Amrich wants to dump law firm, police chief in Island Lake
Replacing Island Lake's law firm and police chief are high on mayor-elect Charles Amrich's to-do list.
So is increasing communication avenues between village hall and the community, Amrich told the Daily Herald a day after his landslide win over incumbent Mayor Debbie Herrmann.
But getting rid of the attorneys from Ancel Glink -- who Amrich and his allies have blamed for the town's high legal bills -- is the number-one priority, he said.
"That's the taxpayer's money," Amrich said. "We have to be frugal with it."
Amrich, Island Lake's mayor from 1985 to 2005, won his old job with nearly 79 percent of the vote, unofficial results showed. Every member of his slate -- three trustee candidates and a clerk candidate -- won, too.
Reducing the legal bills, which have totaled hundreds of thousands of dollars in recent years, was a big part of their campaign platform.
Ancel Glink has represented the village since 2005.
"Ancel Glink congratulates the newly-elected officials on their hard fought battle and hopes peace will prevail in Island Lake in the future," attorney Julie Tappendorf said.
The candidates also were critical of Police Chief William McCorkle's performance since he was appointed to the job by Herrmann and the board in March 2010.
Amrich said he wants a chief who spends time in the community and not behind a desk in the police station. When asked if McCorkle's days are numbered, Amrich replied: "I think that's safe to assume."
Lawyers and police chiefs serve at the pleasure of the mayor in Island Lake. Although the village board votes on a hiring, trustees can't act without a recommendation from the mayor.
McCorkle acknowledged Amrich is entitled to replace him.
"I wish him luck," McCorkle said.
Amrich and the other victors in Tuesday's election likely will take office in early May. Trustee candidates Mark Beeson, Keith Johns and Tony Sciarrone won, as did Clerk-elect Teresa Ponio.
All ran with Amrich as the For the People slate.
During the campaign, the candidates regularly talked about the need for more government transparency and better communication with residents.
Amrich wants to restore a second public comment section at meetings and has talked about taking other steps to build a rapport with the community.
"We're here for you, representing you," Amrich said. "And we care about your concerns."
Beeson, a first-time candidate, echoed Amrich's wishes when it came to open government. Videotaping meetings for Internet broadcast, re-establishing the second comment section and encouraging officials to answer people's questions at board meetings are chief among his solutions.
"I think it will help to heal the village," Beeson said, referring to the political divide that led to a particularly ugly campaign.
Beeson seconded Amrich's desire to replace McCorkle and the lawyers from Ancel Glink.
Firing Ancel Glink is "definitely a good start" for the new administration, Beeson said.