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posted: 11/3/2011 5:30 AM

Grayslake D46 board member censured over $5 gift certificates

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  • Susan Facklam

      Susan Facklam

 
 

Grayslake Elementary District 46 board members Wednesday issued a formal, public disapproval of a colleague who Lake County prosecutors said broke state election law when registering people to vote before the April election.

Susan Facklam was censured for handing out $5 restaurant gift certificates to at least two voters while acting as a volunteer deputy voter registrar in Lake County. The censure was District 46's second of an elected official since March, when Michael Carbone was publicly scolded for inappropriately seeking personnel information.

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On Friday, Lake County Chief Deputy State's Attorney Daniel Jasica confirmed to the Daily Herald he wrote a letter to Facklam in August with his finding that concluded she committed a felony violation of Illinois election code by handing out the gift certificates.

Jasica said "prosecutorial discretion" and lack of a "broader pattern of illegal payments" combined in the decision to not pursue a criminal case against Facklam, a District 46 board member since 2003. His finding capped a probe that began in April.

Facklam retained her District 46 board post in the hotly contested April election, with newcomers Kip Evans and Shannon Smigielski winning the other two seats. Former board President Mary Garcia and Marchell Norris fell short.

At Wednesday night's meeting, District 46 board members voted 3-0 in favor of censuring Facklam for inappropriate actions. Facklam violated the Illinois Association of School Boards' code of conduct because of the Lake County state's attorney's office finding, according to a District 46 resolution.

"Board member Facklam's conduct as described ... constitutes the appearance of impropriety and compromises the credibility and integrity of the board of education and is therefore wholly improper and unworthy of a member of a board education of ... District 46," the censure resolution states in part.

District 46 board President Ray Millington and members Karen Weinert and Keith Surroz voted in favor of the censure. Shannon Smiglieski abstained, Kip Evans was absent, Carbone refused to vote by temporarily leaving the board table, and Facklam was prohibited from participating.

Smigielski called on Facklam to resign and criticized her for not informing board members about the finding she broke state law before the Daily Herald reported on it last weekend. Facklam didn't respond.

"I have asked her and I told her that I know exactly what went on," Smigielski said, referring to Facklam. "And her words to me were 'prove it.' Well, it's been proven, and now I'm saying step down. It's time to resign so this board can move on and heal."

Round Lake attorney Gerald Dietz pursued the election code accusations against Facklam on behalf of Lake County tea party founder Linwood "Lennie" Jarratt of Round Lake Beach. He provided prosecutors with an email from Facklam to Garcia stating: "Don't let them turn us in; gifts to register to vote is probably illegal!"

Dietz said an open-records request in March was used to obtain emails from Garcia's account at Northbrook/Glenview Elementary District 30, where she's a teacher.

Lake County Clerk Willard Helander said Facklam resigned as a deputy voter registrar in August. She also said she read the emails between Facklam and Garcia.

"I do feel that it was a serious incident," Helander said.

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