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Article posted: 2/24/2010 12:01 AM

Showdown set over Island Lake police chief suspension

Debbie Herrmann

Debbie Herrmann

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Two Island Lake trustees plan to confront Mayor Debbie Herrmann at Thursday night's board meeting about her recent decision to suspend the police chief.

Trustees Laurie Rabattini and Don Saville insist they're owed an explanation as to why Chief Anthony Sciarrone was placed on administrative leave.

Herrmann did not consult any of the trustees before announcing last week she had suspended Sciarrone, and she has refused to discuss the matter with the board, either publicly or privately.

That didn't sit well with Saville.

"I think she overstepped her bounds, and I think she's out of control," he said.

Herrmann could not be reached for comment.

The board held a special meeting last week to ask Herrmann about her decision, but she didn't show. More than 20 local residents were in attendance, and many spoke critically of the mayor's actions and her absence.

Rabattini believes many of those residents will attend Thursday's meeting, too.

"I hope their interest is still there and their concern for the community is still there," she said.

Assuming Herrmann attends Thursday's session, set for 7:30 p.m. at village hall, it will be the first time the trustees and the mayor are together since Herrmann announced via e-mail on Feb. 15 that she had suspended Sciarrone.

That suspension came weeks after a similar move by the mayor against police officer Fred Manetti. Herrmann has refused to explain either suspension.

But the matter won't go away just because Herrmann refuses to talk about it, Saville said.

"This is not a dead issue by any means," he said.

Trustee John Ponio said he intends to propose changing the village codes to prevent the mayor from unilaterally taking similar action in the future.

Not all the trustees are as worked up about the situation. Trustee Don Verciglio, who repeatedly has said he felt "blindsided" by the mayor's decision to suspend Sciarrone and wanted answers at last week's meeting, doesn't plan to confront her Thursday.

Herrmann had the proper authority to put the chief on leave, Verciglio said.

Village attorney Scott Puma could not be reached for comment.

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