Grayslake Elementary District 46 will use a private grievance procedure to examine accusations made by two employees against board member Michael Carbone related to an encounter with him during school registration of his child.
At a meeting Wednesday night, five of seven school board members supported using the private process to investigate the signed and notarized internal complaint filed Aug. 8 by administrative assistants Janine Adams and Cheryl Tednes. Carbone and board member Kip Evans wanted the issue settled in public. A formal board vote wasn't required.
In part, the women wrote in the complaint they "felt threatened and worried" by Carbone during the Aug. 7 registration after he didn't indicate a payment on his paperwork and refused to sign a promissory note, as required. Carbone is accused of saying the women were "opening up for a lawsuit" if he didn't receive his daughter's packet.
Carbone, a Republican seeking a Lake County Board seat in the November election, said the complaint was driven by his board foes as "retribution" for calling attention to questionable actions at District 46 that they don't want to become public. He also contends the school board doesn't have a registration policy.
"Folks, we've all been here before," Carbone said, reading from a prepared statement Wednesday. "It's well known some of you don't like to be challenged here. I get it. However, the tactics of intimidation and bullying will not make me go away. I'm still here. I'm still fighting for this district."
As Carbone neared completion of his lengthy statement, he was confronted by board member Keith Surroz.
"Pay your registration fees," Surroz told Carbone. "Just pay your registration fees."
Surroz added he believed Carbone "bullied" the two employees. Surroz briefly departed the board table after directing his comments at Carbone.
District 46's board agenda had set aside time for discussion on the formal internal complaint lodged against Carbone. However, such discussion didn't occur after board President Ray Millington read a statement on his preferred way of handling the matter, which gained support from enough elected officials.
Millington said the uniform grievance procedure will provide an orderly process, giving the board a more full and developed understanding of the facts and positions of those involved in the complaint. He said board attorney Kevin Gordon will investigate in the role of complaint manager.
"Thereafter, the board of education will be able to take any action it determines to be appropriate while at the same time respecting the privacy of those individuals as much as possible," Millington said.
But Evans said he did not want the internal complaint addressed in a private setting.
"I think this is a kangaroo court to begin with, so I'm going to have to say 'no,'" Evans said. "I want this out in the open and let's get to the facts and figures out there."