Timeline of Events
As I've tried to put this together, I've come to want to draw out a timeline of publicly known events. I've been told many things but as far as those that are hearsay, but I think we need to look at how these events have unfolded. Additionally, as you read, any extra information or commentary from me is in italics.
Unknown Date: Incident at Village Hall where the Chief yelled at CAO Smith.
Note: Has anyone asked why? I don't see an explaination or even context from CAO Smith regarding the conversation. If the "fact" report is believed the Chief just yelled without cause/reason/conversation. This seems out of character for the Chief.
4/28/20 -- During Executive Session, CAO Smith brought an issue to the board regarding Chief Richardson who yelled at her. She says this is the third time he's done this. During this session, Bryan Younge was selected to speak to the Chief to see what was going on.
Note: I've had this confirmed by board members, I've also heard that the Chief did raise his voice so there would be witnesses to the conversations.
Unknown Date (but prior to 5/3/20) -- Bryan Younge spoke to Chief Richardson. Mr. Younge reports at this point the Chief shares shocking information that the Village Hall was not a happy place. Mr. Younge took it on to meet with and talk to the staff and collected approximately 30 written statements/complaints.
5/4/20 -- The Altercation at Village Hall
5/6/20 -- Special Board Meeting -- opened the meeting and went into Executive Session for the Board
5/7/20 -- Village Attorney Michael Smoron emailed Chief Richardson regarding a statement about being asked to do unethical or illegal activities. Mr. Smoron appears to be asking for more details.
NOTE: Unclear if the Chief responded.
5/8/20 -- Village Attorney Michael Smoron emailed Phil Stephan and Jeannine Smith the entire set of documents and emails (with all the complainant names).
5/12/20 : Regular Board Meeting. Meeting focused on the Travel Center; nothing was mentioned regarding the situation outside public comments.
5/19/20: Special Board Meeting -- Meeting called specifically to censure Bryan Younge.
Bryan Younge was censured for telling President Stephan and CAO Smith to use proper procedure and use the police non-emergency number instead of directly calling the officer on duty.
NOTE: To send an officer out without going through our contracted dispatch process is a violation of our agreement with McHenry County Dispatch and puts at risk our 911 services.
Bryan Younge was censured for attempting to prevent CAO Smith from accessing files on her computer without prior board approval.
Mr. Younge has stated repeatedly that he had four board members' agreement. Unfortunately, one of those board members agreed over the phone, so there is no paper trail -- however, there are three who certainly agreed with a trail.
The last item on the agenda was to cut off Mr. Younge's access to the Village Attorney.
5/26/20: Regular Board Meeting: Another Censure for Bryan Younge
This time, President offers to table the censure if Mr. Younge agrees to OMA (Open Meeting Act) training.
6/9/20: Regular Board Meeting: During Trustee Comments, Mr. Berman mentioned that he was conducting an investigation and it would be released shortly. There was a lengthy executive session.
~6/10/20 (date might not be 100% accurate): A Village Hall employee gave notice.
6/19/20: Another Village Hall Employee turns in her notice, with explicit outline that the reasons for her departure are because of the inaction of the board to protect her and her fellow employees from the hostile work environment.
6/20/20: Online petition began to request the board put CAO Smith on Admin Leave pending a truly independent, third party investigation. Petition is still active and can be found here.
6/23/20: Regular Board Meeting: Many outraged public comments. The board passed a well to irrigate Red Tail -- with many emails that President Stephan read from residents who appear to believe that this well will provide clean water to the Turnberry Lakes (this is untrue).
Phil Stephan spent 26 minutes attempting to humiliate Village Clerk Jan Hansen for her minute taking skills. It also is mentioned that CAO Smith spent "hours" typing up the transcripts and that process was hard. (I'm required to ask what was the opportunity cost of her time to do that, when you could outsource a transcription at between $0.50 and $1.25 per minute --- though I have to really wonder if that part of the dramatics was necessary beyond proving that the staff has a point in their complaints regarding working conditions.)
Mr. Berman presented his "Finding of 'Facts'" -- he declares the matter closed. (Note: only select board members were given an advanced copy of this, in fact this was released to the media within minutes of being given to at least one board member. There are many factual errors in this report -- but mostly, the few staff he sent his "interrogatories" to did not respond. I actually reached out to a small subset of those to inquire and was told they didn't respond "on advice from their lawyer.")
6/24/20: Village Staff was presented with the social media policy and 'requested' to sign it.
6/25/20: Village Hall Contract temp employee was terminated because she recorded the events of 5/4/20 on her cell phone. To my knowledge, no one outside of the Trustees and Village Officials knew of this or had a copy of this recording. This is NOT the recording we have all seen in the NW Herald.
6/26/20: Bryan Younge's access to his Village Trustee email account was cut off.
7/2/20: Email from President Stephan to Bryan Younge informs Mr. Younge that his access to email has been revoked and he's been requested to cease contacting the Village Staff, by decision of the majority of the board of Trustees.