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updated: 1/18/2012 10:40 AM

Bartlett's mayor faces critics during village board meeting

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Bartlett acting village president Michael Airdo was put on the spot at Tuesday's village board meeting after some angry residents brought up an article recently published in a local newspaper that stated he "verbally abused" Bartlett police officers last January.

The article, printed in the Bartlett Examiner, stated that police records showed the incident occurred shortly after midnight on Jan. 30, 2011, after a Bartlett police officer stopped a car for improper lane usage at Railroad and Western avenues.

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The driver, who Airdo called a "good friend" Tuesday, was given a field sobriety test, according to the article. During the test, the article states, the driver told the officer a village official would be on his way and would "clear this up."

The article states that police reports show the village official the driver was referring to was then-Trustee Airdo, who had a "strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his breath" and was accompanied by his father.

According to the article, after Airdo and his father arrived on the scene they "shouted" profanities at the original officer and a second officer who responded.

Bartlett resident Mary Higgins talked to the board about decorum and character.

"Tonight I'm asking for your resignation and it's based on moral and ethical grounds," she said to Airdo. "Thanks to you this board has no credibility. (Trustee) T.L. (Arends) is our only one bright spot. The rest of you are lame ducks with expirations on your heads."

Three other residents also suggested Airdo step down.

"Who talks to the police like that? Is their job not hard enough without you?" Higgins said, speaking directly to Airdo.

In between listening to residents' comments, Airdo noted that he still had not read the article.

"I don't read the Examiner. I don't have any interest in reading that publication. I will tell you that nobody from the Examiner called me to hear my side of the story," he said.

Airdo admitted during and after the meeting that he was sorry about the incident, although he didn't go into details of what happened.

"I regret it. It was out of character," he said. "I should never had done what I did. And the very next day I apologized to the officers involved and they accepted my apology."

Bartlett chief of police Kent Williams said as police officers, they "deal with people at their worst for a living."

"We hear about things that people wish that they could take back the next day," he said. "And we have people on a daily basis come into our lobby and apologize to our staff and on a daily basis; we accept those apologies."

Airdo said he was open to having further conversations on the incident after the meeting.

"Anybody who wants to talk to me about that issue I'm happy to talk with them," he said. "I appreciate your comments, and I appreciate your concerns. The reality was I made a mistake. I was emotional, it was a good friend. I should have never had done it."

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