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D-86 meeting time contested, administrator lashes out at resident

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014 11:27 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 9:49 p.m. CDT

HINSDALE – One of the goals for "Friends of District 86" back in the April elections for school board was to support an active committee structure.

On paper, the idea was to benefit the Hinsdale High School District 86 school board and the community with collaboration, but differing staff schedules have led to odd times for meetings.

For instance, the latest finance committee meeting that took place Jan. 8.

"It took place at 6:30 a.m. when the busy taxpayer is generally off to work or getting the kids off to school," said Hinsdale resident Linda Burke in an email. "Many meetings are held with only 48 hours notice, all on odd days of the week and time of day. An efficient board that really cared about transparency would conduct all or almost all of their business at the regularly scheduled board meetings."

School board Vice President Ed Corcoran said he is indifferent to when the committee meetings are and that, in the past, they have been held at all times of the day.

"Staff prefers to have [meetings] early in the morning, some board members would like to have it done before work and in addition some members of the community would like to get it up and done in the morning," Corcoran said.

Corcoran said he's chaired meetings at all different times of the day and didn't see a perfect solution when it comes to pleasing all members of staff and the community.

"The evening meetings are not the preference of staff," Corcoran said. "The staff would rather have morning or daytime meetings. Some members of the community have a strong preference for p.m. meetings."

District administrator lashes out

As for the finance committee meeting itself, one of the items on the agenda was once again the discussion of exclusive contracts with Coke or Pepsi to sell products in the high school vending machines – something Darien resident Roger Kempa has voiced his support of at several meetings.

Interim Business Manager Gary Yeggy said he contacted Pepsi and Coke, but neither responded and supposed it was because a majority of drinks are sold through the school lunch program and not vending machines.

Kempa said he wanted the district to maximize its revenue and bring down cost, which prompted Yeggy to lash out at Kempa, use a profanity and leave the room.

"The guy went berserk there at the end," Kempa said.

Kempa said he didn't hear what Yeggy said to him, but he did receive an apology email from him later that day reading:

“Mr. Kempa, please accept my apology for my unprofessional and totally improper outburst this morning, it was inexcusable. I am troubled more than you will ever know by this display of emotion. I truly enjoy you and your contribution to the district. Your observations are typically pertinent and a value. Again, I am sincerely sorry for the manner I addressed you and the harshness of my response.”

As a self-described forgiving person, Kempa said the display was "no big deal" to him.

"I've respected Roger for a long time and he caught me at a bad moment personally and professionally," Yeggy said. "I was way out of line and I told him that."

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