The next River Forest village board meeting consent agenda should be a doozey.

The village met for over three hours Monday night in what was effectively a Committee of the Whole session due to tardy public notice of the meeting. As such, the board could take no action on agenda items.

Village Administrator Steve Gutierrez apologized for the mistake saying, “We inadvertently didn’t post the meeting notice.” Gutierrez said he realized Sunday the meeting had not been posted on the board inside the main entrance to the village hall as required. Under advice from Interim Village Attorney Lance Malina, the board agreed to only get consensus on agenda items, which will then be voted en masse on March 24.

Trustees agreed to hold the meeting for purposes of discussion and consensus, though two, Steve Hoke and Steve Dudek, questioned why board members weren’t notified of the development until after the meeting started.

“My concern is why are trustees learning about this at 7:35 when [staff] knew yesterday?” said Hoke.

Dudek pointed out that in past instances Gutierrez has polled trustees both by phone and via e-mail on relatively short notice.

The meeting once again featured pointed and personal comments between several trustees, and a testy exchange between Village President Frank Paris and audience member Ed Hanrahan, who again demanded to be told details of the village’s several currently outstanding bond issues.

The board managed to reach consensus on several agenda items, including the sale of village-owned property previously leased to a cell tower company, the awarding of a sewer-relining contract, and minor changes to ordinances related to impound fees for stray cats and dogs It also gave the green light to staff to work with a collection agency on collecting overdue parking fines.

One agenda item that wasn’t discussed at all in public was the recent report by the village board’s police committee. Shortly after 10 p.m. Paris asked that an executive session at the end of the agenda be moved forward ahead of “Consideration of Police Committee Report and Recommendations.”

Hoke said he didn’t know why the item was dropped. “I suspect it was because of certain developments that have transpired in the past week,” he said.

Wednesday Journal received a copy of a letter last week alleging improper and unprofessional behavior by a River Forest officer. Possibly referring to that letter, which was addressed to village official, Hoke said, “Certain allegations have been made that need to be investigated before we talk about them publicly.”

Paris said Tuesday that he decided to forego discussion due to the late hour, saying, “It’s far too important an issue to address at 10 p.m.” He added that he received a copy of the anonymous letter just before the board meeting began.

Asked if he expected the police committee report to be discussed at the March 24 board meeting, Paris said, “possibly. I don’t know.”

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