New Island Lake building inspector quits minutes after being publicly introduced

Island Lake's newly hired building inspector abruptly quit during a contentious village board meeting Thursday night.

Ken Adkins had started the job just this week.

But he resigned Thursday, not long after being introduced to the public by Trustee Chris Carlsen, Village Clerk Georgine Cooper said.

The surprising resignation occurred during a meeting that, according to attendees, also included arguments among officials about a scheduled trustee appointment and other issues.

According to multiple audience members, Adkins criticized the trustees' behavior, insulted them and walked out of the boardroom.

Adkins was hired after trustees fired longtime Building Commissioner Wayne Schnell.

Schnell was a full-time employee, and Adkins was to work part time for a much lower annual salary and without health benefits.

A former part-time Island Lake police officer, Schnell ran Mayor Charles Amrich's campaign in 2013 and was given the full-time building commissioner job in 2015.

Schnell was fired by the village board last month. Trustees accused Schnell of inconsistently enforcing local ordinances and lacking sufficient knowledge for the job.

The board was to consider appointing a new board member to replace Trustee Jennifer Villarreal, who resigned earlier this month.

According to the meeting agenda, former trustees John Burke and Mark Beeson had been nominated for the vacancy.

But instead of naming one of them to the seat and welcoming him to the dais, trustees delayed the issue.

The board now is scheduled to vote on appointing Burke to the board in one month. If necessary, it will vote on appointing Beeson to the slot in two months.

In a Facebook post made earlier in the day but then deleted, Trustee Will Ziegler accused Amrich of attempting to force nominees on the board members instead of letting a committee interview candidates.

"Not this time," Ziegler said. "It will only be his way and no other way."

Amrich couldn't be reached for comment.

Burke and Beeson were sometimes allies, sometimes critics of the mayor during their time together on the board.

Burke, who served on the board for about five years, called the situation "a mess" but said he's still interested in being appointed to the board.

Beeson, who served on the board about six years, said he also remains interested in the post.

"They need someone up there to help guide them," Beeson said of the trustees. "They just need some solid experience up there."

Also on Thursday, the board was scheduled to approve a long-overdue budget for the 2020 fiscal year, which began May 1. But that, too, was delayed.

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