East Dundee board releases legal documents to defend allowing Andresen to stay as trustee
The East Dundee village board voted unanimously to waive attorney-client privilege on legal opinions some trustees believe support their decision to allow Scott Andresen to remain on the board even though he did not run for reelection in April.
Andresen and Trustee Scott Kunze requested that the opinions become public after recent comments by Village President Jeff Lynam suggested Andresen's seat should be declared vacant. At Monday's special meeting, Kunze said the opinions prove the board is following the advice of Village Attorney Gregory Smith.
Lynam, who said Andresen was "undermining the entire process" and "making a mockery of the board" by not stepping aside, said at last week's board meeting he would consult independent counsel regarding the situation.
"President Lynam has called out the entire board and told us we are breaking the law," Kunze said. "What we have here is a legal opinion that states quite the opposite."
A legal opinion issued by Smith, dated May 13, states that based on Illinois law, "the Village President and Board of Trustees do not have a mandatory duty to declare a vacancy for the unfilled Village Trustee seat, currently held by Trustee Scott Andresen, which no person qualified for in the April of 2021 election."
Only two people ran to fill three open trustee seats in the April election. Lynam's election as president after serving many years as a trustee created an additional opening, which was filled at last week's board meeting when Lynam appointed Richard Treiber and was backed by a unanimous board vote.
A legal opinion dated April 22 noted the difference between Lynam's opening, a trustee seat that became legally vacant when he took the oath of office for president, and Andresen's opening, which merely created the opportunity for the board to declare a vacancy.
Lynam attempted at last week's meeting to appoint Frank Scarpelli to fill Andresen's seat, but the effort failed when no trustee seconded Treiber's motion. Village Administrator Jennifer Johnsen, citing Smith's opinion, said an outgoing trustee could be held over if the other two outgoing trustees didn't want it.
Andresen said he consulted with the two outgoing trustees, the two sitting trustees and the two newly elected trustees before deciding to remain on the board.
Andresen cited his desire for board stability in the wake of the April election as his reason for wanting to stay on as a trustee.