Documents: Lake Zurich village board candidate was fired from police department job

Lake Zurich village board candidate Michael Paulus was investigated and ultimately fired from his communications job at the village's police department last year for violating protocol by signing off on reports he had not verified, according to a police memo obtained by the Daily Herald through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Paulus acknowledged he was fired but said the police account was one-sided and inaccurate, though he did not give specifics, and that the village releasing the report to the Daily Herald was a smear tactic. Paulus is one of six candidates for three seats on the village board.

"This is a clear and blatant attack on my character," Paulus said.

In his role as police communications supervisor, Paulus, who had worked for the department for 18 years, was responsible each month for verifying data in the confidential information system called Law Enforcement Agencies Data System, or LEADS. On Feb. 1, 2018, Paulus' supervisors, including Police Chief Steven D. Husak, Deputy Chief David K. Anderson and Deputy Chief Robert Johnson, noted three discrepancies in the January 2018 report and launched an investigation into whether Paulus had properly verified the information, according to the heavily redacted memo obtained by the Daily Herald.

After a brief investigation the three men determined Paulus had not properly verified the information in that month's report before he signed off on it, according to the memo.

On Feb. 2, 2018, Husak, Anderson, Johnson and Human Resource Director Doug Gibson called a meeting with Paulus, according to the memo, which was written by Anderson and dated Feb. 2.

Johnson showed Paulus the LEADS verification form for January 2018, directed Paulus' attention to the three entries that had been investigated and asked whether Paulus had contacted the people necessary to verify the information, according to the memo. Paulus replied that he had not contacted those people. Johnson asked why and Paulus said it was because he didn't receive the LEADS packet until Jan. 24 or 25 and the work needed to be completed by Jan. 31, according to the memo.

In the memo, Anderson reported Paulus said he validated all the entries without verifying them by the Jan. 31 deadline but he intended to go back and properly verify all of the entries on Feb. 1. When he looked for the documents on Feb. 1 and saw they were missing he knew "something was up," he is quoted as saying in the memo. Husak told Paulus he was being placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

Reached by email last week, Anderson said Paulus was fired on Feb. 5, 2018.

When asked if being fired would affect his ability to work with the police department if he was elected trustee, Paulus said Saturday that he has a great relationship with the police department.

"I have no ax to grind with anyone at the village," Paulus said.

In the Freedom of Information Act request, the Daily Herald sought any documentation of complaints made about Paulus or records relating to his termination from the village of Lake Zurich. Kyle Kordell, assistant to the village manager, provided the memo and said documents contained within Paulus's personnel file are prohibited from disclosure pursuant to the Personnel Records Review Act.

"The village takes seriously the privacy of all of its personnel and must balance that against the laws concerning the freedom of information for the public," Kordell said.

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