Rabattini says Island Lake voters will "feel betrayed" by compromise
The Island Lake village board could settle Mayor Debbie Herrmann's controversial lawsuit against two trustees Thursday.
However, while acknowledging she's glad the fight is over, a trustee at the heart of the controversy isn't happy with most of the terms.
"It's disappointing," Trustee Laurie Rabattini said. "I feel betrayed, and the voters feel betrayed."
The agenda for the meeting includes 11 actions that, if approved, will settle the lawsuit Herrmann filed in March. The items are scheduled to be considered in one vote.
If approved, many of the measures will undo various efforts to reduce the mayor's powers earlier this year. Others address issues related to the power struggle.
The steps being considered include:
•Repeals of motions and ordinance amendments that sought to dismiss the legal firm representing the village -- Ancel, Glink, Diamond, Bush, DiCianni and Krafthefer.
•The payment of previously disputed bills from Ancel Glink totaling nearly $217,361.
•Consenting to the mayor's proposed reappointment of Ancel Glink as the village attorney.
•Hiring a second law firm -- Zukowski, Rogers, Flood and McArdle -- to serve as the board's counsel on an as-needed basis. Attorney David McArdle was hired by the board in March during the dispute with the mayor, and his representation has been at the heart of the conflict.
•Paying bills totaling nearly $59,211 from McArdle's firm.
•Repealing disputed ordinance amendments that would have reduced the mayor's executive powers.
Filed in March, Herrmann's lawsuit initially targeted Rabattini and trustees Donna O'Malley, Don Saville and John Ponio. Saville and Ponio left the board in May and were dropped from the lawsuit last month.
Herrmann sued the foursome -- representing a majority on the board -- after they began adopting ordinances and policies that eroded her executive powers, particularly her ability to hire or fire the town's attorney and various employees.
The proposed settlement agreement was reached during a closed-door meeting last month between Herrmann and most of the board. Rabattini and O'Malley weren't present.
Herrmann said she has not spoken with Rabattini or O'Malley about the proposal. Most of the measures were discussed at an earlier mediation session they did attend, Herrmann said.
"How they choose to vote is up to them," she said.
Trustee Thea Morris, who joined the board in May, said officials worked to find middle ground in the dispute.
"It's definitely not a one-sided agreement," Morris said. "No one is getting everything they want."
Rabattini disagreed, saying she didn't feel Herrmann compromised "at all."
Addressing the specific terms of the proposal, Rabattini said she would vote against using McArdle's legal services if Ancel Glink is retained. Island Lake only needs one lawyer, she said.
"Our intent was to get rid of Ancel Glink," Rabattini said. "It was never our intent to have two attorneys long term."
Although not happy with the result, Rabattini said she's happy the fight is over.
"It's been a long distraction," she said.
O'Malley did not respond to interview requests.