With a hotly contested election just months away, the fractured Carol Stream Public Library board censured one of its members Wednesday -- perhaps because of statements he made in a Daily Herald article.
In the Jan. 9 article, Trustee Jim Bailey called former library employee Elaine Wierdak -- the longtime girlfriend of Trustee Dominick Jeffrey -- "a patsy" who wasn't "smart enough" to have filed objections to the candidate nominating petitions of Bailey and four other candidates on the Support the Library slate.
Bailey said the objections were really the doing of board President Mike Wade, who Bailey accused of "trying to engineer the board."
The objections were denied last week by the Carol Stream Municipal Electoral Board, allowing all five candidates to remain on the April ballot.
On Wednesday, Wade said Bailey wasn't upholding the library's bylaws, which contain an ethics statement calling on trustees to treat people with respect.
"Calling patrons patsies is not respectful," said Wade, who also said he didn't know Wierdak was going to challenge the candidate petitions in advance of the Jan. 7 hearing.
Wierdak sued the library for wrongful termination after her firing in April 2009 and received $39,000 in an October 2010 settlement.
Bailey said the discussion of his statements in the article was an infringement on his First Amendment rights and had "no bearing on the business of this board."
"I don't give a hoot about what you think I said outside this room," Bailey told Wade.
The censure resolution approved on a 5-2 vote of the board calls on Bailey to "cease and desist" from "improper and abusive actions" at recent board meetings, including making untruthful statements, threatening the board president, using profanity, and interrupting board members.
The resolution originally was proposed at a Sept. 19 library board meeting in response to statements Bailey made at an Aug. 15 meeting.
Trustee Jerry Clark said Bailey used an expletive toward him, and Trustee David DeRango said Bailey made an accusation that DeRango tried to punch him in the face.
But board members agreed in October to table the resolution indefinitely in hopes of "moving forward," Wade said at the time.
The resolution doesn't contain any language about the Daily Herald article -- which drew the ire of Trustee Mary Hudspeath, a Bailey ally on the board.
"This censure has nothing to do with anything other than you did not like what he said in the paper," Hudspeath said.
"This entire conversation would never have taken place (otherwise). That newspaper article did trigger this. It has nothing to do with Jim in this board room."
Trustee Susan Galle said the resolution was the cumulative result of Bailey's actions.
"I'm tired of the occurrences of this," Galle said.
Bailey said there was no basis for censure since there's no provision for it in the library's bylaws.
Twice during the meeting, he extended his arm toward Wade.
"Shall I extend my arm to be slapped, and you be the slapper?" he said.
Bailey is running against Jeffrey's son, Joshua, for a two-year term on the library board.
Wade, Clark and Galle are seeking four-year terms. A total of 10 candidates are in the race.