The verbal tug-of-war between Buffalo Grove Village President Elliott Hartstein and Trustee Lisa Stone reached a new level at this week's board meeting.
The tension began early in the meeting and culminated in Hartstein's telling Stone to "shut up." At one point, Hartstein threatened to have her expelled from the meeting. The struggle continued all the way up to executive session, when Stone continued reading from a report on the Land and Lakes landfill by Shaw Environmental even after the board voted to adjourn to the closed meeting.
Early in the meeting, there was some confusion revolving around Stone's attempt to include in the minutes of the June 21 meeting what she considered a more accurate representation of what was discussed when the board voted to release minutes of a closed session from 2005 to discuss of the Land and Lakes Landfill and a study of the landfill by Shaw Environmental Inc.
Stone tried to make an amendment to the regular meeting minutes. She was interrupted by Hartstein, who, apparently thinking she was amending the minutes of a closed session, said, "We are on the regular meeting minutes."
As has been her custom, Stone, who has felt the minutes - "the history of our government" - have been consistently inaccurate, voted no.
But when the board moved along to the minutes of the special meeting and Stone began her amendment, Hartstein said, "Excuse me, you're referring to the regular minutes. We have already approved those."
To which she responded, "Oh, President Hartstein, so you mean you just tricked me on that one?"
He denied having done so and allowed her to move to amend the regular meeting minutes. Or at least try to, since, after a lengthy preamble in which she referenced her history with Hartstein, Trustee Jeffrey Braiman's remarks during the special meeting and Village Clerk Janet Sirabian's omission in the minutes of the loss of the tape of the 2005 executive session, Hartstein declared her out of order, saying, "If you cannot conduct yourself properly, I would ask that you voluntarily leave the meeting."
This was greeted with applause from members of the audience, largely composed of those who belong to the effort to recall Stone in the November election.
When Stone persisted, he said he would ask the board to consider a motion to expel her from the meeting.
Things quieted down after that, until the board moved to new business. At that point, Stone, who along with other board members under new village board rules gets five minutes to speak, made a lengthy speech about her concern over results of a 2005 preliminary study by Shaw Environmental Inc. of the Land and Lakes landfill, which the village annexed with a view to redevelopment in 2008.
Stone insisted the Shaw report should be uploaded to the village's website, saying the report raises significant concerns.
As Stone continued to speak, Hartstein said, "As a trustee you have 22 seconds."
She responded, "President Hartstein, at some point you're going to have to deal with this."
"I'm dealing with it right now, and you have 20 seconds," he replied.
She pressed Hartstein and the trustees on their inability to remember the findings of the Shaw study.
"It had some major findings and you don't remember," she said, adding later, "Tell the community what you're going to do about these findings, because they are serious findings."
Trustee DeAnn Glover noted that the board had voted on a time limit for the discussion of new business, rules she said should be followed.
Stone responded, "Trustee Glover how dare you? Seriously, how dare you? This is about the safety and health of our community."
A dispute about the date of the Shaw report with Trustee Jeffrey Braiman ensued. Hartstein lost his temper when Stone interrupted Braiman.
"Trustee Stone, I'm sick and tired of you disrupting our meetings," Hartstein told her. "He has the floor; I ask you to shut up."
"How dare you?" Stone replied.
"I must be more firm with you, because you don't understand what I say when I say cease and desist," Hartstein said.
Braiman said he did not remember seeing or discussing the Shaw report. Adding that the state and federal environmental protection agencies have found no problem, Braiman told Stone, "To say that we don't care about the health of the community is just absolutely ridiculous."
Stone said she sent the report to an attorney at the Environmental Law and Policy Center in Chicago.
Hartstein said Stone was making "much ado about nothing."
Stone said, however, she was concerned about missing groundwater test data. At that point, she referenced an e-mail about landfill odor complaints from former village Manager William Brimm to Land and Lakes that she says was altered. The original e-mail references the odor concern of a trustee. What was later forwarded to Stone mentions not only a trustee but also Lake County Board Member David Stolman as being concerned.
Hartstein interrupted Stone, saying, "I want to clear this up once and for all," referring to Stone's innuendos. He said the original e-mail still exists. "It has never been altered."
As for the differences between what was sent to Land and Lakes and what was subsequently forwarded to Stone, Hartstein said. "I don't know and to this day we do not know exactly how it was changed."
But, he said, the e-mail didn't distort. "As a matter of fact, it corrected the record. It's much ado, once again, about nothing."
Stone said, "I appreciate you finally addressing it." She said she agreed it wasn't of great consequence, except that it tipped her off "that something was deceptive" about village dealings with the landfill.
She then said she forgave Hartstein that "you don't understand e-mails," to which Hartstein replied, "Of course, I couldn't be as smart as you are."