Island Lake trustee censured for 'childish' behavior during parade
Island Lake Trustee Sandy Doehler has been censured by the village board for her behavior during the village's Independence Day parade.
The public reprimand was approved Thursday by a 4-3 vote. Trustees were evenly split on the issue, so Mayor Charles Amrich broke the tie in favor of censuring Doehler.
The censure carries no long-term punishments.
According to the censure resolution, Doehler made "offensive gestures and insulting comments to village employees and a fellow trustee" who were participating in the parade. Doehler was a parade spectator, the censure states.
Doehler's actions, according to the resolution, violated the village's anti-harassment policy.
The allegation was publicly levied by a resident at the July 12 board meeting, village documents indicate. Trustee Jennifer Villareal subsequently brought up the dispute at multiple board meetings and asked Doehler to apologize.
Doehler refused, prompting Villareal to push for the censure.
"Trustee Doehler's conduct was witnessed by numerous people," Villareal said in an email to the Daily Herald. "Her lack of remorse and inability to accept responsibility is disheartening."
Villareal was in the parade and said she heard Doehler's comments. She did not see the gesture but said other people subsequently reported it to her.
In a letter she wrote to Amrich and shared with the Daily Herald, Doehler called the allegations "absurd."
Doehler said she wasn't representing the village during the parade and was watching it from her driveway. Additionally, Doehler said she has the constitutionally protected right to "express my displeasure" with elected officials.
Doehler asked the mayor to instruct Villareal to halt her efforts to "malign" her during board meetings.
"I consider Trustee Villareal's continued discussions of this issue in the boardroom to be harassment, and I will seek private legal counsel if this witch hunt continues," Doehler wrote.
But Amrich took Villareal's side in the dispute. He called Doehler's behavior during the parade "childish" and "unbecoming."
"Trustees should put themselves above stuff like that," he said.
Amrich, Villareal and trustees Harold England and Chuck Cermak voted for the censure. Doehler and trustees Mark Beeson and John Burke opposed the measure.
The censure includes an apology from Amrich and the board "to anyone affected by Trustee Doehler's conduct." It also requests Doehler issue a formal, written apology within three days.
This isn't the first time Island Lake trustees have censured one of their peers.
In 2013, then Trustee Shannon Fox was censured for criticizing a local business owner in an email to Lake County and municipal officials.