News - McHenry County

Three trustee appointments set for Hebron village board meeting Monday

Five of six trustees appointed since Robert Shelton became village president

Hebron President Robert Shelton, center, appointed a new village treasurer during Monday's meeting, Aug. 22, 2022, citing past disagreements with now-former treasurer Susan Fotland.

Since the August village board meeting during which Hebron’s village treasurer was removed and replaced, three Hebron village board members have resigned.

In the following days, a planning and zoning commissioner and a police officer also resigned.

At Monday night’s 6 p.m. meeting, Hebron’s board agenda includes naming three people whom Village President Robert Shelton has picked to replace those trustees.

“I am sorry that they felt they need to resign or that they decided to resign,” Shelton said this week of the resignations.

“We certainly have had our differences in regard to budgets and things of that nature, but that is a choice … that was their decision,” Shelton said.

If the three nominations are accepted by the remaining trustees, Shelton will have selected five of the six trustees.

One seat was left open when no candidate came forward for the slot before the April 2021 elections and a second was appointed after one recently-elected trustee resigned, Shelton said.

Mark Shepherd ran for and was elected for his seat.

The recent trustee resignations came from Patricia Peterson on Aug. 25, and James Lange and Sandra Drevalas on Aug. 29.

Joann Lange resigned from the planning and zoning board on Aug. 29.

Officer Garrett Schmoeller resigned on Aug. 30, having taken a position with the Round Lake Heights police department.

In his resignation letter to Chief of Police Richard Donlea, Schmoeller said that while he was taking a position with another department, he “cannot, in good conscience, say that my reasons for leaving are solely because of a job opportunity elsewhere.”

The village police department now has five officers, including Donlea.

When Shelton won the village president seat in 2021, he ran on a platform to cut the police department budget and reallocate the funds elsewhere, including street maintenance. Those cuts were made in April.

Previously, Donlea said, the department had 10 part-time officers to cover patrol hours when full-time officers could not.

In June, Shelton was arrested and charged with DUI and reckless driving by one of Hebron’s officers. At a meeting the following week, a plan to cut the remaining and unfilled lieutenant spot was nixed after trustees learned the position was included in the police union contract.

In the August meeting replacing the treasurer, Shelton’s vote broke 3-3 ties.

The trustee resignation letters refer to either Shelton’s leadership or the police cuts.

“Your lack of proper leadership and fiscal responsibility has made it difficult for me … to continue to properly represent the community,” James Lange’s letter said.

“The Board has decided to deprioritize the safety and security of the children, families and travelers who make Hebron their home and who journey through our village,” Patricia Peterson’s letter said.

“I can not continue to be part of a Board of Trustees whose majority does not appear to value the importance of providing and ensuring a safe place to live for all [residents] of this Village,” Sandra Drevalas wrote.

Drevalas told the Northwest Herald this week that by resigning, she and the other departing trustees could be more vocal in their disagreements with Shelton when not sitting on the dais with him.

“When you are on the board, you have to be a little careful,” Drevalas said. “As a resident with your three minutes of comments, you can be a little more blunt. We thought we could continue to do something in a different capacity as a concerned citizen.”

An announcement seeking applications to fill the vacancies was posted Sept. 8 on Hebron’s Facebook page, Shelton said. “I had no responses at all coming directly from that.”

Five or six people eventually were identified and he interviewed each before placing the three names on the agenda: Shirlee Correll, Candace Knaack and Dawn Milarski. If approved, the three would be sworn in during the meeting.

A post will soon go on the Facebook page and the village website to fill the planing and zoning committee slot, Shelton said.

All three new trustees, in addition to those appointed after the April 2021 elections, would need to run in the April municipal elections to retain the seats.