Metro-East News

Residents criticize Collinsville councilwoman for suing the city

In this July 13, 2015, file photo, Collinsville City Councilwoman Cheryl Brombolich listens during a meeting.
In this July 13, 2015, file photo, Collinsville City Councilwoman Cheryl Brombolich listens during a meeting. News-Democrat

Two residents publicly said City Councilwoman Cheryl Brombolich should resign after she filed a federal lawsuit last week against the city and others.

Residents Phil Astrauskas and Mary Drumm called for the resignation during Monday night’s City Council meeting, saying the suit is an example of how the council is “dysfunctional.”

“She’s representing us and suing us at the same time,” Astrauskas said. “That’s thoroughly disgusting. Can’t we do something about this? I don’t want her to represent me. ... The best thing to do is just leave.”

Brombolich did not respond to the criticism. Her attorney, Jack Daugherty, said he and his client would not publicly discuss the pending litigation.

The city’s legal counsel, Steve Giacoletto, did not respond to a request for comment about the suit.

I don’t want her to represent me.

Resident Phil Astrauskas on City Councilwoman Cheryl Brombolich

Drumm called upon Mayor John Miller and City Councilman Jeff Stehman to seek Brombolich’s resignation.

“It is a new low in Collinsville politics when you choose to sue the same city that you are supposed to be serving,” Drumm said. “Remain silent if you wish at this public meeting, but I expect that you (Stehman) and Mayor Miller ask Mrs. Brombolich to resign.”

Council members Nancy Moss and Jeff Kypta previously asked Brombolich to step down after the city released documents showing that at least once when Brombolich was a municipal employee, she tried to avoid disclosure of her personal use of a tax-free city account. She later said that was a mistake and that she wanted to inform her boss about it first, rather than have another employee do so.

Brombolich’s suit, which was filed in federal court in East St. Louis last week, includes as defendants her former boss from when she served as city clerk and director of operations, then-city manager Scott Williams, and former City Councilman Mike Tognarelli, in addition to the city.

Williams and Tognarelli have declined to comment on the suit.

Brombolich alleges in the suit that she was “forced” to resign as a municipal employee in 2014 and was recently embarrassed by the release of “private documents” because she was critical of Williams. A Madison County judge ruled those documents were public records and said they should be released to the Belleville News-Democrat under the Freedom of Information Act.

The suit alleges that after Brombolich complained about Williams’ performance as city manager, he, along with Tognarelli, sought to discredit her with documents that would make her look bad and eventually force her to retire.

Lexi Cortes: 618-239-2528, @lexicortes