STOOKEY TOWNSHIP, Ill. – An elected official is apologizing for using a slur about sexual orientation during a public meeting in St. Clair County, Illinois.
FOX 2 obtained an audio recording of the offensive comment from Stookey Township Trustee Dan Weaver.
Weaver apologized during an interview with FOX 2 on Thursday.
The comment came at this week’s meeting of the Stookey Twp. Board of Trustees. Weaver has frequently clashed with the board over township spending issues.
His comment during the meeting went beyond the pale as he clashed with the caretaker of the township’s two parks.
“Me being a (slur), I’m not that way,” Weaver said during the meeting. “I’m not watching him in the park. I’m not watching him in the park. I’m not gay. I’m not homosexual. I’m none of the above.”
Township Supervisor Mark Bagby issued a letter, signed by Weaver’s fellow trustees and the township assessor, calling for Weaver’s written apology and immediate resignation.
“We’re disgusted with his behavior, with his words, his actions,” Bagby said. “It’s not acceptable in any forum.”
“I apologize for that,” Weaver told FOX 2. “I know it was wrong. From the time I was growing up, those were the words we used. It just came out, happen-chance.”
Weaver believes the context surrounding his offensive comment is important.
The township oversees roads and sewers, plus the parks, for more than 9,000 residents in unincorporated Belleville.
“My job is to make sure (taxpayers) get the biggest bang for their buck,” Weaver said.
The board has censured Weaver twice in recent months over past clashes, most recently in June for alleged mistreatment of township employees.
Weaver has now taken issue with the parks’ caretaker, a man Weaver voted to hire shortly after Weaver’s election in 2021.
The caretaker’s driving record includes multiple DUIs and other offenses, all prior to 2014.
The caretaker says Weaver has harassed him about it and has been watching him as he works in the parks.
He publicly questioned whether Weaver was sexually attracted to him at this week’s board meeting, leading to Weaver’s response.
“Words of hate and bigotry are not acceptable, especially of an elected official, nor in a public forum,” Bagby said.
His letter urges the public to join in calls for Weaver’s apology and resignation.
“Mark Bagby, he goes to the Nth degree on everything,” Weaver said. “He pushes everything as hard as he can. I actually call him the ‘Stalin of Stookey’ now.
Weaver reiterated his apology and said he will leave office when his term ends.
“I apologize (for the slur). I know it was a mistake, but it was an accidental mistake,” he said. “I will not run again, but I will not resign. I have been fighting for 20 years for good government.”
He said he’d be there with his fellow trustees at the next meeting on Sept. 5.