CAMPTON HILLS – Campton Hills Village Administrator Jennifer Johnsen on Friday was placed on paid administrative leave, Village Attorney Bill Braithwaite confirmed on Monday.
The leave became effective Friday afternoon and was the decision of Campton Hills Village President Patsy Smith, Braithwaite said. Smith on Monday referred questions about Johnsen to Braithwaite.
“I’m not going to make any comment as to the reason for the administrative leave,” Braithwaite said in a phone interview Monday.
Johnsen did not return a phone message by Monday afternoon seeking comment on her leave.
The village expects to have an independent party conduct an investigation as quickly as possible, Braithwaite said. He said Smith would have to comment on who would perform Johnsen’s duties while she is on leave.
Braithwaite said Johnsen’s administrative leave was communicated to the trustees individually. Village Trustee Al Lenkaitis Jr. said early Monday afternoon that he did not receive a memorandum about the administrative leave that some of the other trustees had received.
Braithwaite said any trustees that did not get “a communication” about Johnsen should contact either his office or Smith’s office.
Trustees Lenkaitis and Harry Blecker said there appears to be no basis for Johnsen’s being placed on leave.
“Jennifer Johnsen has done an outstanding job for the village,” Blecker said in a phone interview Monday.
Trustee Sue George on Monday also complimented Johnsen on her work for the village.
Johnsen has worked for the village since late January, Braithwaite said.
Trustees discuss allegation of Open Meetings Act violation
Campton Hills Village Trustees Harry Blecker and Sue George, in response to a story published in the Kane County Chronicle on Nov. 18, said they did not violate the Open Meetings Act.
Village President Patsy Smith had initially included Blecker and George’s names in regards to a request for review to the Office of the Illinois Attorney General’s public access counselor.
Smith on Nov. 13 emailed the request for review to the public access counselor, followed by a few more emails in the days afterward to clarify who exactly – at a minimum – she was accusing of an Open Meetings Act violation. Initially, Smith was not sure of who all was involved, she wrote in an email.
“Honestly I don’t know who the ‘they’ are, but as you can see from [an] email sent on Nov. 16, I clarified that, at a minimum, the ‘we’ was the committee formed on Aug. 12, 2014, that violated the Open Meeting Act,” Smith wrote. “The committee members consisted of Trustees [Laura] Andersen and [Al] Lenkaitis Jr. and Administrator [Jennifer] Johnsen. I have not yet done an investigation to determine if other trustees violated the Open Meeting Act.”
Andersen and Lenkaitis have denied the accusation. Johnsen said last week that she was not at liberty to discuss the matter.
“This misinformation that was acted upon by President Patsy Smith is indicative of the internal strife the majority of the trustees are working to improve,” George wrote in an email on Monday.
-– Staff Writer Charles Menchaca