Oglesby mayor slams St. Margaret’s administration

‘A little public relations and communications would avoid much of what has occurred,’ mayor says

Oglesby mayor Dom Rivara delivers a speech during the grand opening ribbon cutting ceremony at the new Illinois Valley Regional Dispatch Center on Wednesday, July 13, 2022 in Peru.

St. Margaret’s Health issued a lengthy statement Monday explaining the lengthy sequence that led to closing the doors of the Peru hospital. For Oglesby’s mayor, it was too little, too late.

At Monday’s meeting of the Oglesby City Council, Mayor Dom Rivara directed the city clerk to read aloud the five-page statement St. Margaret’s issued after-hours, and which ended with an admission that St. Margaret’s officials were remiss in not reaching out earlier to lawmakers.

Then Rivara chimed in and said St. Margaret’s had a duty to keep not only Oglesby but the entire region informed, as well.

“There is no communication with the Illinois Valley, its employees or anyone,” Rivara said, reading from a statement of his own. “A little public relations and communications would avoid much of what has occurred.

“Until the administration of St. Margaret’s stands ready to communicate and work with its employees ... it appears that we won’t be able to identify the issues and work toward resolving them.”

Separately, the Oglesby Police Department soon will be fully staffed.

Commissioner Terry Eutis reported the department has obtained two lateral hires. One is a 6 1/2 year veteran of the Mendota Police Department and the second is a 4 1/2 year veteran of the Spring Valley Police Department.

Both will be sworn in at the next meeting Feb. 20, Eutis said.

Finally, Oglesby could get a dog park by early April.

Commissioner Jim Cullinan said he aims to establish a dog park in the 100 block of West Third Street near the water tower. He did not disclose a budget, indicating the final costs would fall below the threshold for council action, but said he hoped to begin soon.

“I’d like to get it started before the election,” said Cullinan, who is running for mayor.

In other matters, the council:

Appointed acting Police Chief Mike Margis to the Illinois Valley Regional Dispatch Board and 911 Board

Placed on file a resolution to purchase a fire station exhaust extraction system for $101,630.

Agreed to name the Lehigh disc golf course for Wes Black