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updated: 2/9/2011 3:26 PM

Roselle man questions ethics in District 12

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A Roselle man filed an ethics complaint with Roselle School District 12 this week, calling on officials to cancel a scheduled Feb. 16 forum for Roselle village board candidates at Spring Hills Elementary.

Paul Jendrycki's complaint claims Superintendent Lori Bein and school board members Debra Wilson, Tom Della Penna, Lisa Mondo and Robin Taucher violated the district's ethics and gifts ban.

He said organizing a forum on school property and during "payroll hours" violates district policy forbidding campaigning in schools.

When the forum was announced last month, Bein said officials thought it would allow residents to question candidates and hear their views.

She reiterated Wednesday the district "had good intentions" and said she will publicly respond to Jendrycki's complaint on Friday.

"We just can't have people in charge that change the rules as they go along and fit things to fit certain circumstances," Jendrycki said.

His grievance echoes similar protests that initially came from village board candidates in the Roselle United Party -- Richard Rhode, Eleanor "Elly" Paletta and Todd Eichholz. They declined to participate in the forum.

Only independent candidates Ronald Baker, Wayne Domke and Barbara Rendall Hochstadt are scheduled to appear Feb. 16.

Roselle United members questioned the fairness of the proposed forum, especially because Della Penna originally was slated to act as moderator. Della Penna is listed as a vocal supporter of Hochstadt on her campaign website.

Jendrycki said he isn't supporting any candidates yet, but has similar worries because Wilson, Mondo and Taucher also are listed as Hochstadt supporters.

"Four members of the board are on record 'vocally supporting' one of the ... candidates -- which gives a strong indication that this event is being hosted to further a particular candidate's political campaign," he said in the complaint.

It is not unusual for schools in DuPage County to play host to informational forums on referendum issues. Public buildings frequently are used for candidate forums organized by civic groups.

Jendrycki said he "doesn't have a stance" on whether he believes such forums are also a misuse of taxpayer dollars.

"This is not a referendum, this is something different," he said. "I don't want to muddy the waters with any hypotheticals. I am concerned that District 12 has a manual with a policy in place. If you're making the rules, play by the rules of your game."

Jendrycki said he may lodge a complaint with the state if the district moves forward with the forum.