October 18, 2013 · 1 Comments
FORD CO. (ECWd) –
As referenced in this article, “Boom Boom Bowen” called an illegal meeting and I raised the issue with the State’s Attorney in this e-mail. The request was simply fix the problem, which is all we have ever asked.
I have to admit I was shocked to get this notice late in the afternoon on the same day I sent our concerns to the State’s Attorney. This meeting notice/agenda outlines that they have called for another special meeting to be convened, to take the same action that was taken during the illegal meeting.
I have done another FOIA for the documents required to hold that special meeting and will update this article once I get those, assuming they complied with the law this time!
If they did it in accordance with the law, then my hats off to the State’s Attorney for taking the steps necessary for compliance with the law. I know it is a new concept for Boom Boom, but he’d better get used to it as there is quite a bit more to come!
For example, Gene May is a Ford County Board member that is called to vote on payments for his services for picking up trash for the county. I already gave the statute to the State’s Attorney months ago, and apparently they are not going to rectify it so it’s time to take things to the next level, just as we did in Edgar County with our “former” county chairman! (Hint, he is a “former” chairman for a reason! )
(50 ILCS 105/3) (from Ch. 102, par. 3)
Sec. 3. Prohibited interest in contracts.
(a) No person holding any office, either by election or appointment under the laws or Constitution of this State, may be in any manner financially interested directly in his own name or indirectly in the name of any other person, association, trust, or corporation, in any contract or the performance of any work in the making or letting of which such officer may be called upon to act or vote.
Mr. May needs to resign immediately to avoid the statutory conflict of interest!
They seem to think that by abstaining from voting it makes it OK, and that is not the case at all! County Board members are bound by the county code statute and only have the power granted by those statutes.
(55 ILCS 5/2-1006)
(from Ch. 34, par. 2-1006)
The county board shall sit with open doors, and all persons may attend their meetings. The vote on all propositions to appropriate money from the county treasury shall be taken by "ayes" and "nays" and entered on the record of the meeting.
(Source: P.A. 86-962.)
There are powers granted to abstain from voting for certain cases and they are outlined by statute, however Mr. May does not qualify for any of those exceptions, so he is required by law to vote aye or nay! This is supported by Supreme Court Case precident!
The people did not elect him to not do his job, which includes a statutory requirement to vote. When members fail to vote they are not complying with the law. More importantly, when they abstain because of their own financial interest, it is an admission that there is in fact a conflict.
Even looking at the most basic guideline, Robert’s Rules of Order, an abstention is not a vote! In fact, RRO outlines that an abstention is in fact a refusal to vote. A county board member is not permitted to refuse to vote. Doing so violates the very duty they were elected to perform.
The law is clear, when a member “may” be called to vote on a matter in which they have a financial interest, it’s a conflict as outlined in the Public Officer Prohibited Activities Act.
There are three ways to remove the conflict, Mr. Fitton.
Supporting info for the convenience of those who truly want the law followed:
Look up your elected Board Member contact information and demand the law be followed! (County Board Contact Info)
By Kirk Allen