Report: No action warranted against Dist. 225 board member
A law firm has completed an investigation of complaints surrounding Glenbrook High Schools District 225 board member Joel Taub's conduct at the board's Feb. 14 meeting.
The report found that "no further action is warranted."
Discussed by the board at its June 27 meeting, board President Bruce Doughty explained that the firm of Himes, Petrarca & Fester investigated complaints under District 225 grievance policies.
At that meeting, the 15-year board member directed vulgarity toward Mark Weyermuller during the public comment period.
Weyermuller, of Chicago, had taken off his protective mask upon reaching the podium to speak. Doughty told Weyermuller to put his mask back on, and after about a minute of discussion, Doughty said Weyermuller could speak without a mask.
Taub questioned that and, shortly, he and Weyermuller started arguing about who was "in charge" of the meeting. After more back-and-forth, Taub swore at Weyermuller. On Feb. 17, Taub apologized for his behavior.
Doughty on Monday said Himes, Petrarca & Fester conducted their investigation over the last few months, and copies were given to all board members for their review.
District 225 Superintendent Charles Johns said the report would be available on the District 225 board website as soon as possible.
"The findings of the report, in sum, are that the conduct at issue was inconsistent with certain board policies, as well as the Illinois Association of School Boards' code of conduct," Doughty said.
"Further, the report indicates that because the board member has already apologized, the board has disavowed the conduct and there is no board authority for removal of an elected board member, that no further action is warranted."
Board member Skip Shein said the board had been told "a number of times" -- including Monday when several of the eight public speakers requested Taub's resignation -- to remove the 37-year Northbrook resident "due to behavior that we all found inappropriate, to put it mildly."
Taub was not present at Monday's meeting.
Shein asked who had the authority to remove a board member. Darcee Williams, a Chicago partner with Himes, Petrarca & Fester, was present and said the regional office of education had that authority to remove a board member who failed to perform their duties and responsibilities.
Dr. Kevin Yauch, executive director of the North Cook Intermediate Service Center, on Tuesday confirmed that was the case.
He said that, by statute, a board member may be removed "for willful failure to perform their official duties."
Yauch described willful failure as essentially abandoning one's position on the board, such as stopping to come to board meetings or answering related voicemails or emails. Yauch said removal under the statute had nothing to do with other behaviors.
"During the course of my investigation in my interviews with complainants," Williams said, "many of them had, in fact, contacted the Service Center, and I believe, based on the information they shared with me, had gotten the same advice from them."
The board moved to adopt the findings of the report, approving it by a 5-0 vote.