Divided District 86 Board elects new officers

In a series of 4-3 votes, the Hinsdale High School District 86 Board elected a new president, vice president and secretary at its April 14 meeting.

Eric Held will serve as president, Kathleen Hirsman as vice president and Terri Walker as secretary. All received support from Held, Hirsman, Walker and Cynthia Hanson.

Jeff Waters nominated Peggy James for all three offices. She received three votes for each office from herself, Waters and Debbie Levinthal.

Levinthal spoke up after the first two votes were complete and nominations had been offered for secretary.

“This is very clear where this is going,” she said, citing conversations about trust and unification of the board that took place at the last meeting. “It is very clear that there is a block that is blocking any sort of unification of this board or trust.

“Extremely predictably unpredictable, but I’m just going to say, shameful, I mean, really, really shameful,” she added.

Hanson said she has tried to be a positive force on the board, working to foster collaboration.

“I look to leaders who can unify this board, not at the expense of alienating our administration,” she said.

Waters, who described James as the best overall candidate when he nominated her for president, said the board owed it to the community to break up the perception of a voting block. He called for a 7-0 vote for James for secretary, a role she has served in for the past year.

“I think we owe that to Peggy relative to the service provided,” he said.

Two district residents called for a change in board leadership during the public comment session prior to the vote.

“Let’s appoint a president who can unify a divided board,” Creighton Meland said.

Yvonne Mayer blasted the elections during public comments at the end of the meeting.

“I’m actually glad the three of you were elected. Enjoy your last year on the board,” she said to Held, Hirsman and Hanson. “We all challenge you to run because we want to crush you at the polls, just like we crushed the last set of incumbents that aren’t sitting at the table with you.”

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Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean