Tag: Courtney Greve

Broadview School Board Members Billed for Investigation — of Themselves

LindopThursday, June 25, 2015 || Originally Published: School Board Focus West || By Jean Lotus 

After Lindop School District 92 write-in coup, lawyers submit bills for residency, criminal record checks

The new board president of Broadview’s Lindop School District 92 was shocked to receive a $1,426 bill from a lawyer investigating herself and another board member.

A bill for 12 hours of surveillance of Board President Princess Dempsey (pictured below left) to see if she lived in the district and an investigation into an alleged felony charge for a newly elected board member Anissa Cubie were submitted for payment by the district’s lawyers at the June 16 board meeting.

Both investigations were found to be unfounded, documents show.

Princess DempseyDempsey alleged at the meeting that outgoing nine-year President Carla Joiner-Herrod (pictured below) was behind the investigations along with Superintendent Dr. J. Kamala Buckner – who abruptly quit.

“I live in Broadview, period. That’s where I live. The investigation found that,” Dempsey said. “It was a waste of the district’s dollars to pay for me to be followed by investigators.” She suggested the board send the bills to Joiner-Herrod to pay for personally.

Dempsey led an overthrow slate of write-in candidates in the uncontested board elections April 7. Dempsey, Anisssa Cubie and Shyrl Griffin were elected with a total of 37 write-in votes. Griffin is the mother of new Vice President Tamara Whitfield.

According to a memo from the district’s lawyers posted on the D92 website, on April 28 – three weeks after the election, but before new board members were sworn in – representatives of the Lindop Teachers Association requested Buckner investigate the residency of Dempsey and investigate rumors Cubie had been convicted of a felony.

“Additional investigation was conducted under authority of the board president,” wrote Franczek Radelet attorney Dana Fattore Crumley. Crumley did not return emails or phone calls for comment.

The bill also showed a half-hour of research billed at $76.50 April 9 for “review for write in candidates to the board.”

Cubie, who works for the Broadview Park District and is licensed to work with children through DCFS, said the accusation that she was a convicted felon was, “ a big pill to swallow.”JoinerHerrod-3

“I’m a mandated reporter for the state and I’m fingerprinted every year. My-ten-year old daughter attends school in the district,” Cubie said. “I could have lost my job.”

Documents show the district’s residency investigator billed for an online search of Dempsey and 12.4 hours of surveillance. The law firm enclosed correspondence with the State’s Attorney’s office confirming no felony conviction existed for Cubie.

LTA Co-President Diane Schoenheider said in an email the union had no comment.

“I had no idea I was being followed,” Dempsey said. “I have a busy life and I run a business. I didn’t even notice.”

In a statement, outgoing nine-year Board President Joiner-Herrod denied she authorized an investigation of her fellow board members.

“The allegations concerning this situation are misguided and false – including the authorization of any alleged investigation,” she wrote (See statement here).

“This is the first time in my 9 years of serving on the Lindop Board School Board that our district has been faced with such chaos.  The level of turmoil that has occurred over the past 45 days has been unprecedented,” she wrote.

“[Dempsey] has chosen to publicly humiliate the district that she serves and herself by fueling division between board members, LTA and district administration,” she added.

Dempsey said the new board majority got rid of the old guard with close ties to Broadview Mayor Sherwin Jones. Board member Tanya Taylor is married to Broadview Trustee Lincoln Taylor.

In the April 7 election, Jones supported unsuccessful referenda for home rule and dissolving the Broadview Park District. He also supported failed candidates for library trustees.

Wins by write-in candidates in suburban Cook County elections are not uncommon, said Cook County Clerk Election Spokesperson Courtney Greve. In the April 7 election many write-in candidates won uncontested positions including races in 17 school districts and multiple library and park district boards.

Dempsey said the board has already found a new superintendent.

“We want to keep this district moving forward and make sure everyone knows we are watching district dollars,” she said. VFP

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Suburban School Candidates Face Longer Trip to Get on Ballot — Tribune Reports

Election Day LawnsCampaign signs stuck into yards outside of Irving Elementary in Maywood during a local election last year. VFP file photo.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014 || Originally Published: November 21, 2014 by Chicago Tribune || Sally Ho || Updated: 1:47 PM

Hundreds of school board candidates in suburban Cook County may have to schlep into Chicago to claim a spot on the ballot for the April election, a change prompted by state law that some fear will discourage suburbanites from seeking elective office.

“All of us have to go down there. We’ll be in a line from the Loop to Lake Michigan,” said Bill Dussling, school board president of Arlington Heights-based Township High School District 214, who announced he will run for office again. “It’s just ridiculous.”

A new state law requires all school board candidates to file to their respective county commissions. Previously, those looking to serve their local community would file directly to the school district headquarters.

The April 7, 2015, consolidated election marks the first time that the Cook County clerk’s office will handle and oversee candidate petitions and objections for the roughly 140 suburban school districts in its jurisdiction. About 700 candidates are expected to turn in their petitions during the Dec. 15-22 filing period, said Courtney Greve, a county clerk’s spokeswoman.

Greve said the office has not received complaints from would-be candidates, but officials are now organizing suburban outposts for the first day of filing. The locations haven’t been finalized.

The suburban spots will lessen the burden of the change to downtown, as most candidates file on the first day anyway, Greve said.

Still, Dussling thinks the change will discourage candidates from putting in the effort to collect the paperwork needed to run for office, noting that those suburban locations are not yet established.

“What it means is that anybody who doesn’t file on the first day is probably going to have to go downtown,” he said. “If you’re trying to get people interested in running for positions — gosh, this doesn’t seem like the way to do it.”

The county said it is “very comfortable” handling the school board candidate filings because it already does so for countywide offices, including the Cook County Board of Commissioners and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago.

“It’s a process we do anyway, but it’s a process we typically do for the even-year elections. Now we’re doing it for the odd-year elections,” Greve said.

Greve also said that having the county handle the local election filings will help smooth out the objections process. Instead of each district cobbling together an electoral board when candidates or petitions are challenged, all cases will be heard by county officials who will be dedicated election law experts.

“I think it’s really a move to make it, hopefully, more efficient and more uniform in how the cases are handled and, hopefully, a speedier process so that the ballot can be resolved in a timely fashion,” Greve said.

Still, not everyone is happy with the new law mandating the change. The Illinois Association of School Boards, which advises hundreds of schools on policy changes, said it lobbied against the law because it takes away the role and expertise of the local school districts.

“(The school districts) were really well-prepared to handle the elections. Now we’re not so sure how (the county is) prepared,” said Jim Russell, associate executive director of the association.

The new law only changes things for school boards. It does not affect the elected boards of other local offices, such as townships, park districts, library districts, fire protection districts, village boards or city councils. Those candidates will continue to file directly to the government agency itself. VFP