Lake County sheriff calls union's 'no confidence' vote unfair
A major union at the Lake County sheriff's office announced Tuesday that its members took a vote of no confidence against Sheriff Mark Curran.
However, Curran said less than half the rank and file in the Illinois Council of Police in Lake County took part in the vote, while other union employees said the vote was not done fairly.
"I'm disappointed in our union leadership and how they represented us," sheriff's Det. Eric Carstensen said. "The process by which this vote was handled wasn't fair, one way or the other."
Curran, 55, a Republican from Libertyville, is seeking his fourth term as sheriff in the Nov. 6 election. He's facing Democrat John Idleburg, 62, of Zion Township, a retired special agent with the U.S. Treasury.
About 160 detectives, patrolmen and telecommunicators belong to the Illinois Council of Police, Curran said. It is one of eight unions representing approximately 550 sheriff's office employees.
Of the 160 votes possible, Curran said 50 votes were against him, 25 were in favor of him, and 85 ballots were unaccounted for.
"85 people either didn't fill out or didn't have a ballot sent to them," Curran said.
Illinois Council of Police Union President Norm Frese said the Lake County sheriff union reps reached out for assistance with the vote. The union's role was to tally the votes that were taken, and send a letter regarding the results, he said.
In an email to Lake County Board members Tuesday, the union wrote that "a majority of members who voted" resulted in a vote of no confidence. The email also requests Curran's resignation, claiming morale has deteriorated under his leadership and members are continuously met with resistance when working with him.
"We stand by the letter," Frese said. "There's a problem out there (in Lake County)."
Curran said the union stewards who pushed for the vote are longtime employees who have been resistant to changes he's implemented.
"Here you have a small group of selfish, slothful union members that would discredit the reputation of our office, which is clearly on the rise, all in the hope the future would help them avoid accountability for their actions," he said.
Idleburg emailed a statement Tuesday saying the vote shows Curran is "unfit" to lead the agency.
"If the men and women in blue do not trust Sheriff Mark Curran, why should the voters of Lake County?" he wrote.