Part-time Island Lake cop replaces ousted chief

Updated 3/19/2010 3:00 PM

After William McCorkle was named Island Lake's police chief Thursday, Mayor Debbie Herrmann told reporters he most recently was a lieutenant with the Great Lakes Naval Station police force.

But McCorkle is no stranger to the local police department - he also served as a part-time Island Lake police officer from 2006 until taking the chief's job.


"The fact that Chief McCorkle was a part-time officer with ILPD was a subject that was covered during his interview with the board," Herrmann said Friday in an e-mail to the Daily Herald. "Quite frankly, his position at (Great Lakes) as a lieutenant trumps his position as a part-time officer."

McCorkle, who replaced ousted interim Chief Anthony Sciarrone, met with the village board Thursday night in a closed-door meeting that preceded his hiring. It was the only opportunity trustees had to interview the candidate, they said.

Herrmann said she received six resumes for the chief's post and interviewed four candidates.

Herrmann is confident McCorkle is the right man for the job, and praised his strong sense of community, experience, training and problem-solving skills.

"These qualities will benefit the ILPD both administratively as well as in the field," Herrmann said in the e-mail.

McCorkle, 42, of Wauconda, started his new job Friday. His salary will be $85,738, the same figure Sciarrone earned as the town's top cop.

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McCorkle was hired as a part-time Island Lake police officer in August 2006, village records show. He worked his way up at Great Lakes from a patrol officer to lieutenant during nine years there, he said Friday.

McCorkle started his law-enforcement career as an officer for the Waukegan Port District, he said. He also worked as a part-time police officer in Holiday Hills.

He said he approached Herrmann about taking over the Island Lake department. Now that he has the job, he knows he has to deal with the controversy that's surrounded the department in recent weeks because of the mayor's efforts to unseat Sciarrone and other factors.

"It's going to have its challenges," McCorkle said.

His promotion followed a board vote to demote Sciarrone to sergeant, the rank he held before being named interim chief in 2008. Herrmann had placed Sciarrone on paid administrative leave in February and launched an investigation by the village's law firm into his job performance.


In a statement she read during the board meeting, Herrmann said Sciarrone was a poor administrator, failed to implement a career development program for officers, failed to control his temper when dealing with subordinates and failed to properly supervise employees. She cited other reasons for the demotion.

Sciarrone, who has spent more than 20 years with the department, did not attend the session. He could not be reached for comment.

Sciarrone wasn't subjected to annual performance reviews during his two years as chief, village officials have said.

Sciarrone must be given his prior rank and has the right to a hearing before the police board, village attorney Donald Anderson said at a board meeting last month.

Herrmann said she hopes the personnel changes end the controversy about her earlier decision to place Sciarrone on leave.

"It was a long time coming," Herrmann said.

The mayor and three trustees - Connie Mascillino, Don Verciglio and Donna O'Malley - voted to remove Sciarrone as chief. Two trustees - Laurie Rabattini and Don Saville - opposed the move.

Trustee John Ponio stormed out of village hall before the vote. On Friday, he said he left because he felt Sciarrone was "railroaded" by the mayor and her three allies on the board.

"I gave my vote by leaving," he said. "My vote wouldn't have mattered anyway."

When asked about the decision by a resident late Thursday, Mascillino said the vote wasn't an easy one.

"I did not make this decision lightly," she said. "It was a very difficult decision."

A second closed-door meeting followed Sciarrone's ouster. When it came time to vote on McCorkle's promotion in open session, Saville had left village hall, too.

All four remaining trustees approved the hiring, while the mayor did not vote.

Rabattini said she voted to name McCorkle chief, even though she opposed Sciarrone's demotion, because the village needs to move on.

"Any stalling in replacing this position would (not) be productive for the village," she said.

Rabattini didn't have an issue with McCorkle jumping from part-time officer to chief within the same department.

"It's not like he's just a part-time officer," she said, citing his former full-time post at Great Lakes.