East Dundee village president spars with trustee over administrator's firing, future of seat
There was no resolution to two contentious issues facing East Dundee -- the firing of Village Administrator Jennifer Johnsen and the question over Scott Andresen's trustee seat -- but there was plenty of debate about both at Monday's special board meeting.
Village President Jeff Lynam had planned to publicly detail the reasons for firing Johnsen last week after she acknowledged in an email to staff that she was in a relationship with Assistant Administrator Brad Mitchell. Andresen, however, called for the discussion to be held privately in executive session, and the majority of the trustees voted in favor.
"These good people came here to find out what I had to say," Lynam said. "I made the decision to release our village administrator. And by ordinance, by law, I have to provide the criteria that I used to make that decision. Now your board members are taking that away from you, so give them a call."
"There's a way to do it while still honoring your obligations without absolutely laying somebody on the altar for no other reason than vindictiveness," Andresen said.
Lynam also unsuccessfully tried one last time on Monday to appoint Frank Scarpelli to the seat held by Andresen, who didn't run for reelection in April. Lynam then tried appointing Jim Carlini but failed when no trustee made a motion.
A legal opinion by Village Attorney Greg Smith stated that because only two people ran for three open trustee seats and two outgoing trustees said they no longer wanted to be on the board, Andresen has a right to remain.
"This was just another end run by the board trying to dig a hole under me," Lynam said after Monday's meeting.
Public comments were heated. Planning and Zoning Commission member Sue Holliman even said Lynam should resign over his handling of Johnsen's firing.
Resident Lucy DeLap defended Andresen's place on the board and engaged in a back-and-forth with Carlini after he chided the board for what he believes has been excessive spending on staff. Resident Mary Kay Bocain defended Lynam, saying he "got elected for a reason: We want change here. We need to give him a chance and trust the decisions he's making."
Trustee Scott Kunze read a statement asking Lynam to move on from his effort to replace Andresen.
"We ask President Lynam to instead focus on matters important to the residents of East Dundee whom we all collectively serve," Kunze said.