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Bending the Rules or Breaking the Law?

Repercussions of D46 allegations yet to be determined.

Fireworks went off in Grayslake when Lake County Tea Party Chair Lennie Jarratt filed a complaint about the improper use of District 46 email by the superintendent and school board members.  Words like “inappropriate” and “unethical” made their way into the conversations of concerned community members and parents.  

Questions remain about emails sent during the re-election campaigns of two D46 school board incumbents, Sue Facklam and Mary Garcia. Garcia did not win re-election; Facklam did.

Various officials are now grappling with this question: Do the alleged actions only violate school codes, or are they illegal?

The allegations are under review by the Lake County State’s attorney’s office.  “Should we choose to investigate, we would then determine is further action is warranted,” said Chief Deputy State’s Attorney Dan Jasica.  

“School District 46 has its own governing board in local government. The election issues are being reviewed by other organizations, such as the State Board, and it may fall to these other agencies to handle,”  Jasica said.

While many corporate or private employers allow for some personal e-mail usage as long as it is not excessive, individuals in a public or governmental role must abide by a more stringent set of rules that specifically rule out any political activity.

“We have to look to the State’s Attorney’s office to determine if something illegal has been done,” said Roycealee Wood, Regional Superintendent of Schools for Lake County.

“Our office is involved if there is wanton neglect of duties by a school board member and this does not fall into that category. I only know of one time that we removed a board member and that was because the person never attended a board meeting.  This current situation may have something to do with election laws and that is why the State’s Attorney is involved.”

The State of Illinois does not mince words regarding the seriousness of misusing state resources for this purpose:

Sec. 5‑15. Prohibited political activities.
    (a) State employees shall not intentionally perform any prohibited political activity during any compensated time (other than vacation, personal, or compensatory time off). State employees shall not intentionally misappropriate any State property or resources by engaging in any prohibited political activity for the benefit of any campaign for elective office or any political organization.

The States Attorney’s office will ultimately make that decision if the allegations are substantiated, and if so, what actions would be taken.

“There is no timeframe because we have to review the charges and another agency could end up handling,” said Jasica.

While some parents at recent board meetings have said that they just want the school to focus on providing quality programs for their kids, Jarratt continues to assert that the actions border on criminal. He said they are using the taxpayers' money for personal agendas.

Some residents agree with him.

"I haven't seen any shock or dismay from the board or the superintendent," said resident Mike Brown during public comment. "Us taxpayers have been struggling. This room, this table, we've paid for with our taxes. Do you have any concept of how wrong it is for you to use our time for an election?"

Sully May 20, 2011 at 11:49 PM
Maybe the lawyer wanted the chance to protect others' names who were unrelated to the charges and may have been in emails for other reasons. Just a thought.
Lisa Bako May 21, 2011 at 04:01 AM
Lmj, I honestly cannot say for sure who would have received my vote, but the allegations would have definitely played a large part in my decision. I did a lot of "interviewing" of all of the candidates, and did not take the decision lightly. I must say it again just to be safe, this statement does not mean I approve of the unethical actions. I contacted the board members and Mrs. Correll asking for due process and asking for swift action of all allegations some time ago. I did not mean to imply Mr. Jarratt had the FOIA'd info before the election.
Rob Smith May 21, 2011 at 06:49 AM
.....soooooo you dont see the fact that you list all of Mr. Carbones "ALLEGED ACTIONS" that day as FACT above as an indicator that you are OK at accepting allegations without proof as enough evidence to censure a person? The simple fact that you are willing to list as absolute truth what was reported as his actions that day while Ms. Correll was "burying her mother", with no proof whatsoever that it actually happened and no process that laid out the fact to prove that it happened makes my point. There are 300+ pages of email that Facklam and Garcia could have been involved in something illegal. Above you mention Mr. Carbone's "beligerent behaviour"...what proof is there that this actually happened? Is there an email? is there a recording? why are you ok with accepting as true that he did this but not ok to accept that Ms. Facklam and Ms. Garica did what is shown in black and white?
Sully May 21, 2011 at 02:30 PM
You know this how?
Lisa Bako May 22, 2011 at 03:05 AM
All of them, including Mr. Carbone

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