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updated: 3/11/2011 2:47 PM

Island Lake mayor vetoes personnel procedural changes

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  • Island Lake Mayor Debbie Herrmann

    Island Lake Mayor Debbie Herrmann


Island Lake Mayor Debbie Herrmann has vetoed a proposal passed by trustees last month aiming to remove some of her executive power.

Herrmann shot down a Feb. 17 amendment to local codes that curbed her ability to unilaterally suspend and fire village employees.

Herrmann announced the veto at Thursday night's village board meeting. The board can vote to override the veto at its next meeting.

Reached Friday, Trustee Don Saville called the veto "expected."

When the board approved the code change at a special meeting in February, proponents alleged Herrmann's personnel decisions -- such as her January 2010 disciplining and eventual demotion of then-police Chief Anthony Sciarrone -- resulted in costly legal expenses.

The board approved the change 4-0. Trustees Donna O'Malley, John Ponio, Laurie Rabattini and Don Saville voted for it, while Herrmann allies Connie Mascillino and Don Verciglio skipped the meeting.

Last month, Herrmann called the special meeting a political stunt. She argued trustees always have had the power to reverse firings or suspensions but never exercised it.

The amendment has not been the only attempt by the board to strip Herrmann of certain powers.

At Thursday's meeting, a split board voted to strip Herrmann of the ability to retain or fire the police chief. The board also voted to restrict the mayor's ability to seek legal services.

An attorney for the village argued both efforts were illegal. Herrmann criticized the board's actions as efforts by "lame duck" trustees to take away her powers.

Saville, Ponio and Verciglio are not seeking re-election in April. Saville and Ponio have been regular foes of Herrmann and her political allies, and they've been among the trustees who have repeatedly voted to take away her powers.

Saville denied the trustees' continued moves against Herrmann are power grabs.

"It's not about control. It's about the survival of this village," Saville said.