Wheeling Dismisses Chicago Executive Board Member

April 30, 2007
The reason for Robert Dourlain's removal, according to village officials, is because Dourlain and they disagreed over his level of independence as a board member.

The village of Wheeling has dismissed one of its three members from the Chicago Executive Airport board of directors, suggesting he has acted too independently.

Robert Dourlain was one of the original members appointed to the board when it was formed in July 2005 after the old Palwaukee Municipal Airport Commission was dissolved. Dourlain had been on the commission for about a year, then was named a board member.

The reason for his removal, according to village officials, is because Dourlain and they disagreed over his level of independence as a board member.

Dourlain was one of three Wheeling representatives on the board, the other two being Village Manager Mark Rooney and David Kolssak, a local businessman whose family owns a funeral home near the airport.

Prospect Heights, which co-owns the airport with Wheeling, also has three representatives, and a chairman breaks any ties.

Dourlain, 52, clearly piqued, released a statement Wednesday.

"I have been chastised by some Wheeling trustees for my opinions on certain airport issues, again, because I supposedly did not seem to be supporting the village of Wheeling's philosophy of how I was expected to do my job," he wrote.

"However, in my three years on the commission and board I was never given one ounce of direction from former Wheeling President Greg Klatecki on any issue related to the airport."

"Please explain how I can be accused of not working in the best interest of the village, especially when all of my most recent votes were the same as the other Wheeling directors, one of whom is the village manager?

"If we all voted the same, why have they not been accused of the same issues as I?"

Rooney said Dourlain was dismissed because he continued to disagree with what he thought his duties and responsibilities were, even after being reminded what they were by the village lawyer.

Kevin Dohm, chairman of the Chicago Executive Airport board of directors, said he is sorry to see Dourlain go.

"Bob Dourlain is one of the most dedicated directors I had on the airport board," he said.

"He functioned as a treasurer and took his position extremely serious. I felt he understood his role."

Wheeling Trustee Robert Heer was the only village board member who did not agree with Dourlain's dismissal on the basis that he did not understand his job title.

"If he made that mistake, then others did too," Heer said.

Heer thinks the Wheeling village board, the Prospect Heights City Council and the Chicago Executive Airport board of directors need to meet to ensure everyone is on the same page.

The village currently has no one in place to take Dourlain's seat. Rooney said the appointment will be up to trustees. The seat is voluntary and not paid.

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