Shorewood officials are looking to bury the hatchet and find a way forward.
On June 27 at the regular Village Board meeting, the Board of Trustees sought to retain legal counsel by enlisting the services of Klein, Thorpe & Jenkins to advise the board on what action, if any, to take against Mayor Rick Chapman for his personal use of a Village-owned gas pump.
The matter first received attention at a public meeting following the April 4 election. Officials have since adopted a fuel policy to restrict access of elected officials to Village-owned gas.
“Five weeks ago, we were tasked—myself and Trustee [Steve] Brockman—were tasked with trying to find a couple of attorneys to look into this matter, and I contacted three and I got two proposals back,” Trustee Dan Anderson said. “Trustee Brockman got ahold of two, I believe.”
The prices proposed for the legal counsel advice they seek varies to a point, but not significantly, Anderson said.
“I think the price isn’t really going to matter that much because time matter and the time amount is going to offset the cost, vice versa,” he said. “I don’t think we need to look at it that way.”
Anderson took a moment to introduce the legal counsel he would recommend the board select.
“It was someone with experience that I read on the summary and a little bit of the time frame,” he said. “I would like to go with Klein, Thorpe & Jenkins.”
Klein, Thorpe & Jenkins asked for an estimated $5,400 to perform the work. The proposal stipulates it could take three to four days to wrap up the investigation, two to three days to compile all the facts, and an hourly rate of $225 per hour is suggested.
Anderson said another proposal by Rathbun, Cservenyak & Kozol requested more work hours than Klein, Thorpe & Jenkins.
Both firms acknowledged they were familiar with the situation the Village faces.
The board came to a consensus, and went on to agree with Anderson’s selection.
Anderson said after the meeting, that his reason for selecting Klein, Thorpe & Jenkins stems from the fact that they have experience working with the Will County State’s Attorney.
Trustee Clarence “CC” Debold said after reviewing the matter he tends to think Anderson’s recommendation is on point.
“They seem to have the idea that they can turn this around this the fastest, so we can just move on,” he said.
Several trustees expressed concern for cost when it comes to considering the proposals.
To help speed the investigation along, Brockman started pulling together articles to present to the board’s legal counsel.
Trustee Anthony Luciano wanted the board to recognize that any costs associated with the proposals could be higher depending on the outcome of the situation.
“We have to consider that also,” he said.
Trustee Barbara “Cookie” Kirkland went on to agree, and stressed the proposals are not fixed in terms of price.
“Both proposals kind of left it open,” she said.
Brockman recognizes the board needs to resolve the matter and wants officials to move accordingly, though his thoughts about the board’s course of action has caused him to waver back and forth.
“I hate to spend the money, but I think we need to spend the money and get some resolution to all of this and move one,” he said.
In a 6-0 vote, the board agreed to retain Klein, Thorpe & Jenkins to lead the investigation into the mayor’s personal use of a Village-owned gas pump.