Illinois PTA Investigating Allegations Against Mokena PTA President

MOKENA, IL — State officials are conducting an inquiry into the Mokena Parent Teachers Association after a formal complaint was filed against PTA President Samantha Tunney. The complaint alleges that Tunny, who is seeking a seat on Mokena’s school board next week, violated PTA bylaws by naming her successor and appointing another board member without an election, Patch has learned.

Tunney, the Mokena PTA president, named her successor ahead of a PTA election in May, according to a formal complaint that was lodged with the Illinois PTA recently. The complaint, which was obtained by Patch, also levels other allegations against Tunney.

The complaint also states that Tunney violated sections of the local PTA’s bylaws when she made the appointment of the incoming board president as well as the board’s secretary. The complaint states that the Mokena PTA’s current secretary, Jennifer Chiappetti, was hand-picked as the new PTA president by Tunney, rather than the position being determined by the election in May.

Find out what's happening in Mokenawith free, real-time updates from Patch.

Tunney also placed herself on the nominating committee for candidates for the May PTA election, when two advertised board positions are up for grabs, the complaint states. However, a source told Patch that while all four positions on the board should be up for re-election, Tunney informed other PTA members that only two seats were up for election, excluding the other two positions she informed members were not up for re-election, sources said.

Tunney also violated board bylaws by placing herself on the nominating committee, the complaint filed with the state says. The PTA’s bylaws state that the nominating committee is to be chosen by the PTA’s entire membership rather than appointed by those in leadership roles, according to the complaint.

Find out what's happening in Mokenawith free, real-time updates from Patch.

Connie Mc Elyea, the vice president of field operations for the Illinois PTA’s Board of Directors, told Patch in an email on Tuesday that the state received the formal inquiry into the Mokena PTA. However, she said because the investigation into the complaint is ongoing, the state PTA Board of Directors is not in any position to provide any further details into the inquiry at this time.

Tunney did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday regarding the formal complaint or allegations filed against her.

If elected to the school board, Tunney’s tenure on the board would begin 30 days after the election, which would place her in office ahead of the PTA election.

In a Patch candidate questionnaire completed by Tunney earlier this year, she said that the most pressing issue facing the Mokena district was making sure the district was maintaining its excellence in a changing world.

“The decisions made by the school board affect the entire community. If elected, my focus would be on student achievement and programs, teacher support, safety and security, maintaining facilities, and ensuring that the district is fiscally responsible.”

In a question asking why local voters should trust her, Tunney said that as a parent of students who attend school in the district, she has a vested interest not only in what is best for the district but what is best for the Mokena community as a whole.

“Our education is molding the children that are crucial to the success of Mokena, and are growing up to be an even larger part of that community,” Tunney wrote. “I truly have the best interest in all things Mokena and promise to always care about the larger picture when voting.”

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