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updated: 2/20/2013 11:37 AM

Anonymous letter about police an issue in Hoffman Estates election

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  • Ray Kincaid, left, and William McLeod, right, are candidates in the 2013 race for Hoffman Estates mayor.

      Ray Kincaid, left, and William McLeod, right, are candidates in the 2013 race for Hoffman Estates mayor.
    Daily Herald file photo

 
 

An anonymous letter caused election season tension when it was read aloud by a trustee at the Hoffman Estates village board meeting Monday night.

Mayoral candidate Ray Kincaid read a letter signed only by "Hoffman Estates Police Officers" that said most of the police officers have not had an evaluation for five years.

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Kincaid said he was "very upset and concerned" when he read the letter, but after meeting with Police Chief Michael Hish the next morning he realized the situation was under control.

"He's making (the evaluations) a priority and he was making that a priority before I read the letter last night," Kincaid said. "I don't want to make it sound like this letter is what made it all happen. This was something that was going to get done with or without that letter."

Prior to meeting with Hish, Kincaid also attended an early morning roll call at the department and asked how many officers had an evaluation in the last three years. He said the majority responded they had not.

"To not do these things timely, it's not good," Kincaid said, adding that he realizes the chief is not solely responsible, and that Hish has a lot of other issues taking up his time. "When it affects the morale and mood of the rank and file, we need to keep that up."

Mayor William McLeod, who is running for fourth term this spring, said reading an anonymous letter aloud in public was "one of the most horrifying spectacles" he's witnessed at a village board meeting in 32 years.

"I was absolutely incredulous," he said, adding that it was a horrible judgment call on Kincaid's part.

McLeod, who said he also received the letter, said he felt it came from one person who "apparently has a grudge" or a grievance. He said if there was a serious problem with evaluations, the police union would have already complained about it.

"I don't put a whole lot of thought into anonymous letters frankly," he said, adding that he regularly receives them. "If you're not going to sign it, then I don't really believe anything you're saying because you should sign the letter."

McLeod said he passed the letter -- which he also called "a slanderous attack" on the police chief -- to village manager Jim Norris, who signs off on employee evaluations.

Norris said he expects the evaluations will be done in the next 10 days. There was a backup, he said, because of the elimination of five supervisory positions in the department due to budget considerations.

Norris added that raises are not tied to evaluations and that officers didn't get a raise this past Jan. 1 because their contract expired and negotiations are ongoing.

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