NORTH HENDERSON, IL. (ECWd) –
Up in Mercer County Illinois, Northwest of Peoria, there is a small village named North Henderson (pop. 187). It suffers from all of the same problems that larger cities suffer from, just on a smaller scale.
There have been rumors of illegal trustee appointments, forged village meeting minutes to gain access to bank accounts, “billing mistakes” that give discounts to trustees, and many other items. One of the items I will talk about today is the allegation that 4 of the village trustees are not eligible to hold the office of village trustee according to law.
(dis)Qualifications to be Village Trustee
So, let’s start by looking at the (dis)qualifications for holding office as village trustee in Illinois. This applies whether the trustees are elected or appointed, they all must qualify for, and remain qualified for, the office in which they hold.
The Illinois Municipal Code is the law to apply here, and in particular Section 3.1-10-5 [65 ILCS 5/3.1-10-5] entitled Qualifications; elective office. Paragraph (b) of this Section specifically states that:
“a person is not eligible to take the oath of office if they are in arrears in the payment of a tax or other indebtedness to the village at the time required for taking the oath. ”
It continues on in (b-5) by stating that: “a person is not eligible to hold a municipal office if that person is, at any time during the term of office, in arrears in the payment of a tax or other indebtedness due to the village.”
To recap this: A trustee cannot take the oath of office if they are in debt to the village, and a trustee cannot continue holding office if they are arrears in a debt owed to the village during their term of office. What that means is that if the village operates a water utility, and the trustees are arrears in payment of their water bills, they automatically give up their positions as village trustee – whether they are appointed or elected, it does not matter.
The FOUR Trustees..
Mr. Seth Scott, Mr. David Marshall, Mr. Rick McCutcheon, and Mrs. Carol Rogers were never qualified to take the oath of office due to their being in arrears of payment of a debt to the village at the time required for them to take the oath (in particular, they were in arrears in payment of their water bills to the village), Or they became in arrears in the payment of their water bills, and since it happened, and is still happening, during their term of office, they are ineligible to continue to hold the office and are usurping the office of village trustee.
Twenty-two citizens have signed a letter demanding their removal. This letter has been given to the Mercer County State’s Attorney, the attorney for North Henderson, and the Village President (Mayor).
The next Village Trustee meeting should be interesting…
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