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Proviso Probe

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Fields gets paid undisclosed amount to resign and take blame

At the Monday, August 27, special meeting of the board the Proviso Township High Schools (District 209) board of education approved the resignation of stan fields as superintendent. The resignation is part of an agreement with the board of education. The district will pay Fields an undisclosed amount. Fields took responsibility for losing the confidence of the board of education by not communicating with board members.

Bill Kirchner and Barbara Cole spoke in favor of keeping Fields.

I,Carl Nyberg, spoke against paying Fields money for resigning.

The board deliberated in closed session for slightly over an hour.

According to board member Theresa Kelly, board member Dan Adams voted by phone during the closed session. As I understand the Open Meetings Act it is contrary to Illinois law to take votes in closed session.

In open session five board members voted to accept the resignation package negotiated with Fields. Kelly voted “present” and Adams was not present.

Kelly spoke against paying Fields because of the ongoing investigations of the district and allegations from the Stark King report. In closed session interim superintendent Robert Libka assured Kelly that he and the lawyers from Giglio & Del Galdo would investigate the allegations. Kelly said she was sending the Stark King report to the Regional Superintendent of Education, Charles Flowers, and the Cook County State's Attorney. This triggered an angry reaction by Welch and Michael A. DeBartolo. Libka also expressed unhappiness with Kelly's decision.

See Proviso Herald (Chuck Fieldman) (who was present at the meeting) and Forest Park Review (Josh Adams) (who was covering a Village of Forest Park meeting) for other coverage, including details of Fields statement.

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  • More info about the Illinois Open Meetings Act and voting in closed session:

    The Illinois Attorney General publishes a Guide to the Open Meetings Act that goes into more detail about practical application of the Act. The Guide can be found at this link:


    This is from page 21:

    Discussion in a closed meeting under an exception to the Act must be limited in scope to
    the cited exception authorizing the closed meeting. 5 ILCS 120/2, 2a; 1969 Ill. Att'y Gen. Op.
    131. The taking of final action at any closed meeting is prohibited. 5 ILCS 120/2(e). A public
    body must disclose to the public the substance of any final action which is being taken, whether
    that substance has been discussed in an open or a closed meeting. 5 ILCS 120/2(e). Final action
    taken at a closed meeting may be voided by a court. 5 ILCS 120/3. There can be no secret
    ballots at public meetings. WSDR, Inc. v. Ogle County, 100 Ill. App. 3d 1008 (Second Dist.
    1981); 1975 Ill. Att'y Gen. Op. 136.

    My interpretation is that while they may be able to poll Board members in closed session, they can't take any real votes resulting in official action in closed session.

    I would be curious to know if Adams participated in the open session by phone as well or just the closed session discussion. I'm not sure if it would matter from a legal point of view, but I'm still curious.

    The Attorney General established a Public Access Counselor (PAC) to "take an active role in ensuring that public bodies conduct their business openly and that members of the public have access to the governmental information to which they are entitled."

    I have found the PAC office to be very helpful in answering specific questions about the Open Meetings and Freedom of Information Acts.

    Public Access Counselor Terry Mutchler can be reached at 217-524-1503, or by writing to her at the Attorney General’s Springfield office at 500 S. Second Street, Springfield, IL 62705. She can also be reached by fax at 217-785-2551.

    By Anonymous Judy Brown-Marino, at 9:38 AM, August 31, 2007  



    Greetings Fellow Pirates!
    A couple of months ago, we sent you a flyer announcing preliminary plans to take a cruise for our 25-year reunion. We are planning a 4-night cruise to the Bahamas on July 31 to Aug 4, 2008, and need to share some important information with you. The Cruise itinerary and prices are as follows:

    Carnival Celebration, July 31, 2008 to Aug 3, 2008, Departing from Jacksonville, FL
    Date Port Arrive Depart
    July 31 (Thu.) Jacksonville, FL 4:00 pm
    Aug 1 (Fri.) Freeport (Port Lucaya), Bahamas Noon 7:00 pm
    Aug 2 (Sat.) Nassau, Bahamas 8:00 am 10:00 pm
    Aug 3 (Sun.) At Sea
    Aug 4 (Mon.) Jacksonville, FL 7:00 am

    Cabin type 1-2 people per cabin 3-4 people per cabin
    4A Interior $389.08 per person $299.08 per person
    6A Ocean View $439.08 per person $319.08 per person
    *Costs for travel to Jacksonville, Florida are not included as alumni will be traveling from various locations.

    Cruise insurance is available, but not mandatory. The Committee is planning to book the cruise on September 6, 2007. Once we book, you will have until October 6 to reserve your space in order to lock in the above prices. You can pay in full, but there is a payment schedule for your convenience:

    Amount per Person
    Payment 1-2 per cabin 3-4 per cabin Date Due
    Initial Deposit Minimum of $25 per person $150.00 per person Due by October 6, 2007
    Second Deposit $150 minus the initial deposit per person None April 2, 2008
    Final Payment Remaining balance for room Remaining balance for room. June 2, 2008

    You can still book after October 6th, but cabin prices and availability are subject to change after that date, so make sure to reserve your cabin as soon as possible!!

    You can make your reservation by calling Cindy Leisner at (800) 973-2605 on Monday thru Friday from 11 am to 7 pm, or on Saturday between 11 am and 3 pm. You can also reach her by email at Cindy.Leisner@AmericasVacationCenter.com. You can also ask Cindy about travel options to Florida, and local hotels if you plan to arrive early. Don’t forget that you will need a passport for this cruise, which can take up to 10 weeks to obtain. For passport information, check online at www.travel.state.gov or call 1-877-4USA-PPT. You can also check with your local Post Office.

    For more information, please visit the Proviso East 25-Year Reunion Web Page at http//ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/provisoeast83. We will have updates, answers to frequently asked questions, and you can also post questions. Enter your e-mail address at the site so that we can keep you up-to-date on the trip! If you don’t have email, but still have internet access, you can set up a free Yahoo! e-mail account. Make sure to spread the word among classmates, since we may not have updated mailing addresses for everyone.

    Let’s get ready to set sail!!

    By Anonymous PROVISO EAST ALUMNI COMMITTEE, at 1:35 PM, September 03, 2007  

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