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?"

The Guterere Family May 19, 2011 at 11:52 AM
I was thrilled to be at the school board meeting last night. The people who spoke up WITH THE TRUTHS about the new members of the board were wonderful. People everywhere had to be cheering in their seats. As should be. The bull about the tea party members going into the schools to "interact" with the kids and staff is just that. Bull. That is a lawsuit waiting to happen and they had better know that. The day that one of them steps inside my children's classroom is the day that a large lawsuit will begin. My children have rights also. Shannon needs to do her homework and stop trying to be the head of the board meetings. There are so many things she is clueless about. And the parent that told her that the school district IS NOT IN SHAMBLES should be proud. I was right there clapping. How dare her to ASSUME that that is the case. The school district is FAR from shambles. There are alot of good people who have done GOOD FOR THE CHILDREN OF OUR DISTRICT. The superintendent has done alot of good for the school district. For the children especially. When it comes down to it, the parents will step forward at the right time and stand behind the original school board. Be sure of that. We are watching and waiting. We are not sock puppets. We are hardworking parents who step up to the base for our children and their education. We WILL move forward to support our school board. We will take action. Take note.
The Guterere Family May 19, 2011 at 12:21 PM
I reread the comments on this board and it is obvious that there are talkers and there are individuals who really care for the children of this district. Our family is very active in helping the needy families in Grayslake as well as helping improve the quality of the education of the children in our community. It is shameful that people come on this board whose purpose is to do nothing but take up space with endless chatter. The people who suggested that the group get out in the community and do good know what it is all about. It is obvious that groups don't want GOOD change. There are sock puppets in life and there are people who step up to the base and get the work done. It is obvious who is who.
Emerson May 19, 2011 at 02:15 PM
Guterere,Shannon doesn't know what she's talking about?! Really? she has been working hard and doing her research and giving her time to the district for 2 years.She is one of the board members who is truly there for the right reasons. Try listening to what she has to say,you might learn something!As you keep mentioning, yes, it's great that you are helping needy families. Shannon is doing her part to help the community. Try listening.
Lisa Bako May 19, 2011 at 02:23 PM
I have taken a break from these posts for some time for reflection. I have stepped away as the personal attacks, comments, phone calls and emails have made me feel that perhaps my family was unsafe due to my involvement and position regarding the school board. I am asking all of you who post here to consider that there are people, community members, neighbors, parents, maybe even friends behind the names you insult, attack and accuse. These allegations have been brought to light, whether you agree with the agenda or not, the information is there in front of us now and has to be dealt with. I do not support the alleged unethical behavior of any of the accused nor do I support the personal attacks and inappropriate behavior of either "side". Although the statements made by Mr. Jarratt at the meeting last night were not comparing apples to apples, I'm sure if you were the one attacked, you might see that the words (typed or spoken) are just as hurtful. I ask all of you to move past the accusations and mud-slinging. I ask you to act as respectable adults in all venues, especially ones that involve our children's education. I am certain that both "sides" will never see eye to eye on all of the issues that are before us, however I do feel that we can act with dignity and try to come up with mutually beneficial decisions that all of us can live with.
Lisa Bako May 19, 2011 at 02:23 PM
Please, I beg you to move past this ugly election, and strive to work together and act as your children are watching and learning from your behavior.
HM May 19, 2011 at 05:52 PM
Well said Lisa - both sides of this argument have taken it to a level that it should have never reached. Calmer heads need to prevail and look at the facts. The facts will show that both sides on these boards are way off base. This is an issue that has to do with alledged wrong-doing by BOE members, and those actions were uncovered by a very motivated individual. Those of you who oppose the "motives" of Mr. Jarrett need to realize you have "motives" that are just as strong as his. Niether of you are right - and the people on either side of this argument look like extremists who are completely unwilling to be open minded to anything other than what they believe. It's sad, really, that a school board election has come to this - sad that exisiting members might have tried to offer gifts to young voters, and sad that people would go to any length to dig up the dirt. This is a school district that has the task of teaching our children. Now, since the accusations are out there, they need to be investigated, and justice done. However, moving forward, this community needs to find a way to work toward the interests of our students, and build each other up, rather than tear each other down.
Rob Smith May 20, 2011 at 02:29 AM
It is because my children are watching that i have a concern. No matter how you try to explain it.....paying kids to vote is WRONG.... I have an obligation to my children to teach them the importance and responsibility that goes along with voting. Ask Facklam to admit that what she did was wrong and to step down and maybe we can have a chance for all of this can stop,
Lisa Bako May 20, 2011 at 02:54 AM
Once again Mr. Smith, no one is saying that paying kids to vote is not wrong. Of course, we all have the obligation to teach our children the importance of responsibility that goes along with all life's lessons, but we also have an obligation to our children to act like adults and to be respectful of others and kind to one another. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you". We need to teach our children that we live in a free country and that each individual is entitled to his/her opinion and because our country is "free" those individuals are allowed to voice their opinions. It is fine to disagree with those opinions, but it is not fine to act in a belligerent manor when you do so. All I am asking is that we focus on what is good in our district and work together to make it even better and stop the slander. Just to be perfectly clear, I am not asking anyone to turn a blind eye to the allegations.
Rob Smith May 20, 2011 at 02:57 AM
Interesting how this is NOT hard evidence and yet the same people were willing to censor Carbone with far LESS evidence and you all seemed to be ok with it. It does not matter one way or the other, however if your standard is 300+ pages of printed emails are not proof then also stand with Carbone. If Carbone is guilty then also find these people guilty but it is not right to be unbalanced.
Rob Smith May 20, 2011 at 04:05 AM
.......Ms. Bako what do you teach your children about your participation in this mess? How do you explain why Mr. Carbone was censured without due process and align it with your position that Ms. Facklam should be given due process?
Sully May 20, 2011 at 09:41 AM
Mr Smith- why is it your concern what Ms. Bako tells her kids? And I'm still unclear about Ms. Bako's role in all of this. What did she do that offends you so?
Sully May 20, 2011 at 09:52 AM
Oh, and for you Andrea- I don't know Lisa Bako and couldn't pick her picture out of a line-up. I have no personal reason for 'defending' her. Mr. Smith has attacked her for reasons unclear. You see Andrea, what adults do is take facts, assimilate them into their knowledge base, consider more than one side of the issue, and then form an opinion/judgement based on all the information. ALL of the information, Andrea. An adult sees the big picture, not just the little box you seem to be stuck in.
Rob Smith May 20, 2011 at 12:22 PM
Sullivan- 1- Go back to the Patch and read Ms. Bako's comments the month before the election 2- Read her comments now on the Patch
Lisa Bako May 20, 2011 at 03:22 PM
Please, I urge you to go back and read my earlier posts. None of them have been personal attacks. My problem with Mr. Carbone, other than the "allegations" that brought him to censure, is his public slander of our district and public education on a talk radio show. Those were HIS words directly from HIS mouth and cannot be disputed or claimed to be "allegations." I find his conduct less than ethical and upstanding as an elected school board official. I think his personal feelings of Mrs. Correll should be kept to himself unless it is directly related to district business. He does not have to vote to extend her contract and his personal feelings on the subject can take place in closed session where they belong. He needs to show that he is able to work with the other board memebers, even if he disagrees with their point of view. (all of them do!) He needs to be able to work with Mrs. Correll and the D46 office staff in a way that is not confrontational, abrasive and sometimes abusive. I have apologized for any words I have typed here that anyone interpreted as attacks. I don't know why you continue to confront me personally, my views are shared by many. I am asking everyone to let the election mess be left behind so that we can all work together for our children. The election is over, the allegations are old news at this point. Why do you have to beat a dead horse? Let the board and the district atty handle the rest.
Lisa Bako May 20, 2011 at 03:30 PM
Not that it is any of your business, but what I teach my children is that sometimes even good people make mistakes or errors in judgement. When this happens, those people have to pay the price or suffer the consequence of their actions. I tell them to listen to their consicnce and they will most likely make the right choices. I tell them to think of others, don't be mean, selfish or hurtful. Does that help?
Rob Smith May 20, 2011 at 05:58 PM
...that's a great response but does not address the question, which simply is this. Why are some board members eligible for due process when accused of wrong doing and yet other board members are accused found guilty and censure carried out without due process. All of your earlier posts were very clear that you supported the censure, who knows with access to the evidence I might also support the censure. However, that is not the case. If you are ok and support decisions implemented with no due process on one side of the coin, why are you now asking people to wait and review the evidence? Can you pick a position on where you stand with regard to equal protection afforded by the Constitution. Are you for or against due process for all?
Sarah Pressly-James May 20, 2011 at 06:00 PM
Mr. Smith - please explain how you take such issue with Ms. Bako's comments in this series of posts, THIS ONE ONLY RIGHT HERE, that say this: "I ask all of you to move past the accusations and mud-slinging. I ask you to act as respectable adults in all venues," when in this series of posts we have "Tony" who tells someone to "find your man bits," we have "Andrea" who accuses a poster of being a "clown," we have "GoD46" who accuses "Andrea," in turn, of being on crack - please say how these kinds of words help, as you put it, teach your children "the importance and responsibility that goes along with voting"? This is a public forum. Would you, having seen me post something horrifying and ugly, send your kid to my house for a play date? I wouldn't if I were in that position - and these folks are using fake names when my name is right out here in the open. Ms. Bako's is too. So is yours. We, all of us, need to learn to fight the issues and not maim and hurt each other. If you are a Christian, as I am, then you know that Jesus surely DID call people on their bad behavior, yep he did, but he never hated or belittled them. That's who I follow. I want to know what happened with the alleged gift cards, yes I do. But I'm not a lawyer, I'm not a cop, and I can only wait to see what the proof is. Making ugly comments about folks on these walls will not make that happen faster. I know you're teaching your kids good choices- Ms. Bako is simply asking us to behave like that on this wall.
Rob Smith May 20, 2011 at 06:06 PM
Again, go back read her earlier posts, not only the content but the tone, now that it has come out that she and her candidates were caught with their hands in the proverbial cookie jar, she is calling for objectivity. We as a community need objectivity on all sides, we need fairness on all sides. not for a select few. All people have good and bad in them all people make mistakes and all people need to be provided benefit of the doubt. However Ms. Bako and her friends Facklam and Garcia began the attacks on the other candidates, they have and continued to spread lies about Tea Party membership and participation despite being told otherwise in an attempt to discredit the nee board members. There are copies of emails going around showing how Ms. Bako lied to these candidates took their words out of context from these emails and then forwarded to her PTO base. Personally I dont care because all is fair in love and war which also means politics. However I do not agree with her now coming on this site, commenting and attempting to make people believe she hasnt been an active participant, just like Lennie Jarratt in this mess we now find ourselves in. All of them are equally culpable in fueling the flames.....the only difference is he owns up to his part in all this and admits to digging up dirt. She is as dirty as Facklam and Garcia and someone needs to call it out
Rob Smith May 20, 2011 at 06:19 PM
Sarah- My objection comes based on one simple fact all of the comments that the other people make are out there in public for others to see where they stand. Ms. Bako, has and continues to come on these posts and submit comments that would make it appear that she is objective while continuing to communicate verbally and via email a different perspective. If Ms. Bako is sincere about objectivity and fairness, i would challenge her to come on this post and simply state the following: "All Americans have a right to due process under the Constitution of the United States of America. If any person does not receive due process it is unfair & UnAmerican. Some people believe Mr. Carbone a board member for D46 was accused found guilty & censured without the basic protection of due process. Because I believe in fairness and objectivity for all, I utilize this public forum as an opportunity to ask the current Board of D46 and administration to prove that Mr. Carbone was given an opportunity to hear the complaints against him & defend himself BEFORE he was censured. If we as a community did not provide him this basic right I ask that we rescind the censure and allow him due process She comes on this site calls for objectivity now that her candidates are accused, if she believes in objectivity and fairness then she should support it for all if she is not willing or able to make a public statement like the one above, it will be clear she is for objectivity for some not all
Lisa Bako May 20, 2011 at 07:27 PM
Here we go again Mr. Smith, I repeat (again and again) I had NOTHING to do with any of the "allegations". I did NOT send any emails for ANYONE or "cut and paste" as you claim. Show me the proof. I would admit to my wrong doing had there been any! I did support Facklam and Garcia for re-election as I felt that they best represented the school district for me. This was before any accusations were brought to light. I would LOVE to see some of these emails you claim where I lied to candidates and proof of those actions. I admit that I have been an active participant with the school board since 2006. I have spoken out both for and against their actions on many occasions. I did not do anything unethical or against the law nor did I attack anyone personally.
Lisa Bako May 20, 2011 at 07:42 PM
Thanks SPJ! Mr. Smith, I call for objectivity. I believe I have made it clear, maybe to everyone but you, that my problem with Mr. Carbone was for his public slander of our district. I have asked for all "allegations" to be considered just that until proof is available. This includes the allegations against Mr. Carbone. His censure was not only for the "allegations" of trying to illegally obtain the password for Subfinder, but for his unethical treatment of the D46 office staff and belligerent phone messages for Ellen while she was out of town burying her mother. His behavior was not acceptable, his messages were quoted, that alone was enough for a censure. Just to make it clear, the censure is the equivalent of being "written up" for poor behavior at the work place. It is not a "charge". It is a slap on the wrist and nothing has become of it. Does a boss have to "prove" allegations of poor behavior before he/she "writes up" or "scolds" an employee? I feel all Americans are entitled to due process, including Mr. Carbone. But what about you? You make claims about me without offering proof. You smear my good name and that of the PTO, where is my due process? Look in the mirror Mr. Smith before you get on your pedistol. You are doing to me just what you claim I did to Mr. Carbone. Again, I did not issue the censure, I am not on the board. I did publicly state MY OPINION about his actions surrounding the censure which I explained in an earlier post.
Sarah Pressly-James May 20, 2011 at 08:42 PM
Mr. Smith - I am happy to read any of those emails you have, or have seen in others' boxes. Post them here. Unless you do that, you are doing the same thing you accuse Ms. Bako of doing. Post them. Then also, please, answer my original question: please say how the angry and mean attacks help, as you say, "the importance and responsibility that goes along with voting." How does your comment "now that it has come out that she and her candidates were caught with their hands in the proverbial cookie jar," help the dialog? Further, please give the proof that Ms. Bako's hand was "caught in the cookie jar," because no one has said anything in all the emails about Ms. Facklam and Ms. Garcia that Ms. Bako was anywhere near that. If you have no proof, then you are simply acting hypocritically. Now see, in that sentence, that I did NOT NOT NOT say "You are a hypocrite." I DID NOT say that. I said IF, and then I said "you are acting." See how that is not spiting you as a person?? Did you also clearly see that I assume you are teaching your kids WELL, not horribly? I am not impuning your character nor your parenting skills nor anything about you as a person. Can you do that in your responses?
Servicecitizen May 20, 2011 at 10:11 PM
Sullivan, what do you think about this??? "After meeting with the former New Mexico Governor following a concert in his native Texas, Nelson decided to give his Teapot Party's endorsement to Johnson, a longtime pot fan."
Servicecitizen May 20, 2011 at 10:11 PM
Sully May 20, 2011 at 10:58 PM
As I said in another thread, I'm not really sure how I'm supposed to respond. I'm not following you.
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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