DuPage County

Bill introduced to change Public Officer Prohibited Activities Act after DuPage official outed –

DuPage Co., IL. (ECWd) –

This has become routine in Illinois and a large part of why public corruption runs rampant at all levels of Illinois government.

Last summer, we wrote about DuPage County Board member Don Puchalski, who was also the appointed DuPage County Public Guardian and DuPage County Public Administrator, and how it was our belief those positions were incompatible with each other and in violation of the Public Officer Prohibited Activities Act. Violations of this law, if prosecuted and found guilty, are Class 4 Felonies according to Section 4 of the Public Officer Prohibited Activities Act.

Board Candidate Rolly Waller issued a press release on the subject (here). He also spoke on the subject at the October 25, 2016, DuPage County Board Meeting where Puchalski responded calling it a settled issue, with no conflict, and nothing but mud slinging (video here).

Waller also filed a complaint with the Office of the Executive Inspector General, since they oversee gubernatorial appointments (here), which was ultimately forwarded to Governor Rauner’s Office and the Office of Executive Appointments with no action taken.

Don Puchalski even requested an opinion from the Illinois Attorney General in an October 6, 2016, letter (here) – but later, and after winning the election, withdrew his request for an Attorney General’s opinion. From email exchanges within the AG’s office, nobody bothered to talk to either Pulchaski or Waller – leaving us to believe they never intended to issue an opinion in the first place.

After all the denials, claims of mud-slinging, and political maneuvering, State Representative Arthur Turner and State Senator Tom Cullerton sponsored a Bill to amend the Public Officer Prohibited Activities Act to specifically allow county board members to also hold the appointed positions of County Public Guardian and County Public Administrator.

It has not yet passed the Senate.

Like previous violations of law by public officials in DuPage and other counties, instead of following the law, they simply get the law changed – which is their right to try and accomplish, but it sets a bad precedent for Illinois public officials – one that essentially breeds corruption by demonstrating that laws do not matter.

Previous changes have been to pass a Bill concerning the election code, and backdate its effective date to allow extended times for publication of referendum. Another was to change the township code to authorize giving away mulch and delivering it onto private property. And changing the way drug funds must be utilized, after writing about a rogue State’s Attorney who chose to spend it outside what the current law allowed.

If this is what we have come to in Illinois, someone should tell us exactly which laws are to be followed, and which ones can be safely ignored.

Anything short of that, “Break the Law Change the Law” will become our State motto.
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Categories: DuPage County, feature

12 replies »

  1. It looks like the bill has passed.

    I have several questions about the Dupage County Guardian:

    a.
    Can an argument be made that the bill passed, now law, is not retroactive to those
    who held both offices before the bill was passed.

    For example, does the law make those who served in both offices, before the bill was passed, now automatically lawful that the Bill was passed
    or
    Does the law make legal only those future situations where a person is on the Board and then is appointed a guardian.

    Just thinking out loud.

    and

    b.
    Is the Dupage Count Public Guardian subject to FOIA requests?

    The Probate Act states the following:
    “(b) In counties having a population of 1,000,000 or less the public guardian shall receive all the fees of his office and bear the expenses connected with the operation of the office.”

    It looks to me that
    1. The Dupage County Guardian collects fees from his work in court as the Public Guardian; and then
    2. The Dupage County Guardian spends those fees, which sounds like he has earned, to run the operation of his office.
    THEREFORE,
    Would the Dupage County Guardian be subject to a FOIA request for copies of all credit card bills etc.?

    I can see where the Cook County Public Guardian would be subject to FOIA where the Probate Act States the following:
    “(a) In counties having a population in excess of 1,000,000 the public guardian shall be paid an annual salary, to be set by the County Board at a figure not to exceed the salary of the public defender for the county. All expenses connected with the operation of the office shall be subject to the approval of the County Board and shall be paid from the county treasury. All fees collected shall be paid into the county treasury. ”

    Any thoughts?

  2. DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin, Nov. 7, 2012: “The message is loud and clear. We don’t want people in two offices out here.”

  3. HALF of the DuPage County Board are attorneys. The Chairman of the County Board is an attorney. They all KNOW that a county board member holding two additional public offices in unlawful…so much so that they quietly slipped this bill to remedy future wrongdoing.

    As BOTH attorneys AND as county board officials, these men have an obligation to report and act within their powers to stop this illegal activity.

    Instead of doing the right thing, they’re allowing politics and cronyism to guide them.

  4. Why is this bill filed under Local Government-Tech? What does this have to do with technology? Is this to make legislators yawn and press “aye” without looking or caring?

  5. Now I know why Citizens for Don Puchalski wrote out a check for $1000 for Citizens for Dan Cronin on Feb. 16, 2017. Cronin had got this bill moving in Springfield for Puchalski and this was a token of appreciation.

  6. I read the documents attached to Waller’s complaint. It appears Puchalski omitted (deliberately withheld?) information or flat-out “misrepresented” himself in applications and statements of economic interest to the state and county. So are their bills in the works in Springfield to cover all that, too? Not that there needs to be because – hey – no one enforces the law!

  7. Bad idea, bad bill. If this bill passes its yet another coffin nail that buries
    oversight. But so what? Illinois has an
    Auditor General who does not have the public’s trust and an Attorney General who is afraid to do her job and go to court to force a balanced budget as prescribed on the Illinois’ Constitution.
    This state has no hope.

  8. So this confirms that it is currently illegal for County Board member Don Puchalski to also be public guardian and public administrator.

    Thank you.

  9. I noticed that Rep. Ives voted “yes”, along with everyone else. This is just a minor case of “you help me now, & I’ll help you later.” Ah, spring in Illinois brings out the best in our politicians & filings for the 11/6/2018 gubernatorial election. Too bad they don’t have a budget.

    • In fairness, it is obvious that this bill was introduced and pushed along quietly. Unless one was aware of the controversy surrounding Don Puchalski, the bill doesn’t draw a red flag. Mainstream media didn’t touch this story so unless you read Illinois Leaks or DuPage Policy Journal on a regular basis AND were specifically reminded that this had to do with Puchalski, then you wouldn’t know or care.

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