Island Lake mayor won't explain suspension

When Island Lake village board members scheduled a special meeting for Thursday night, they hoped to ask Mayor Debbie Herrmann why she suspended acting police Chief Anthony Sciarrone.

There was just one flaw in the plan: Herrmann didn't show.

"I am not attending the meeting because at this time there is nothing to discuss," Herrmann told the Daily Herald in an e-mail a few hours before the gathering. "As I have stated, this matter is under investigation and I will not be talking to anyone about the details until that investigation is complete."

Herrmann's absence didn't deter the trustees, who attended the meeting and then went into a closed-door session that lasted two hours. It also didn't keep away about 25 local residents, many of whom were upset about Herrmann's recently announced decision to place Sciarrone on paid administrative leave.

"It appears that Mayor Herrmann's actions took away the checks and balances that the board provides," resident Shannon Fox said.

Sciarrone is the second police officer Herrmann has suspended in recent months. Last month she announced that part-time officer Fred Manetti also was placed on leave.

Manetti attended Thursday's meeting and spoke to the board out of the public view. He left without commenting about the conversation.

Herrmann hasn't explained why she suspended Manetti, either. Both decisions surprised board members and the public.

"It appears there is a major fight going on between the police department, the mayor and the board," resident Joe Ptak said. "And I don't like it one bit."

Thea Morris was among the residents who spoke out against Herrmann's absence Thursday night.

"It's just pathetic to see the lack of caring that she has for us and the community as a whole," Morris said.

The board reconvened the meeting in open session about 10:20 p.m. and then quickly ended the session. Afterward, Trustee Don Saville said the panel accomplished nothing with the discussion.

"I know as much now as I did (before)," Saville said. "We all have the same concerns."

Trustee Connie Mascillino said she wasn't satisfied, either. However, she said it was a productive conversation.