A Riverside resident has accused Village Manager Kathleen Rush of finessing the details regarding the difficulty of finding a local candidate for the job of village clerk.

Last month, when Rush announced the appointment of LaGrange Park resident Arlene Blaha as the new clerk, she said finding a Riverside resident for the job was difficult.

“I was dying,” said Rush of the search process. “We advertised it a number of times and recruited people. I had preferred that it would go to a Riverside resident, and I interviewed several people and made offers to a couple. But they didn’t want to do it.”

That runs counter to Rachel Marrello’s version of events.

Marrello, in a letter to the Landmark, stated that “Ms. Rush suffered from a debilitating case of amnesia when she made the statement. She failed to mention one Riverside candidate that applied for the job?”me.”

According to Marrello, a labor and employment attorney with five years of experience, she was not only interested in the position, but was scheduled for an interview. At the last minute, she said, Rush canceled the interview.

Rush’s reluctance to entertain Marrello as a candidate, however, appears to stem from the fact that Marrello is the wife of Riverside Police Officer Daniel Marrello. According to Rachel Marrello, Rush told her that since “there were several closed meetings that may relate to the police department … she was not comfortable placing either me or the board in an awkward situation.”

Rush more or less confirmed that reasoning in a separate interview, saying Marrello was “just not appropriate for this position” and that while Marrello might be welcomed in a number of capacities, the clerk’s position was “more sensitive.”

“It’s a judgment call,” Rush said. “If she doesn’t appreciate my judgment on that, I’m sorry.”

Marrello maintained that as an attorney, she was well aware of confidentiality issues and “assured [Rush] that my husband’s position as a police officer had no impact on my professional responsibilities.”

Marrello also contended that the same standard was not applied to previous village clerk, who in the past also worked part time for the Recreation Department.

Rush declined to comment further on the issue.

While Marrello said she was willing to let the matter go, Rush’s statement about “dying” to find a candidate prompted her letter to the newspaper.

“A private matter becomes a public one when a public official lies, no matter how big or small the lie is,” Marrello wrote.

?”Bob Uphues