District 46 Board Censures Sue Facklam

Lake County State's Attorney finds Sue Facklam violated Illinois Election Code, but will not prosecute. District 46 School Board responds by censuring her.

Grayslake District 46 board member Sue Facklam was officially censured Wednesday by the board of education following an investigation by the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office. It was regarding complaints she had violated the state’s election code by allegedly giving high school students free gift cards for registering to vote in her favor in the April school board elections.

Facklam received a letter from Lake County State’s Attorney Michael Waller dated Aug. 9 which concluded she had violated Section 29-1 of the Illinois Election Code by giving $5 Culver’s gift certificates to at least two individuals to influence them to register to vote for her.

Though the letter states such conduct constitutes a Class 4 felony for which Facklam could be prosecuted, Waller’s office decided against it, citing their investigation “did not uncover a broader pattern of illegal payments” and that they were choosing to exercise prosecutorial discretion.

Waller’s office did, however, send Lake County Clerk Willard Helander a copy of the letter with the recommendation that she remove Facklam as a deputy registrar because her conduct subverts the election process which relies upon honesty and integrity.

In an excerpt from the letter, Waller warned Facklam:

“Please do not interpret our decision not to prosecute you at this time as an acceptance or acquiescence to your violation of law. Should we learn of additional violations of the Election Code be assured that we will not hesitate to prosecute you to the fullest extent authorized by law.”

The investigation into Facklam’s alleged election and ethics violations began in April by an attorney working on behalf of Lake County Tea Party Chairman Lennie Jarratt, who has also worked to obtain e-mails between board members sent from district e-mail addresses concerning their personal election campaigns.

This includes e-mails from former board president Mary Garcia sent from her work e-mail at Northbrook/Glenview District 30 and e-mails from Facklam that allude to her efforts to give gift cards to 18-year-olds who would register to vote for her.

In one of those e-mails, acquired by Jarratt through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Facklam wrote to Garcia: “Don’t let them turn us in; Gifts to register to vote is probably illegal! I did offer Erika more gift cards if she can gather up more friends!”

In late September, Jarratt filed a formal complaint with the Lake County Circuit Court seeking an injunction to force District 46 to comply with the Freedom of Information Act and release other previously requested documents and e-mails.

The Lake County Tea Party is calling for Facklam’s resignation from the District 46 school board and the Special Education District of Lake County.

“Ms. Facklam should no longer be allowed to hold a position of responsibility as a role model to the children of this community,” Jarratt wrote in a press release.


On Wednesday, D46 board member Shannon Smigielski asked that an agenda item referring to the reading of the board’s censure resolution be put on hold until next meeting because board member Kip Evans was not present.

“He has a right to have a voice. This affects all of us,” she said.

Board member Michael Carbone agreed. The item remained on the agenda, however, following a 4-2 vote. Later, Carbone tried again to have the matter tabled but was unsuccessful. He then got up from his seat and sat in the audience in protest.

During public comment, Jarratt accused board president Ray Millington of rushing through the matter, claiming it was not just an ethics violation but a criminal act on Facklam’s part.

He also questioned whether the board knew about the Waller letter, which was sent in August. According to Smigielski, it did not.

“You’ve had a lot of time to sit and process what you’ve done,” Smigielski told Facklam.

Smigielski said Facklam showed a lack of respect to the board by not disclosing the letter after first receiving it.

“We have to read about it in the newspaper," she said. "You didn’t give us any consideration whatsoever.”

Furthermore, said Smigielski, “It’s a slap in the face of the people that did vote for you. They voted for someone they obviously did not know. If you had any respect for the board you’d step down. This is no place for you.”

Smigielski added she was “disgusted and ashamed” to be sitting on the board with Facklam and that she hoped Facklam “would lose a lot of sleep” over it.

Resident Lauri Steinhoff came to Facklam’s defense during public comment, calling her a “generous and passionate person” whose service to the community goes above and beyond.

“We’ve got to stop all this nonsense and get on with business,” said Steinhoff.

Smigielski said she believed the board should force Facklam out. Millington said they could not force an elected official to step down.

“This is as far as this board can go,” said board member Keith Surroz of Facklam’s censure.

After the meeting, Facklam told Patch she had “no comment” on the state’s attorney’s findings or whether she intended to resign from the board on which she has sat since 2003.

LCTruth November 03, 2011 at 11:50 AM
Facklam was wrong, but this is Lake County where white collar crime is considered a nuisance to the State's Attorney's office. Censure yes....table until you the other board member returns and get on with business. This is what happens when the Tea Party gets into place, they focus more on grandstanding and theatrics than conducting meaningful business. The D46 board is a laughing stock in the community, and unfortunately the taxpayers and students lose with this group.
C-Dub November 03, 2011 at 12:39 PM
LMJ - Why must you always attack Sully. For once he posted something that you and your husband are for. Yet you must still find the time and waste the energy to find something negative to say. I agree 100% that Sue should step down and I was not at the board meeting last night. I, like most D46 parents, spend time with our children and families when I am not at work. I try to attend meetings when I can and do voice my opinions in the proper manner. Your comment is exactly why you and your husband do not hold an ounce of credibility within D46. You attack and hold personal vendettas against people who do not see eye to eye with you. Please stop, I have no problem with Mr. Jarrett attending meeting and voicing his opinion and holding special LCTP meetings to inform or recruit new members, that is his right and by all means go for it, but stop acting like a 5 year old holding a tantrum when people voice their opinion, which is not to your liking.
Softball Jim November 03, 2011 at 01:26 PM
Ok, so D46 has no legal right to force Flacklam to resign. They do have the ability to censure her and that is what they did. My opinion Flacklam should step down and make room for another person to do the right thing. I am unsure why you would need to table, delay or remove the agenda item from the agenda, for Kip Evans. If he does not make an effort to go to the meetings he was elected to attend. Then he can not comment on the matter when it comes up. If the Censure is the worst they can do, and that is what they did, why do we need to table it and drag it out? Jarrett, it is now time to move on with this issue. The censure is done and LCSA is not going to prosecute. Again Flacklum should step down ! However, Carbone, you are just as big of an embarrasment as Flacklam. Take your ball and go sit in the audience? Come on my 6 year old does not act like that. Act like an adult and set a better example for the children in the district. If Shannon, Kip and Mikey do straighten up and act like adults, we will start asking them all to resign. Shannon for trustee like behavior, (screaming & Yelling behind closed doors), Carbone for his "protests" and Evans for his lack of attendance. Get your act together and right this ship !
Stephanie November 03, 2011 at 02:06 PM
You have got to be kidding me. Two $5 Culver's gift certificates? If you knew Sue Facklam at all, you would know that she often gives out gift certificates to family, friends and their children, often just to cheer them up or let them know she is thinking about them. More importantly let's address the fact the Lenny Jarrett and his cohorts have cost District 46 thousands of dollars in complying with FOIAs of e-mail and other documents in an apparent witch hunt to discredit Mrs. Facklam and others. Mrs. Facklam has spent the last 8+ years asking the tough questions about the budget, revenue and future income stream for District 46. Stubborn? You're darn right she's stubborn. Stubborn enough to take all your abuse and continue to serve the parents and students of this district with our children's best interest in mind. Mr. Jarrett's views on public education are well known. Mr. Jarrett, Ms. Smigielski, Mr. Evans and Mr. Carbone are concerned about how much they pay in property taxes, not how well we educate our children. Take your funding issues to the state, stop your libelous slander of Mrs. Facklam (convicted felon???) and get down to the real issue of providing a solid education for the children of this district.
GoBlue November 03, 2011 at 02:33 PM
I do not know Sue personally, so I cannot speak to her character. I have nothing against her personally and I think she has performed her service as a CCSD 46 board member admirably. What she did was wrong. Do I consider her a felon? No, I do not. With that said, I do believe it is in the best interest of the district that she step down. The problem as I see it is it will be hard for her to act on behalf of the students and taxpayers, when people will question her ethics and her motives. Right or wrong that is the truth. It will be hard for many people to trust her. Once the trust is gone, you need to go. With that said, I am no fan of the Tea Party or Lennie. I also am quite sick of Carbone’s antics. How convenient for him to pitch a fit anytime someone does not agree with him. Has he voted on anything? All he ever does is abstain. I also do not think Shannon is any better.
Sully November 03, 2011 at 02:37 PM
Stephanie, while I appreciate your loyalty, the question is not about what Facklam does a majority of the time, rather, it's her poor judgement in this case. I don't know Sue and I hold nothing personally against her. I do know that in order to have credibility one must adhere to certain public standards, which in this particular, she did not. I'm sure she has done many wonderful things, but there are consequences for even the littlest of mistakes when it involves the public. She most likely regrets her actions and probably would not make the same choice again, however, the deed is done.
Brad Faxton November 03, 2011 at 03:08 PM
Yet again, I'm totally disappointed in the 'antics' by Smigielski. She is spiteful, hateful, angry and has a super hot temper which has no business on the board. Being at the meeting last night solidified that for me. What a grand stander. Unreal. She will *NOT* get my vote next go around. So sad I wasted my efforts by supporting her last year.
Blaze November 03, 2011 at 04:59 PM
The show put on at the board meeting last night was a disgrace and more fodder for the Daily Herald. Shannon should be ashamed of herself. She used quite a few legal terms and in erroneous fashion. She played for the audience and even checked a few times to see who was paying attention to her. Mr. Carbone was like a child on the playground who didn't like the rules so took his marbles and ran off. I also disagree that Kip Evans is the voice of the people. The highlight though was when Mr. Carbone asked the Financial Officer what would happen if there were no more people to fund the schools. Duh! Then there would be no children to have schools. Many of us got a chuckle in about that one. I am sick of these antics and the children not being mentioned at all. I also wish Mr. Jarrett would stop wasting time and being in cahoots with the Daily Herald reporter and go home! I will say Mr. Jarrett that to give you the benefit of the doubt, I looked at the Lake County Tea Party website. Why is there a special section for D46? Is this the only school district in Lake County that you feel does things not to your liking? If it is the Lake County Tea Party, that should encompass Lake County Schools as a WHOLE! Lastly, we all make mistakes and whether Sue should step down or not is on her conscience. I will say I admire her grace under fire, and her ability to go on and contribute to the meeting.
WorriedParent November 03, 2011 at 06:58 PM
Oh please. In March when they censured Carbone, their censure statement went on for over 11 minutes in "extreme" detail and then Colleen Wade proceeded to rant for another 2-3 minutes. Why is this any different? They read Sue's censure statement in a matter of 3 minutes, and Shannon made her comments. Her comments were no different than Colleens. Then after that Keith and Ray start arguing with her regarding her opinion! One comment I agree with was regarding the "majority of the board".....The majority of the board seems to all stick together no matter what is being discussed, and that majority is Team Sue. They probably didn't even want to censure Sue. I am with Sully on this one, deed is done. Someone who actually broke the law on top of breaking the ethics code should step down, and it should be recommended by the entire board. Fat chance that would ever happen. And on top of all that Sue knew the state's findings since Aug but still try to hide it from the board and the public, just shows the only interest she is looking out for is her own.
HM November 03, 2011 at 08:37 PM
Sue should step down. Period. She is dishonest, unethical and an embarassment. I don't care how many gift cards she distributed - they could prove 2, but I'm willing to bet there were many more. If she would have approached my child at the high school with this, you can be assured I'd file suit against her in a second. It is WRONG to bribe anyone, ESPECIALLY a young person voting for the first time in their lives. Anything she says is not to be trusted. She simply needs to step down, for the good of the district.
Blaze November 03, 2011 at 09:30 PM
WorriedParent So what you are saying is that it happened in March and nothing should have been learned from that display?
WorriedParent November 03, 2011 at 10:24 PM
Blaze, not at all what I am saying. I am saying our board is dysfuntional and can't seem to hold any appropriate conversation, now or in the past when Garcia was there. The problem is that this board is Team Sue, so I can say I honestly feel for Shannon and sometimes Carbone to the frustrations having to go up against this at every meeting. Did you even notice how often anyone "new" to the board brings up a suggestion how many times Karen Wienert, Ray or Keith always shoot it down. Case in point on going out for bids for a legal firm. What harm would it do to get a bid? Just to see? Doesn't cost anything, don't have to take it....but no, everyone on Team Sue voted it down. Probably because Sue, Ray and Karen have so much invested with the current legal team with all the allegations against them. Your point seemed to make the whole evening of disgrace mostly at Shannon, is she not entitled to her opinion about this whole mess? Most of the board is a disgrace. I think some of that disgrace stems from how the board members treat each other and the public. When you have the board Vice President raising his voice, pointing his finger at other members, interupting, arguing against someone's opinion along with other past board members bad behavior it seems like you can't expect anything else. It wasn't just one person.
Sully November 03, 2011 at 10:52 PM
I was not able to attend or watch last night's meeting (by the way, Lisa, I have been at a meeting or two. I choose to remain unobtrusive). I know Shannon has been bombastic in previous meetings and I've always felt Carbone has a frozen smirk on his face to illustrate his disdain for anyone with whom he disagrees (kind of like W when he had no clue about what was really going on but had to appear that he did) and his total lack of respect for most others. Shannon has actually done some good things, but she needs to learn to control her temper, listen to the other side, and make up her own mind. If there were ever a case when the whole board actually agreed with each other, this is the one. But as everything else, it turned into an "us vs. them" political issue. I don't know if both sides acted like three year-olds, but obviously this group will never find common ground on anything. What a shame.
Phil November 03, 2011 at 11:02 PM
These comments are always the same, blame the three tea baggers. I watched the video. I spoke to people who were at the meeting. There was no yelling or screaming. Even as members of the audience behaved the way the audience did in Carbones censure (this time it was pro-Facklam not pro-Carbon), tempers didn't flare. If Ray Millington would stand up as board president and take control like he should you'd see things change. Instead things go on much like they have for years. The dichotomy isn't all that different than the boards of past there is just far more scrutiny. Smigielski spoke honestly. You don't have to like her but she echoed what many of you, those in the school buildings, businesses, and neighborhoods are saying. The board could have waited for Kip to return and it is not for any of us to judge him for not being there.It is none of our business. Does anyone remember how many meetings Keith Surroze has missed in his reign? Karen Weinert has missed plenty to work. Get over it. How fantastic for SUE that most of you are focusing on everything around her and not her and her actions. Most on here call for her to step down. Suggest how to make that happen. SUE is in the wrong here. Stop blaming everyone else for a change and try to get the 1 board member who has been investigated and deemed in violation to do the right thing and step down. There is no incentive to be honest when the penalty is a 3 minute shame on you.
Phil November 03, 2011 at 11:11 PM
Sully my apologies as my post below starts with these comments are always the same. I was not responding to yor post. I am pleasantly suprrised to see you stick to the point and while you and I have disagreed respectfully on things you should know that my comment below is not a reflection of your posts to this article.
Blaze November 03, 2011 at 11:19 PM
WorriedParent Believe it or not I do understand what you are saying. I guess my frustration as a parent is that it doesn't seem if anything ever is learned from the past. I agree that the other board members have had their moment of shame. I think we are going to continue to have such displays consistently until the parental public and general tax payer public say, " enough is enough". I also put to question Mr. Jarrett's stake in this. He seems to be able to stir up the pot constantly and I put forth questions to him in my original post. I give all the benefit of the doubt until they need to be called on the carpet. I even said Sue will have to live with her conscience. The due process of Lake County is over. Whether we agree with it or not, that is our system here in America. Sometimes we agree and sometimes not. I think though, that we need to not resort to such theatrics, name calling and yelling over eachother. Having said that, I still would like my questions to Mr. Jarrett answered. Again, WorriedParent, you sound like you look at both sides and I thank you for not taking my head off!
Sully November 04, 2011 at 02:31 AM
Thank you, Phil. I did not take it as such!
Mrs. Robinson November 04, 2011 at 02:45 PM
Smigielski is nothing more than a bullying blowhard. What a poor representative of the district. She represents education? What a laugh. Now she has a little power and a microphone to bully all those around. She only cares about not having to pay for anything. We are all fools for voting for her.
Brad Faxton November 04, 2011 at 03:28 PM
I'm looking for a 'Like' or +1 button.....
4GirlsNoBoys November 04, 2011 at 07:21 PM
100% agreed! Sue Facklam, do the right thing now -- resign!
LMJ November 04, 2011 at 08:11 PM
So, the majority of people on here agree that Sue Facklum should resign from the board. If you couldn't attend the board meeting, are you writing the board or Sue and telling them that? How about the State's Attorney's office? Although it makes for lots of readership, writing it on here makes no difference. The only way writing it on here would make a difference is if there was board members who actually read this MESSAGE BOARD. In all honesty, if you don't have good moderators, and people are able to put fake names on here with nothing happening, but an occasional written reprimand and a few posts taken down, that's all this is. I think most of the board members know, these comments aren't a place to get true community response. For most of these fake aliases on here(not all), it is all a game to see who they can get to, out of desperation.
4GirlsNoBoys November 04, 2011 at 08:28 PM
Great points! You are right. I'll take action. Let's ALL take action that will (or should) make a difference.
Sully November 04, 2011 at 09:44 PM
"For most of these fake aliases on here(not all), it is all a game to see who they can get to, out of desperation." Excuse me Lisa, but what? "who they can get to, out of desperation"? Again, what? What the hell are you trying to say?
LMJ November 04, 2011 at 10:47 PM
The point is, Sully, just don't sit on this board and do nothing but talk. Go put it to action where it means something.
Sully November 04, 2011 at 11:03 PM
And my point Lisa, is for you to not judge people you don't know. You have no idea what I (or anyone else here) do. I prefer not to be like Lennie where everything I do is advertised and spun ad nauseum in the public view. So take your holier than thou attitude somewhere else please.
4GirlsNoBoys November 05, 2011 at 01:48 AM
Okay, everyone. Here is the information you need to take action. Let's get our voices heard where it can make a difference. You can mail, email or call the Lake County State's Attorney's office: Michael J. Waller Lake County State’s Attorney 18 N. County Street Waukegan, IL 60085 847-377-3000 StatesAttorney@lakecountyil.gov
Kathryn M Idlas November 07, 2011 at 10:52 PM
Thank you Stephanie ...but you might need to adjust your expectations to the capacity of the three D46 Tea Party reps on the BOE. They will not cope with the difficult issue of school funding with the only authority that can change it (the state). That is logical, constructive, and possibly effective. They have no intention of constructive political action or service nor the capacity to solve such a sensitive and complicated issue. So, they frighten and bully and throw up roadblocks in the local setting.... and the really good news is that, if they get their way, they may be able to lower our property taxes by $100 or so. But the bad news is our homes will be worth nothing... because no one will want to live in a school district with 40+ students in a classroom. Carbone, Evans & Smigielski (and don't leave out Lennie Jarratt!) are making GL look like a bunch of feuding hillbillies.
Emerson November 08, 2011 at 07:52 PM
So True!. Mrs.Smigelski is showing her true colors. ,She needs to think she has power. She seems to feed on it. Its sick! I so pity the poor people who have to work with her!
LMJ November 08, 2011 at 08:27 PM
Nightcrawler November 08, 2011 at 09:39 PM
Thanks, LMJ. This poster is as all over the place as his/her aliases.


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