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Local News

Locals upset with DuPage Township board

Residents seek answers on popular employee’s dismissal or sexual harassment claim against unnamed trustee

Some DuPage Township residents were not happy after what was supposed to be a meeting of the board of trustees Tuesday night in Bolingbrook.

Besides the usual business of paying bills, there were two agenda items in particular that some wanted to learn more about. Both were listed under the executive session section of the night’s agenda, but neither was formally addressed because of three trustees not showing up.

Alyssia Benford, who also is running for state representative as a Republican in the November election, already told her colleagues she would not be in attendance because she was on vacation. Trustee Ken Burgess said that Maripat Oliver sent an email earlier Tuesday saying she also would not be in attendance. Trustee Dennis Raga also was a no-show.

Without at least three trustees plus the township supervisor, William M. Mayer, present, the board does not have a quorum, and therefore cannot meet. Mayer said trustees can miss up to four consecutive meetings.

“Basically, I don’t have answers,” Mayer said. “There’s not a lot I can do. With that being said, there’s no way to force anyone to go to a meeting.”

A few of those in attendance Tuesday night were there to give their thoughts on the recent dismissal of Linda Youngs, the longtime assistant to Mayer. Diane Itell and Lenora Hansen said they were good friends of Youngs and were not happy when she was fired. Youngs helped run the day-to-day operations of the township, which involved running programs for children and seniors.

“She does wonderful things for the township,” Itell said. “I was shocked. I was totally shocked.”

Youngs is suing Benford, Oliver and Raga for allegedly violating the Illinois Open Meetings Act at a March 27 board meeting. Youngs is alleging they took action in secret before the scheduled meeting to vote to fire her.

The lawsuit stated that after an executive session and the reopening of the meeting to the public, two Bolingbrook police officers and Deputy Police Chief Mike Rompa entered the DuPage Township offices. They “announced they were requested to be there that evening and had been waiting in the parking lot for some unknown period of time and requested [the] plaintiff turn her office key over to them,” according to the lawsuit.

The other item on the agenda that upset Itell and Hansen was over “threatened litigation regarding [a] sexual harassment charge made against a trustee with possible board action.”

Neither Mayer nor Burgess could say on the record who that trustee was.

“They’re being secretive about stuff,” Hansen said. “They should have everything out in the open.”

According to a document on the
DuPage Township website, trustees were to earn $5,000 a year from May 2013 until May 2017. The document did not have updated salary information for township officials.

“I do apologize for people coming out today and not getting the people’s work done,” Mayer said.

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