By Mike Nolan Daily Southtown

A Homewood village employee resigned Tuesday after making comments last week caught on a live microphone in which she disparaged opponents of a proposed redevelopment of Calumet Country Club.

The resignation of Angela Mesaros, the village’s director of economic and community development, comes as the village’s Planning and Zoning Commission is scheduled to resume a hearing Wednesday on a rezoning issue that could allow the golf course to be redeveloped for warehouse distribution use.

In her comments recorded before Thursday’s commission meeting, Mesaros makes an obscene reference to opponents and comments about wanting to jump into and fight members of the audience who have been vocal in their opposition to the redevelopment.

“That’s why I don’t own a gun … and Chris should not have one either,” she later says, referencing village attorney Chris Cummings. “Good thing me and Chris don’t have guns.”

The day after the meeting, Mesaros issued a statement saying she was “deeply ashamed” of what she had said as members of South Suburbs for Greenspace Over Concrete, formed to oppose the golf course redevelopment, called for her resignation.

“I have said words that were thoughtless and unkind towards members of this community. My actions showed disrespect for our residents whose voices need to be heard,” said Mesaros, who has been with the village about four years.

Mesaros included Cummings in her apology, saying it “was inappropriate to include you in my own litany of frustrations.” Cummings said he was in the Village Board meeting room before the hearing, but did not hear Mesaros’ comments.

Jim Marino, Homewood’s village manager, said Mesaros resigned after a “full investigation into comments she made during a sound check” before Thursday’s meeting, the third that had been held on the rezoning issue.

He said that village policy prohibits the use of threatening language, regardless of intent or context.

“Ms. Mesaros stated that her comments were not made with malice or intent, however, she recognizes that they were inappropriate and not what is expected from village employees,” he said.

On the recording, Mesaros is heard talking to other village staff, including Napoleon Haney, assistant village manager, and saying “No. 1, I can’t fight,” but that “I would try anyway,” referencing project opponents.

She makes a few references about “jumping” into the audience to fight.

South Suburbs for Greenspace said it was pleased about Mesaros’ decision to step down but continued to demand Haney’s removal.

Some “minor disciplinary action” was taken against Haney, but it was it was in the form of an admonishment for the conversation involving Mesaros, according to the village.

In his statement, Marino referenced some residents of Homewood and other communities who have spoken out at the Planning and Zoning Commission meetings, saying they “have not exhibited the same respect and standards of professionalism they are demanding.”

“While village staff is being held accountable for their improper conduct, some attending the meetings have acted with contempt for the legally-required rezoning process, disdain and disrespect toward village officials, refusal to follow public meeting protocol and decorum without apology or consequences,” Marino said. “While this behavior represents a small group of individuals within the whole, it remains inappropriate, unwarranted and serves as a poor reflection of our community.”

Diversified Partners plans to redevelop the golf course with up to 800,000 square feet of warehouse-distribution space. Residents who live near the golf course are concerned about heavy truck traffic the development would bring along with pollution and potential impact on their property values.

It is not clear whether a vote on the rezoning will take place at Wednesday’s meeting. Any recommendation from the Planning and Zoning Commission would go to Homewood’s Village Board for consideration.

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