With one grand jury investigation currently investigating the use of Country Club Hills firefighters to demolish a pool house at the home of Mayor Dwight Welch, the Sun-Times reports Mayor Welch continues to turn his nose up at the taxpayers of Country Club Hills with a $27,000 weekend training seminar for “some aldermen, department heads and city employees.” The seminar was held at the The Abbey Resort, billed as “Only Full Service Resort And Spa On The Shores Of Lake Geneva [sic],” according to their Internet ads.


Welch defended the expense.

“That was the deal, $27,000. We [rented] a room for [each] person. If they were married, they could bring their husband or wife. That’s like it is on any convention. . . . It’s not like we were going to some exotic place,” Welch said.

The seminar was conducted by Dr. Paul Craig, according to the Sun-Times. Craig is “a senior fellow in the University of Illinois’ Institute of Government and Public Affairs in Champaign.”

Country Club Hills spent $1,447.50 to bring Craig along, “$1,000 for the seminar, $187.50 in travel expenses, $60 for meals and $200 for lodging.”

That leaves $25,552.50 for the remaining members who attended.

I know Dr. Craig. He’s worth every penny they spent on him and more. If anyone can help a politician find his soul, it’s Dr. Craig. He’s extremely well-read, perceptive, and, most of all, ethical.

But the student needs to be open to the lesson.

Look, this just all smells bad.

When the news about the demolition of the pool house first came to light, one Country Club Hills resident, Robert Darnell, expressed his support for Mayor Welch, “Mayor Welch has done such a good job, I can not say anything bad about him,” Darnell, 73, said.

That’s admirable. Not everyone was so impressed:

One 67-year-old woman, a 20-year resident, said Welch “gets all kinds of perks,” and joked that firefighters “can paint my deck and back porch. I can’t tell you my name. If I did, they’d be out tomorrow, tearing down my garage,” she said.

What are residents saying now? Is a weekend at a luxury hotel and resort acceptable to the taxpayers of Country Club Hills?

Too often, public officials start to believe they’re royalty, pampering themselves, spending taxpayer dollars as if it was their own.

$27,000 for a weekend away?  Did they really need to go to Wisconsin, to a luxury resort?

Nero wouldn’t bat an eye.