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Buffalo Grove’s Lisa Stone removed from office

Lisa Stone. Chris Walker/Chicago Tribune

Lisa Stone. Chris Walker/Chicago Tribune

Only a year and a half after they elected her to the Buffalo Grove Village Board, controversial Trustee Lisa Stone has been removed from office in a historic recall vote. (For more referenda results, go to the Chicago Tribune Election Center.)

About 70 percent of local residents who cast ballots Tuesday voted in favor removing Stone from office more than two years before her term was to end.

“I’m disappointed, but I know I did my best. I always put the health and safety of residents first. I had the courage to stand up for what is right and face the consequences,” Stone said.

“But the citizens have spoken, so I accept the decision. Those who supported me throughout the last 18 months, thank you. It means the world to me,” she said.

Village President Elliott Hartstein said the will of the citizens is clear from the recall vote outcome.

“The community has spoken resoundingly that they want to end the distraction of the last 18 months and get back to the business of running the village,” said Hartstein who, like most of the rest of the board, has butted heads with Stone.

Hartstein said he plans to make an interim appointment to fill Stone’s seat until the next village election in April 2011, when a new trustee will be elected to fill the remaining two years of Stone’s original term.

Buffalo Grove resident David Wells, who initiated the recall effort, said he’d never been involved in politics before but felt that Stone’s behavior as trustee was erratic and created a number of problems for the village.

“I think that the village board was in gridlock with her on board,” Wells said. “We had hoped early on that she would change her ways.”

When that didn’t happen, Wells said he organized the recall campaign, with help from dozens of other residents who gathered petition signatures and aided in the campaign.

That effort began within months of Stone’s election in spring 2009, as critics charged her with disruptive behavior that included suggestions that other elected officials and village staff had engaged in wrongdoing.

As recently as Monday night, Stone accused Hartstein during the village board meeting of lying about matters involving e-mails on the status of the former Land and Lakes landfill. The verbal sparring escalated with Hartstein telling Stone to “cease and desist” and then twice turning off her microphone, a symbolic measure that didn’t keep her from being heard in the small chamber.

Stone chalked that up to what she said were “a number of regulations” implemented by the board over the past year “to try to control my speaking. … These are public meetings and I’m speaking about issues that are important.”

Stone has also been criticized for bypassing village staff and approaching outside agencies with questions on Land and Lakes. It is one of several issues on which Stone has been critical of her fellow elected officials. Stone characterizes her efforts on the matter as looking out for the concerns of Buffalo Grove residents.

“You don’t recall someone who’s fighting for health and safety,” she said.

Apparently, the voters of Buffalo Grove didn’t agree.

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