Rolling Meadows alderman censured, internal probe set to wrap up

An internal city investigation into an alleged "profanity-laced verbal assault" that led Rolling Meadows City Council members to censure Alderman Joe Gallo is due to wrap up this week, officials said Tuesday.

Gallo, the first-term Ward 4 alderman and one of four mayoral candidates in the upcoming election, is the subject of City Manager Barry Krumstok's review of an incident that took place following a council meeting Feb. 12.

Gallo directed hostile words on a fellow alderman, said Alderman Mike Cannon, who sponsored the censure resolution that passed 5-1 last week. Gallo was the lone "no" vote, and Alderman Nick Budmats was absent.

Gallo didn't comment during last week's meeting, but said Tuesday the resolution is "a detraction and distraction from the real issues."

The person believed to be the target of Gallo's words is Ward 3 Alderman Laura Majikes, who said she would talk more openly about what happened after Krumstok completes his review.

Majikes said Tuesday Krumstok is awaiting a final interview with a witness. The internal probe should be finished before the April 2 election, she said.

There actually are two incidents being investigated - one before the council entered closed session, and one after - Majikes said. Both took place in the council's executive session meeting room, and there were "numerous witnesses," she added.

Gallo, however, said the altercation took place in the hallway between council chambers and the private conference room.

Aldermen went into closed session during a contentious meeting Feb. 12, when Gallo was criticized by fellow council members for filing paperwork for a grant without their approval. Aldermen voted 5-2 that night to formally advise the Itasca-based National Safety Council that the city didn't authorize the grant application, effectively withdrawing it.

Gallo said after the public portion of the meeting adjourned, Majikes wanted to continue talking to him about the grant controversy, but he declined.

"When the (agenda) item closed, this conversation closed," he said he told her.

When she continued, Gallo admits he used profanity.

Cannon said he proposed the censure to maintain some level of integrity and decorum for the council. He denied that it was politically motivated. Cannon is unopposed in his re-election bid in Ward 1.

"It has nothing to do with politics. This is personal conduct that should not be tolerated by anybody," Cannon said. "A person in the private sector would have been immediately suspended or more likely fired for actions like this."

Cannon criticized Mayor Len Prejna for not bringing the censure resolution forward, but the mayor said he was advised by the city attorney and staff to let the internal investigation take place before making any comments about the matter.

"Yes I did witness it, and actions were taken and a procedure was started the next day," Prejna said.

Gallo and Prejna are joined by Ward 6 Alderman John D'Astice and Planning and Zoning Committee Vice Chair Dave Whitney on the ballot for mayor.

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