Former Homewood economic and community development director Angela Mesaros will return to her position April 19, Mayor Richard Hofeld said in a statement Friday.
Mesaros resigned on March 2 after making disparaging comments about protesters before a Feb. 25 planning and zoning commission meeting. She was unaware microphones in the meeting room were carrying the audio to online video conferencing, which began a few moments earlier.
“No. 1, I can’t fight. And No. 2, I would try, anyway, though. That’s the problem. I would try. I would leap out and try. Actually, I might be able to take on some of them,” she said.
Mesaros later issued a public apology. Village Manager Jim Marino said he investigated and found that her comments violated Homewood government policy against threatening language.
Her comments were made before the start of one of the five sessions of a controversial planning and zoning commission hearing on the development of the property of Calumet Country Club. The hearing lasted more than 20 hours. Those who opposed the proposed warehouses and trucking depot organized as South Suburbs for Greenspace Over Concrete to fight the project.
Hofeld said members of the commission “fervently and frequently” asked to have Mesaros reinstated.
“Members close to the situation cited the unfair and unreasonable pressure inflicted on Ms. Mesaros prior to her brusque remarks recorded without her permission between meetings, leading to her resignation, not a decision shared by the commission members,” Hofeld’s statement read.
Mesaros served a 30-day suspension, Hofeld said, which ends when she returns Monday.
Hofeld said he commended Mesaros for the apology and resignation.
“While I can never condone her comments in any context, I am also not in a position to ‘cast the first stone’ because who hasn’t uttered regrettable remarks? I shudder to think how my words might be construed if replayed but of context,” Hofeld said. “Witnesses identified for me audience members who taunted, goaded and hurled insults at Ms. Mesaros. No person should be subjected to such abuse.”