Huntley Unit District 158 school board President Michael Skala, who was elected to the McHenry County Board last week, has decided not to hold the two offices simultaneously so he could see through a long-standing lawsuit about building construction.
However, the school board still could decide to appoint him in some kind of consulting or advising role, Skala said.
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Skala said he initially planned not to step down from his school board post until February, when he hoped the last of a series of lawsuits against building contractors for work done for the school district in the mid-2000s would finally come to an end.
"Over a year ago, the board appointed myself as liaison to try to deal with this. I'm the one who's been going through all the arbitration sessions, the settlement agreement sessions, all that stuff," he said.
Skala said he changed his mind after asking for clarification on the matter from the Illinois Attorney General's office, which sent him copies of documents about a similar case in 2006.
"The paper stated was that once you are elected to the next office, you would automatically lose the (old) seat as soon as you were sworn in," he said. "After reading that, it's pretty clear it's not compatible offices. I definitely don't agree with that, but it is what it is."
Last week, 90 percent of McHenry County residents who voted in a referendum said elected officials shouldn't be allowed to hold two or more offices at the same time. "I voted 'no' also," Skala said. "I don't think that people should hold two elected offices. I believe the intention of that is to get rid of the abuse of people getting two pensions, and two state salaries," he said. School board positions are unpaid.
Skala said he will resign from his school board post before the new county board is sworn in Dec. 3. The school board likely will meet next week to ratify a tentative agreement reached Tuesday night with the Huntley Education Association, Skala said. "I need to talk to board about (an advising role). If board the board is not comfortable with that, that's fine."