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SD 135 board chief quits; speedy process to fill vacancy questioned

John Carmody SD 135. | Supplied photo

John Carmody, SD 135. | Supplied photo

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Updated: May 29, 2013 7:41AM



With Orland School District 135 Board President John Carmody serving notice he’s resigned from the board, three school board members who lost in this month’s election have called a special meeting to select his replacement.

That prompted one member of the board on Friday to call into question the process for filling the vacancy, saying the full board should have an opportunity to interview candidates for the position.

Carmody, who has been on the board since 2007 and whose current term would have expired in 2015, submitted his resignation Thursday, effective that day, essentially saying he can’t remain on the board because he no longer lives in the district.

The district Friday sent notice of a special meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, called by three current board members who lost in this month’s election — Tom Cunningham, Ann Gentile and Tina Zekich. The agenda calls for selecting a replacement to fill the vacancy and also to appoint a special board counsel.

The district has also scheduled a special meeting for May 6 to swear in new school board members Laura Berry, Michael Carroll, Sandra Kulak and Michael Maratea. Also at that meeting, the board will vote to elect officers, including president.

In a letter Friday that he said was sent to other board members, board member Joe La Margo said that bypassing a more thorough interview process to pick a new board member is “bad decision-making and process” as well as “unethical.”

“Appointing someone to fill a vacant board seat with no interview process, no community input and no opportunity to invite interested candidates to come forward is careless, appears to be based purely on the political concerns of the outgoing board members and ignores the interests of the voters of the school district,” La Margo, who is Orland Park’s deputy village clerk, said in the letter.

Carmody, 45, indicated last year that he planned to challenge Orland Park Mayor Dan McLaughlin in this month’s municipal election, but never filed paperwork to seek the mayor’s job.



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