Will politically connected cop get new job in Island Lake?
A politically connected, part-time Island Lake police officer is being considered for a full-time village job with a $60,000-a-year salary, officials confirmed Wednesday.
Wayne Schnell, who was hired as the village's code-enforcement officer in June 2013 and has been working as the town's building commissioner since January, could fill a new position that merges both jobs.
Trustees haven't publicly identified any other candidates.
Schnell, 63, of unincorporated McHenry County, ran Mayor Charles Amrich's successful election campaign in spring 2013. Trustees Mark Beeson, Keith Johns and Tony Sciarrone were part of Amrich's slate and benefited from Schnell's campaign work, too.
When asked about the possible job change, Schnell said he's been asked to handle the building department and code enforcement "until an official decision is made."
"I will continue to do my best to serve the residents of Island Lake," he said.
Amrich couldn't be reached for comment Wednesday.
The village board will consider appointing someone to the post during Thursday night's meeting. The agenda for the session doesn't identify a candidate.
Beeson said he hopes Amrich nominates Schnell for the post. Since Schnell started covering both jobs this year, sales of vehicle and boat stickers have increased and resident complaints about outdoor trash and other issues have been promptly resolved, Beeson said.
"He (has) made a significant improvement," Beeson said.
Schnell first served as a part-time police officer in Island Lake from 2006 to 2010.
He resigned after an internal investigation into his behavior, documents indicate. He was cleared by a follow-up investigation in 2013.
When asked if he was concerned about the possible appearance of political cronyism, Beeson said, "I don't care."
"I'm past that," Beeson added. "I'm beyond the appearance of politics."
Beeson said he believes Schnell was wrongfully terminated in 2010. When Schnell worked on the 2013 campaign, no one promised he'd get his job back, Beeson said.
Schnell is qualified for the new post and has undergone training for it, Beeson said.
"He has worked extra diligently to straighten out the building department," Beeson said.
Additionally, combining the two jobs will save the village thousands of dollars annually, Beeson said.
Frank DeSort was the village's last building inspector. He retired in December.
Amrich unilaterally gave Schnell the job on an interim basis, Beeson said.
Johns and fellow trustee Thea Morris were named to a committee that was supposed to oversee the hiring process for the post. About 25 people applied for the job late last year, Morris said, but the group never met with candidates.
"As far as I'm aware, no interviews have been conducted," Morris said.
Morris said she expects Amrich will nominate Schnell for the job.
"I'm very frustrated by the amount of time and energy that I personally have spent reviewing candidates and making recommendations for interviews, when it appears it is all for naught," she said.
Johns couldn't be reached for comment.
The board meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at village hall, 3720 Greenleaf Ave.