.  I called Cassandra at WREX and said the same. I’d like to be on record in support of that action. I will leave it up to Hadley and his advisors for now, whether or not Alvin will be removed from the whole board. I trust that he will make the right decision.”

Andy Schroeder (R-District G): 

Schroeder directed us to his website for his own press release. Readers can find that release here.

Jim Pinter (R-District L): 

I have a lot of respect for Mr. Wire; however, he and I disagree with regards to his latest comments surrounding sexual harassment.  I will not be able to attend on July 25th as I will be hosting a small gathering for my daughters 4th birthday.  I wish you and all who attend the best.”

Rebecca Quiggle (R-District C): 

Quiggle replied that she wouldn’t be able to attend the march “due to health issues” but is “with (marchers) in heart and mind.”

Becky Hebert (D-District C): 

I plan to attend, if social distancing is possible. I am 77 yrs. old with a compromised immune system. Mr. Wire’s position on sexual harassment still resides in the 50’s and is very hurtful.  I would prefer that Mr. Wire be asked to take a course in sexual harassment sensitivity training.”

As of press time, 10 board members had not responded to The Voice’s request for comment: Casey Anthony (D-District D), Charles Hilton (D-District D), Brad Hartog (R-District F), Christopher Clukey (R-District F), Anthony Kuhlemeier (R-District G), Todd Welch (R-District I), Paul Fosler (R-District J), Steve Fricke (R-District J), Brenda Boynton (D-District K), and Jerry Clay (R-District L).

Additionally, we spoke to Vice Chair Sam Newton (D-District B) who said that he will be attending the event on Saturday and “strongly condemns Mr. Wire’s actions and behaviors.” We hope to bring you a live interview Saturday morning.

We didn’t have the correct email address for Ronnie Bush (D-District B) and had not followed up with Mr. Bush as of press time.

County Board Chair Bill Hadley has gone on the record multiple times with news outlets in the area. We hope to bring you an interview with Chairman Hadley in the coming days. 

Alvin Wire has not responded to multiple requests for comment. 

For more content on this ongoing story:

The Voice of Freeport originally broke the story of Mr. Wire’s comments by broadcasting the live committee meeting on our Facebook platform on July 8th here.

We also covered it in our new monthly County Government Report on July 14th here.

The version with only Wire’s comments is here.

Carl Utt is a local Gay Atheist Liberal Democrat Insurance Agent, newly minted citizen journalist/activist, official pain in the ass of elected and unelected officials, and believes we’re currently presented with a once in a two lifetimes opportunity to change the world, right now. He can be reached at progressivevisionil@gmail.com or 815-616-5856.