Amrich campaign supporter gets Island Lake commission post
One of Island Lake Mayor Charles Amrich's biggest campaign supporters was appointed to the town's police and fire commission Thursday.
Trustees named Debra Jenkins to fill an upcoming vacancy on the three-member panel with a 4-2 vote. The job comes with a small stipend that Jenkins said she'll donate back to the village.
Jenkins campaigned for Amrich's For the People slate during the 2013 campaign. She and her husband, Greg, contributed nearly $21,000 in money, services and goods to the campaign, more than any other donor, state records show.
After Amrich and his slatemates took office, Debra Jenkins was named treasurer of their campaign committee. She has since stepped down from that post.
Greg Jenkins settled a libel lawsuit he filed against the village last summer for $20,000. His complaint focused on a political website a supporter of former Mayor Debbie Herrmann had created.
Debra Jenkins will replace Laurie Rabattini on the police commission. Rabattini, a former trustee, was appointed to the panel last year.
In an email to Amrich that was shared with the media, Rabattini said she's stepping down effective April 15 because of worsening health problems and "personal decisions."
Police commission members are paid $30 per meeting. The secretary of the commission is paid an additional $30 per meeting.
Jenkins said she will donate her pay to the village's police pension fund, which developed a sizable shortfall over the past few years.
"In my eyes, this is a volunteer position," Jenkins told the Daily Herald. "I really just want to make a difference in my community."
Trustees Thea Morris and Shannon Fox voted against Jenkins' appointment. Before the vote, Fox publicly criticized Jenkins for comments she's made at previous meetings and for some personal issues.
Fox's remarks drew criticism from the audience and the other officials on the dais.
Greg and Debra Jenkins haven't just supported Amrich's campaign, they've also donated generously to the village. They've cut checks to cover police equipment and food for community events, among other purchases.
Other people connected to Amrich's campaign have received village jobs, political posts or have benefited financially since he took office in May 2013.
The For the People campaign manager, Wayne Schnell, was hired as a part-time police officer last summer.
Schnell held that job in town from 2006 to 2010, but he resigned after an internal investigation into his behavior. A follow-up investigation last year cleared Schnell.
Another former Island Lake police officer who campaigned for Amrich, Billy Dickerson, was reinstated last year, too.
Additionally, a Wauconda company called Mike's Towing was named the police department's top choice for tows in May 2013.
Illinois State Board of Elections records show owner Mike Johnson donated $500 to the For the People campaign slate.
Also, attorney David McArdle, who represented Amrich in his fight to stay on the ballot in 2013, was hired as the village's attorney after Amrich took office.
McArdle's firm donated $8,500 worth of legal services to Amrich's campaign, records show.