Tonight will mark the first time since a Dist. 218 board member was arrested for his second drunken driving charge that he’ll face the public in an open meeting.
The agenda for tonight's meeting of the Community High School District 218 school board makes no mention of discussion on former Robbins Police Chief Johnny Holmes, one of the district's longest-serving board members. Holmes retired from his top cop job last week, just days after getting his second drunken driving arrest in three years.
Holmes is likely to come up for talk tonight, though. Some members of the public already are calling for his resignation from the school board. Time for public comment is usually reserved early in school board meetings, as is time for board member responses.
“There’s probably going to be some people who are upset,” D218 board vice president Marco Corsi said.
While Holmes did not respond to Patch's calls or emails, Corsi has spoken with the former police chief since his arrest on Dec. 22. Corsi said he hadn't addressed this incident with Holmes, other than to mention that he was “a little disappointed this happened” and to “thank God nobody go hurt.”
Corsi expressed doubts that the board will discuss Holmes’ situation publicly tonight.
“We’re not going to condone or support or criticize,” Corsi said. “This is his fate. He has to live through this.”
There’s also strong doubt that the board could take any action against Holmes for the alleged crime, even if it wanted to.
Both Corsi and D218 Superintendent John Byrne said nothing exists within powers of the school district or board to sanction or remove an elected official accused of a crime.
Byrne indicated last week, however, that regional superintendents in Illinois do have the power to remove a board member convicted of a crime. Unlike with others across the state, school districts in Cook County don't have regional superintendents. Instead, Cook County is served by three intermediate service centers.
Byrne said he hadn’t yet consulted with Vanessa Kinder, executive director of the South Cook Intermediate Service Center, and couldn’t yet comment on any steps that office could take.
“Of course, Johnny could resign,” Byrne said.
Dist. 218’s school board meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday (Jan. 14) at the Administrative Academy Center, 10701 S. Kilpatrick Ave., in Oak Lawn. The district includes H. L. Richards High School in Oak Lawn, and Alan B. Shepard High School in Palos Heights.
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