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updated: 4/13/2011 5:06 PM

Island Lake board still battling mayor

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  • Island Lake Mayor Debbie Herrmann, shown here taking the oath of office in 2009, continues to face an assault on her powers by trustees who oppose her.

      Island Lake Mayor Debbie Herrmann, shown here taking the oath of office in 2009, continues to face an assault on her powers by trustees who oppose her.
    Daily Herald File Photo by GILBERT R. BOUCHER II/g

 
 

Stymied three weeks ago because of some procedural confusion, the Island Lake village board Thursday night will continue its efforts to sap Mayor Debbie Herrmann's executive powers.

The board -- or at least the four members who have aligned against Herrmann -- have loaded Thursday night's meeting agenda with motions aimed at overriding recent mayoral vetoes and motions that would override vetoes expected to be filed earlier in the evening.

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If the overrides succeed, they will eliminate Herrmann's ability to unilaterally suspend or fire village employees, undo her attempt to stop the board majority from hiring its own attorney and significantly trim the ordinance that defines the mayor's administrative duties, among other changes.

By state law, four votes are needed from a six-member village board to override a mayoral veto.

Legal bills, Herrmann's 2010 demotion of a former police chief and the eventual promotion of current Chief William McCorkle have been at the heart of the dispute between the board majority and the mayor.

Some of these overrides had been scheduled for votes at the board's March 24 meeting. The decisions were postponed, however, because officials disagreed about whether votes cast that night would withstand legal scrutiny.

The March 24 gathering actually was a committee meeting at which no final votes legally could be taken. The board schedules one committee meeting and one voting meeting each month.

Trustees Laurie Rabattini, John Ponio, Don Saville and Donna O'Malley have teamed up against the mayor in recent months.

In response, Herrmann sued the foursome last month in Lake County circuit court, seeking to stop their efforts to change some of the village's rules and ordinances.

Trustees Don Verciglio and Connie Mascillino have sided with the mayor in the fight.

More than 20 veto-related motions are on the agenda.

When asked via e-mail about the proposed overrides, O'Malley said she believes they will withstand legal challenges.

Saville insisted the trustees haven't taken away any of the mayor's state-mandated powers. Rather, they're trying to bring the board into some of the decisions she makes, he said.

"Seven thought patterns are better than one," Saville said.

Herrmann said she was disillusioned, disappointed and bewildered by the trustees' actions. She was particularly confused by proposed overrides of eight vetoes that haven't been submitted yet.

Override votes must wait until the meeting after a veto is tendered, Herrmann said.

"It's really too bad that this is the way trustees ... choose to spend their time and energy," Herrmann said. "I honestly don't understand it."

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. at village hall, 3720 Greenleaf Ave.

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