• Tricia Babischkin

Really?

When things can't seem to get any weirder, it appears our board has had to call the third special board meeting in under 2 weeks for the purpose of firing our police chief. Most people are asking, "What? Why? Haven't we done this already?"


So, here's what I know:


On Thursday of last week, it appears that a resident asked our CAO about a state code saying that the President can fire the chief as long as he "informs the board not less than 5 and not more than 10 days after the event."


On Friday we endured what can only be described as a well coordinated theatrical production with incredibly low production quality, since even after months of working with Zoom, our CAO and President still can't sort out the technology to provide for the "contemporaneous experience" as required by the state order and the PAC's letter to the village. Additionally, we watched a Trustee usurp public comments for his 8 minutes of bullying and intimidation, followed by the President reading hand picked emails (certainly not all the emails sent to him), the few actual public comments were favored from the few in the room and only one known dissenting voice was allowed to speak before public comments were cut 2 minutes short -- after years of our board not cutting off comments to allow for everyone to be heard. We listened to a lawyer outline 33 citations of inappropriate conduct stemming from essentially 3 incidents. At one point, I truly thought the lawyer was speaking of our CAO as he described in detail the psychology of a bully who picks on "lower employees" from a position of power. Finally, we heard Phil fire the chief and adjourn the meeting in one breath that most of the watching public had no idea that the vote held was for the meeting to adjourn and not for the firing of the chief.


Now, on Thursday evening, we have another special board meeting with nearly the same agenda -- to fire the chief.


So, I have two theories as to why this is happening -- Spoilers, I don't actually know which is correct.

  1. There was some violation, OMA or otherwise in the Friday meeting that invalidates the meeting and we essentially need to a do-over to fix it.

  2. There's that little piece of code that was ignored earlier that the board now realizes that they need to adhere to where the board must be informed "No fewer than 5 days and no more than 10 days" after the chief is fired.

If it is the latter, then why didn't the board explain this on Friday? It would seem to be a simple thing, where someone says "Hey, just so you all know, we are going to have to do this procedural thing and this is why." So, this makes me think that our board didn't realize that they should have fired the chief in private and then followed through with this process. But that doesn't make for great drama -- and stops all those extra opportunities to humiliate our police chief.


I'm doubting it is really the former. I've yet to see the PAC move fast enough to inform our board to correct a violation in 2 days -- so we'd have to assume that our own attorney spotted something that he wants corrected before the PAC can see it. And thus far with what I've seen, I think I'm going with a strong doubtful.


No matter what, dragging our village and our police chief through this again like this is frankly not just insensitive, it is wrong. Do not forget that our police chief is not a dirty cop. He's not the guy you see on TV violating people's rights. He's a good man -- a good man who had been bullied and harassed by people with far more power and far fewer morals than he has. He does not deserve this treatment.


In the real world, any HR professional would tell you that if you needed to fire an employee that you do it the right way because 1) there are no do-overs and 2) if you get it wrong, the lawsuit is costly. Right now, our current majority board continues to open us up to legal action and one decent lawyer need only to look at this series of meeting fails to be able to quickly add zeros to that suit. This is a gamble with our tax dollars and frankly, I'm not liking the odds.


I've said this before -- the residents of our village have been telling the board exactly what they should do -- practically gift wrapping how to move forward for them -- and they appear to not just ignore that; they seemingly are daring someone to bring a very large legal action against them (and by them, sadly, I mean us and our tax dollars).

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