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updated: 10/13/2010 9:02 AM

Atheist activist Rob Sherman to challenge Buffalo Grove clerk

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  • Rob Sherman

    Rob Sherman

  • Janet Sirabian

    Janet Sirabian


The race for Buffalo Grove village clerk usually is a simple affair.

For nearly every campaign in the last 31 years, it has included one candidate: Village Clerk Janet Sirabian.

This year, however, Sirabian could face competition from a man known locally as an activist and nationally as an atheist: Rob Sherman.

Sherman said he is collecting signatures to get himself a spot on the ballot in the next village election.

Sirabian said she intends to pursue re-election.

"I have always liked the job, Sirabian said. "I don't like politics. But I like government.

On his website, Sherman, 57, is urging Sirabian, 69, to retire, sarcastically suggesting that Buffalo Grove should impose term limits of 32 years.

Questioning Sirabian's ability to do the job, he writes, "It's a lousy, boring job. I don't want to be Buffalo Grove Village Clerk, but we need a change. If running for the office, myself, is the only way to provide the citizens of Buffalo Grove with the quality of service that they expect, that they deserve and are entitled to, then that's what I'll do.

Sirabian said she is proud of her work.

"I think I do the job very well, and I think most people you talk to will tell you I do the job very well. And I think my peers in other communities will tell you I do the job very well, she said.

Sirabian, who said she is no longer speaking to Sherman as a result of what he has written, said, "I find it interesting that he said that he does not want to be village clerk and he thinks it's a lousy boring job. And now I'm wondering why he's running for it.

But Sherman said the quality of Sirabian's work has slipped. He noted that she lost the audiotape of the 2005 executive session in which the report by Shaw Environmental Inc. on the Land and Lakes landfill was discussed.

He also noted that Sirabian lost the keys to village hall.

Sirabian acknowledges losing the tape.

"I can't tell you what happened to the tape, she said.

Regarding the loss of the keys, which happened in May 2009 while she was at a meeting, she said, "I think we have all lost our keys at some point in our lives, adding "there was no reason to change the locks at village hall, since the keys probably are in a landfill somewhere.

But Sherman said what inspired him to run was the minutes of the finance committee meeting of Sept. 27 when she incorrectly called it a committee of the whole meeting.

Sherman said the minutes indicated that Trustees DeAnn Glover and Jeffrey Berman were absent, but that they were not required to be there since it was a meeting of the finance committee.

"That's a smear on both of them, Sherman said. "They're both up for re-election.

Sirabian admits that she made a mistake with the finance committee minutes, explaining that the composition of the panel has changed over the years. At one point, it required all of the trustees to be present. That is no longer the case.

Sherman also took issue with the fact that the summary of what happened was limited to a short statement indicating staff members presented reports and updates on a number of bullet points, including a possible local motor fuel tax.

"There was a lot of discussion, Sherman said, but the summary was limited mainly to a short paragraph and a series of bullet points.

Sirabian, however, said that the finance committee meeting merely was a brainstorming session, and no action was taken. There was no need to include more.

Sirabian's minutes continually have been called into question by Trustee Lisa Stone, who consistently votes against the minutes because, Stone says, they do not accurately reflect the meeting.

Sirabian defends her minutes, saying that, for 30 years, she always has put in a meeting synopsis.

"That wasn't good enough for her, so then I was putting more in, to the point, Sirabian said, that the minutes were the equivalent of a small novel.

"That wasn't good enough for her, Sirabian said. "So obviously, no matter what I do, it doesn't please her.

Now, Sirabian said, she puts in only what is required by law, which is action taken by the board.

Sherman has run for office three times, without success: for library trustee of Indian Trails Public Library, for the Democratic primary for the seat of state Rep. Sidney Mathias and for the Green Party candidate opposing Mathias.