Island Lake expected to hire less costly building inspector

  • Island Lake officials are set to hire a part-time building inspector. The village board fired the town's full-time building commissioner last month.

      Island Lake officials are set to hire a part-time building inspector. The village board fired the town's full-time building commissioner last month. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer, 2011

  • Wayne Schnell, former Island Lake building commissioner

      Wayne Schnell, former Island Lake building commissioner Russell Lissau | Staff Photographer, 2016

  • Charles Amrich, Island Lake mayor

    Charles Amrich, Island Lake mayor

 
 
Updated 6/14/2019 3:46 PM

Weeks after firing the town's building commissioner and jettisoning his $73,440-a-year salary, Island Lake officials have found a less costly replacement.

The village board on Thursday identified Ken Adkins as its candidate for building inspector, and it voted to delegate hiring Adkins to the village's finance committee.

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A background check is pending. Detailed information about Adkins' credentials wasn't immediately available, although Trustee Harold England said Adkins has worked in construction.

If hired, Adkins will replace Wayne Schnell as the employee who enforces Island Lake's building codes.

The job will be part-time and come with a pay rate that won't exceed $27 per hour, officials said. Village Treasurer Ed McGinty estimated that will come to about $25,272 annually, a significant drop from Schnell's pay.

The inspector won't receive health benefits, either, which eases the village's financial burden even more. That matters in Island Lake, where a projected $2 million revenue shortfall prompted spending cuts during the last fiscal year.

"We're talking about a huge savings," England said. "That's going to help a lot."

Schnell, a longtime political ally of Mayor Charles Amrich, was fired as the town's full-time building commissioner last month.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Trustees accused Schnell of inconsistently enforcing local ordinances and lacking sufficient knowledge for the job.

Schnell started working in Island Lake as a part-time police officer in 2006 after a long career as a Chicago cop. He resigned from the Island Lake department in 2010 after a departmental investigation into his behavior.

In early 2013, Schnell managed Amrich's mayoral campaign as well as the campaigns of three trustee candidates allied with Amrich. All won.

In June 2013, Schnell was rehired as a part-time police officer and was assigned as the village code enforcement officer.

In February 2015, the village board awarded Schnell a full-time job as the town's building commissioner. Schnell's salary was bumped to $60,000 a year to start, plus employment benefits.

Schnell's firing was among several significant personnel changes or attempted changes in Island Lake in recent months.

In October, after an internal investigation, trustees fired the town's police chief, Anthony Sciarrone. In January, new Chief Dan Palmer fired Sgt. Bill Dickerson.

Like Schnell, both Sciarrone and Dickerson had political ties to Amrich.

Last month, trustees met behind closed doors to discuss firing the village's lawyer, David McArdle -- another Amrich appointee. But they were told only the mayor has the legal authority to dump an attorney.

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