Iroquois County State’s Attorney – Get your head in the game –

Iroquois Co. (ECWd) –

Iroquois County State’s Attorney Jim Devine appears to have once again stepped off into areas he apparently knows little about and gave legal advice that puts his client, the County Board, into a position of violating the law.

Before we dive into what we consider the most recent failure, a short review may help people better understand why we believe it is in fact time for this man to resign from public service…or take on public corruption, and help fix problems in the county.

In 2013 we started investigating and writing dozens of articles exposing wrongdoing by public officials of the Ford-Iroquois Department of Public Health (FIDPH).  During our investigation, we identified grant fraud, procurement law violations, conflicts of interest and much more.  We contacted State’s Attorney Jim Devine and arranged a meeting with him in the Law Library at the University of Illinois. During that meeting, he specifically confirmed grant fraud and verbalized “that’s grant fraud” as he reviewed grant records that had people’s names as employees who were, in fact, no longer employees.  Jim Devine did nothing! 

A forensic audit of the FIDPH also found numerous acts by public officials that violated numerous laws.  The forensic report can be read at this linkJim Devine did nothing! 

We provided evidence of collusion with a private company and public officials of FIDPH regarding solar panels purchased in violation of the law and wrote about it in this article.  Jim Devine did nothing!

We exposed the illegal use of funds by the FIDPH Director who wrote a check to fund a private corporation he formed and was running it out of a the FIDPH public office.   Our exposure led to the return of the funds. Jim Devine did nothing!

We exposed massive manipulation of grant money that ended up in the hands of a contractor who just happened to be married to the grant administrator and wrote about that here and here.   The pattern of practice was clear and violations of law were clear to anyone willing to read.   Jim Devine did nothing!

We exposed violations of law by the ETSB and County as it relates to billing for dispatch services.  We know they know it’s not legal to send out such bills, but justify continuing to do so because they are out of money. Jim Devine did nothing!

The Paxton Record reported on additional violations of law in which a forensic audit of the computers pointed to theft of services.  Devine did nothing!

For more exposure to the long history of illegal actions by public officials in Iroquois County, you can simply pick from the list at this linkTo date, Jim Devine has not prosecuted a single public official involved in these violations of law.

On a good note, he recently gave advice that the 911 coordinator’s alleged contract never existed from day 1, and that she is and always has been an at-will employee. That much we know to be true, however, so is the power to terminate an at-will employee.

So what happened that we officially call for his resignation?  As if his refusal to prosecute a single bad actor outlined in dozens of articles filled with evidence is not enough, it’s clear he needs to go when he can’t even give sound legal advice on something as basic as the Open Meetings Act and needs legal help to figure out who is charge of firing the ETSB director, which I suspect he knows would take years to actually get a response and would provide cover for the 911 Director.

During last night’s Emergency Telephone System Board meeting, eight members of the County Board attended.  When the ETSB went into closed session, all eight members present, with advice and consent of the State’s Attorney, joined the ETSB members in closed session.  Had they sat silent, there would have been no problem.  But of course, with Larry Hasbargen present you know that won’t happen.  Turns out these 8 County Board members participated in the discussion of personnel.   Such a discussion by a majority of a quorum constitutes a public meeting of that public body, as in the County Board.

Section 1.02 of OMA (5 ILCS 120/1.02 (West 2012)) defines a “meeting” as: Any gathering, whether in person or by video or audio conference, telephone call, electronic means (such as, without limitation, electronic mail, electronic chat, and instant messaging), or other means of contemporaneous interactive communication, of a majority of a quorum of the members of a public body held for the purpose of discussing public business or, for a 5-member public body, a quorum of members of a public body held for the purpose of discussing public business.

This meeting of a majority of a quorum (of the County Board) in closed session was not posted with a notice or agenda 48hrs in advance and based on prior rulings by the Attorney General PAC office on matters almost identical in nature, we are confident their determination will be that the Iroquois County Board held an illegal meeting and met in closed session without proper authority.  What is sad in this case, they did it with the advice and consent of the Iroquois County State’s Attorney.  In this case, they exceeded the majority of a quorum, which is six members of the County Board, by having eight members present.  The two county board members who sit on the ETSB do not count towards the majority quorum number according to the AG PAC office as they were part of the ETSB for this closed session.

Not convinced this guy has no business giving legal advice to the county?

The Times Republic ran a headline today of “ETSB seeking more legal advice”. I am all for more legal advice as what has been given so far is off the charts wrong.   As we understand it, now Devine is not sure who has the legal authority to fire the 911 Director.

Please, we beg the people of Iroquois County to read the Powers and Duties assigned to the ETSB and tell us who has the authority over employees of the ETSB system?

“The powers and duties of the board shall be defined by ordinance of the municipality or county”

You can read the ordinance the ETSB is bound by at this link and find the applicable highlighted section.

  • Hiring, on a temporary basis, any staff necessary for the implementation or upgrade of the system.

So by the County ordinance, the ETSB restricted their staff necessary for the implementation or upgrade of the system to a temporary basis.  Considering the 911 Director is anything but temporary, it’s clear their own ordinance is not being followed.

Considering it is the ETSB with the power to hire, there is an implied power to fire those that they hire.  It’s not rocket science.

Reading the law, which applies to the ETSB and the situation at hand, it is clear who is in charge of the 911 Director.

  • Hiring any staff necessary for the implementation or upgrade of the system.

The ETSB absolutely has the power to terminate employees working for them, which in this case their 911 Director and every dispatcher she hired.

What Iroquois County is facing is years of total disregard for the law by the State’s Attorney as it relates to public officials and the power they have or don’t have.   He has acknowledged he is a criminal prosecutor and is not up on all this “other stuff”.  May we suggest you either get your head in the game or resign as your unwillingness to learn all this “other stuff” is a major contributor to the malfeasance that is infecting your county.

For all of those that think a full-time person is needed in the form of a Director over 911, realize this system, once in place, operates quite efficiently.  It’s not too much different than hiring a person to “temporarily” install your home office computer.  Once it’s up and running, they are no longer needed and when it breaks, you call the manufacturer of the equipment you’re using for repairs.  Any dispatcher can make such a call.  We contend, based on our research, the authorization to hire staff limited it to the specific action of implementing or upgrading the system.

Once it’s implemented, there is no need for a babysitter.  Need an upgrade?  Hire accordingly, upgrade, and they are done!  The legislature realized this when they wrote the law.  Sadly, County officials continue to ignore the law.

We will update on the Attorney General PAC complaint we filed on the alleged Open Meetings Act violation as it moves through the process.
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Iroquois County ETSB billing illegal and they know it- yet it continues!

Iroquois Co. (ECWd) –

The request was simple, the response is compelling.

  • A copy of the state statute utilized for the purpose of charging other units of governments for 911 dispatch service.

The fact of the matter is no such statute spells out that either a County, Emergency Telephone System Board, or the illegally set up ICOM Joint Dispatch has the power to bill for dispatching emergency calls. We covered many of these matters in June of 2014 yet it is apparent with the continued billing they have no problem breaking the law.

Response to the Request:

  • The Parties have the power and authority to enter into this Agreement pursuant to the provisions of Article VII, Section 10 of the Illinois Constitution of 1970, and the Illinois Intergovernmental Cooperation Act, as amended, 5 ILCS 220/1 et seq., and other applicable authority.   Per FOIA we are not obligated to provide copies of statute. 

They might be well advised to either seek legal counsel or if they did, get new legal counsel.

SECTION 10. INTERGOVERNMENTAL COOPERATION

    (a)  Units of local government and school districts may contract or otherwise   associate among themselves, with the State, with other states and their units of local government and school districts, and with the United States to obtain or share services and to exercise, combine, or transfer any power or function, in any manner not prohibited by law or by ordinance. Units of local government and school districts may contract and otherwise associate with individuals, associations, and corporations in any manner not prohibited by law or by ordinance. Participating units of government may use their credit, revenues, and other resources to pay costs and to service debt related to intergovernmental activities.

(b)  Officers and employees of units of local government and school districts may participate in intergovernmental activities authorized by their units of government without relinquishing their offices or positions.

(c)  The State shall encourage intergovernmental cooperation and use its technical and financial resources to assist intergovernmental activities.

Back to that pesky Dillons Rule.  “Not prohibited by law or by ordinance”.  Billing for dispatch services is, in fact, prohibited by law because the power to do that was never provided in the statutes covering Emergency Telephone System Boards.  If the power is not provided, you can’t enter into an intergovernmental agreement to do something not allowed by law.

And to drive that point home, our legislature made it very clear when they wrote the Intergovernmental Agreement Act.

5 ILCS 220/3) (from Ch. 127, par. 743)
    Sec. 3. Intergovernmental cooperation. Any power or powers, privileges, functions, or authority exercised or which may be exercised by a public agency of this State may be exercised, combined, transferred, and enjoyed jointly with any other public agency of this State and jointly with any public agency of any other state or of the United States to the extent that laws of such other state or of the United States do not prohibit joint exercise or enjoyment and except where specifically and expressly prohibited by law.

ETSB has never been given the authority to bill for dispatching services. Thus they can not exercise such a power in an intergovernmental agreement.

More importantly, Intergovernmental agreements are confined to agreements authorized by the units of governments entering into such agreements.  Any bets on the County finding agendas reflecting a vote to be taken for these agreements?  We suspect no minutes will reflect any such approval either. We have requested any such records and are placing our bets that none exists.

(5 ILCS 220/5) (from Ch. 127, par. 745)
    Sec. 5. Intergovernmental contracts. Any one or more public agencies may contract with any one or more other public agencies to perform any governmental service, activity or undertaking or to combine, transfer, or exercise any powers, functions, privileges, or authority which any of the public agencies entering into the contract is authorized by law to perform, provided that such contract shall be approved by the governing bodies of each party to the contract and except where specifically and expressly prohibited by law. Such contract shall set forth fully the purposes, powers, rights, objectives and responsibilities of the contracting parties.  (Source: P.A. 91-298, eff. 7-29-99.)

And for all those wanting to give these law-breakers the benefit of the doubt, looking at just one year of billing, we find two invoices being sent to non-public agencies, Iroquois Memorial Hospital and Riverside Medical Center.  Neither of those billed are public agencies, thus they can not enter into an intergovernmental agreement.

As I pointed out in June of 2014, which I know County officials read, the law is clear.

(5 ILCS 220/2) (from Ch. 127, par. 742)
Sec. 2. Definitions. For the purpose of this Act:
(1) The term “public agencyshall mean any unit of local government as defined in the Illinois Constitution of 1970, any school district, any public community college district, any public building commission, the State of Illinois, any agency of the State government or of the United States, or of any other State, any political subdivision of another State, and any combination of the above pursuant to an intergovernmental agreement which includes provisions for a governing body of the agency created by the agreement.

So once again, a response to a simple FOIA makes the case for us.  The ETSB, under the management of a 911 Director who orchestrated the billing for dispatch services county wide may well have placed the county into a real financial mess and not just from those agencies terminating payments for these improper invoices.  They may well face a false claims suit to recover all of the improper billing and collection of money without statutory authority.

We see for tonight’s agenda item VII-C – “dismissal of the 911 Director”. 

We can only wonder if the ETSB has the courage to once and for all bring this long history of violations of law to an end.  If the ETSB will not act to stop the illegal action, then it’s time for the County Board to remove them all for neglect of duty, a power give to them by statute that we in fact wrote!

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Iroquois County – Using your tax dollars to promote safety tax-Violation of Law?

Iroquois Co. (ECWd) –

It’s hard enough to fight against our ever rising taxes in Illinois but where does a person turn to when their own tax dollars are actually being used in support of seeking your vote for even more taxes?

Was that not clear? 

  • Your local government sends out property tax bills and collects fees on your phone bill for 911 service. 
  • You pay them. 
  • They then use that money to pay a County Employee to go out and promote a referendum that if passed, will take more of your money in the form of a new tax. 

Yes, Iroquois County used your money to pay an employee to go out and campaign in support of passing a new tax that would take more of your money.  

Is that legal? 

State Officials and Employees Ethics Act

(5 ILCS 430/70-5)
    Sec. 70-5. Adoption by governmental entities.
    (a) Within 6 months after the effective date of this Act, each governmental entity other than a community college district, and each community college district within 6 months after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 95th General Assembly, shall adopt an ordinance or resolution that regulates, in a manner no less restrictive than Section 5-15 and Article 10 of this Act.

From Section 5-15(a)  “shall not intentionally perform any prohibited political activity during any compensated time”

From there, you have to look at how the law defines prohibited political activity, which can be found at this link.

Prohibited Political Activity means:

(12) Campaigning for any elective office or for or against any referendum question.

Simply put, Campaigning for any referendum question is, in fact, a prohibited political activity.

The Iroquois County Emergency Telephone System Board was kind enough to actually record the proof that Nita Dubble informed them that she was going to engage in prohibited political activity: (See minutes here)

“Dubble advised that she will be attending fire meetings to promote the public safety tax.”

So did she actually do this?

“She successfully championed the public safety tax referendum to the benefit of all public safety entities in the County” 

That quote was from her own performance evaluation, which interesting was not an evaluation by the board as was a requirement in her contract.  In fact, the minutes dated the same as that evaluation makes no mention of any evaluation nor any closed session for personnel matters.  Regardless of yet another bogus contract issue, the performance evaluation from the ETSB appears to be crystal clear that she, in fact, did campaign for support of the referendum based on their praise for such actions by Dubble.

We have also confirmed that Dubble did, in fact, go to public bodies in Iroquois County and promoted the public safety tax, a referendum question on the November 2016 ballot.

By all indications, that is an ethics violation and an ethics complaint could and should be filed against her.

Potential Penalty:

(5 ILCS 430/50-5)  Sec. 50-5. Penalties.

    (a) A person is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor if that person intentionally violates any provision of Section 5-15, 5-30, 5-40, or 5-45 or Article 15.

(e) An ethics commission may levy an administrative fine of up to $5,000 against any person who violates this Act, who intentionally obstructs or interferes with an investigation conducted under this Act by an inspector general, or who intentionally makes a false, frivolous, or bad faith allegation.

(f) In addition to any other penalty that may apply, whether criminal or civil, a State employee who intentionally violates any provision of Section 5-5, 5-15, 5-20, 5-30, 5-35, 5-45, or 5-50, Article 10, Article 15, or Section 20-90 or 25-90 is subject to discipline or discharge by the appropriate ultimate jurisdictional authority.

For a public body to take your money in the form of a tax or fee, then use that money to campaign in support of a referendum to take more of your own money, appears to be a very clear violation of the law. We The People had better wake up and not allow this to go unchecked.

We urge any citizen in Iroquois County who wants accountability with their local officials to file an ethics complaint against Nita Dubble, as well as a formal criminal complaint with both the Sheriff and State’s Attorney, which forces an official investigation that can validate what we have discovered and do so independent of our opinions on this matter.

It is wrong on every level for a public employee to get paid with your tax dollars while campaigning to take more of your tax dollars through a referendum! 

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Iroquois County – Emergency Telephone System Board- What did they miss?

Iroquois Co. (ECWd) –

The now voided employment contract with their 911 Coordinator brings us to the need to expose the lack of oversite by the ETSB (the board) as it relates to certain obligations that were in the contract, yet never fulfilled, as well as the failures under that contract. In addition, looking at certain expense reimbursements we find some questionable figures the current ETSB may want to inquire about.

The contract, found at this link, contained certain items that Nita Dubble, the 911 Coordinator was required to perform. One of the things we have found with public employee contracts is the fact those in charge of oversite have no clue what is in the contract, and never hold those employed accountable to the contract they signed.

Keep in mind, this particular contract was brought to the table by Nita Dubble, so it’s not out of line to expect the items she placed in the contract to be complied with.

  • Communications shall include but not be limited fo attendance at all BOARD meetings (unless otherwise directed) and submission to the BOARD of monthly and annual written reports on the status of the 9-1-1 System.

Turns out, no written reports have ever been submitted, thus one of the few obligations she had were not complied with.  The response we received was a claim; “Verbal reports presented at ETSB meetings to satisfaction of board”.

We appreciate a claim that verbal reports were presented monthly and annually, however, that is not what the contract required. It specifically stated those reports would be submitted to the board in the form of written reports.  So all those so quick to claim superior job performance, maybe you should ask why the most basic obligations she listed in her contract were never followed.

As this relates to the ETSB, why didn’t they do their job during this period to ensure compliance with the contract?

The contract outlines her salary to be $26.91 an hour and she was expected to work 40 hrs a week.  So how does one provide oversite to an hourly wage agreement?  Time cards are the norm but in this case, no time cards were used by the contracted employee.   Thus, no oversite by the ETSB to ensure contracted obligations are met.

The Contract also outlines mandatory performance evaluations to be done by the Board.  The evaluations provided, however, do not reflect the Board did the evaluation but instead one or two people.  The last evaluation claims she is the champion behind the safety tax referendum that is on the ballot.

Lastly, a quick review of the expenses reimbursed to Nita Dubble raises some flags as it relates to mileage. How can two trips to Springfield net $335.80 while other trips to the same location equate to $181.70, which would equate to $363.40 for two trips.  This is a case of the math not adding up.  One line item reflects total miles for Springfield travel to be 316 miles.  That entry is consistent with the first entry, representing the same mileage to the same location.  The confusion comes with the multiple meetings line entry that reported a payment of $335.80, which only reflects 584 miles.  With a round trip total being 316 miles on two entries, two trips would be 632 miles, or $363.40.  How is it that we have a 48 miles difference with entries to the same location?

All the math aside, we have asked for the mileage logs which should have been provided to support this expense reimbursement.  We will report on those once they are returned, assuming any such logs exist.

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Iroquois County – We The People have Rights, not privileges

Iroquois Co. (ECWd) –

With malfeasance and corruption infecting our local governments across this country we find those elected to service have forgotten the fact we are a Constitutional Republic.  Our form of government protects certain rights We The People have.

Our First Amendment guarantees freedoms concerning religion, expression, assembly, and the right to petition.  Those are all protected rights we possess under our Constitution and when we fail to understand those basic rights and flip them upside down, we are in trouble as a society.

What does this have to do with Iroquois County? 

They seem to have forgotten our Constitutional right to petition our government.  They have adopted a public comment policy that is not compliant with the Open Meetings act but more importantly failed to acknowledge the people’s rights.

From their policy:

  • Citizens making public comments shall respect the privilege and refrain from the use of inappropriate language, innuendos, or other offensive actions or gestures.

WRONG! 

The public has a Right, not a privilege to speak to their elected officials.   This is the most fundamental right We The People have and it’s high time they learn this.  In addition, the Open Meetings act could not be any clearer on this matter.

Note that it makes no mention that speaking is a privilege.  When we allow our public officials to take the position they are providing us a privilege to address them, we have lost our country.

From their policy:

  • The chairman may deny a citizen’s request to speak if the individual has addressed the Board on the same subject within the past two months.
  • The public comment time is not a question and answer session and Board members are not obligated to respond to any comments or questions. Citizens who wish to speak with individual Board members are encouraged to directly contact Board members before or after an open meeting to discuss Board issues.

Any attempt to restrict how many times a person wishes to address their government on a matter of importance to them is a violation of our 1st Amendment.  If I believe a stop sign is needed at my intersection then I have every right to bring that position to the public officials at every meeting in hopes of convincing them to act accordingly.  They can not restrict my efforts to change their minds, meeting after meeting, year after year!

As far as the public comment time not being a question and answer session, they are correct as far as it relates to the Open Meetings Act.  However, they are required to provide a time at every regular and special meeting, separate from the Open Meetings Act requirement, to permit employees and citizens to ask questions of the board.  The legislative intent was to get answers and although they may not be required to answer them on the spot, they are required to get them answers.

  • 55 ILCS 5/2-1001 – At each regular and special meeting which is open to the public, members of the public and employees of the county shall be afforded time, subject to reasonable constraints, to comment to or ask questions of the board.

May we suggest the entire County Board and their legal counsel, the State’s Attorney, review some 1st amendment case law and get better informed that the people have rights, not privileges, when it comes to holding their local officials accountable.

Lastly, we ask they correct their public comment policy to come in line with our Constitutional Rights.
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Iroquois County – Larry, we’ll pay your registration fee!

Iroquois Co. (ECWd) –

As one who believes things happen for a reason, today’s mail once again provides evidence to support that belief.  When I opened my mailbox this was on top of the pile and immediately I knew the reason we received it, Larry Hasbargen!

For those not familiar with Larry Hasbargen, he is an Iroquois County Board Member who got a little worked up at the last Emergency Telephone System Board when John Kraft let him know he was not the one who gives permission for public comment.  The video is worth viewing below.    In light of the clear anger and rage built up in this particular County Board member, we felt obligated to make an offer in hopes of ensuring others are not subject to such verbal abuse.

We will pay for Hasbargen’s registration to a conference on Dealing with Difficult People.   He will learn strategies, tips and techniques for fighting frustrations in the workplace, and he can keep the workbook for future reference to what he learned, or what we hope he learns.

If this Board Member wants to take us up on this offer all he has to do is send us an email and copy that email to the County Chairman.  The conference is held May 15th, 2017 in Urbana.


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Video: Iroquois County Board Member threatens Watchdog with violence –

WATSEKA, IL. (ECWd) –

During the Iroquois County Emergency Telephone Systems Board meeting on March 23, 2017, Iroquois County Board member Larry Hasbargen decided it was a good idea to scream and bellow at the camera that “I think I’m the guy that can kick your fat ass“…

Hasbargen is the same person who fought us the entire time we were looking into the now-defunct Ford-Iroquois County Health department.

The below video has what we discussed at the meeting and the video clip of him screaming at the camera.

Enjoy (threat at 5:18):

 

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Iroquois County – 911 Coordinator contract declared void from day one –

Iroquois Co. (ECWd) –

The Iroquois County Emergency Telephone System Board (ETSB) held a special meeting tonight to discuss the employment contract they had with an employee calling herself the 911 coordinator, a position not named in the law.

This afternoon the Iroquois County States Attorney informed the board that the contract was void as it was never placed on the agenda with sufficient information to inform the public, just as we pointed out during the last meeting we attended and wrote in our first article on the matter found here.  

Upon notification that there was nothing to act upon as it relates to the contract, the board adjourned.  It would have been an interesting evening had they been told the contract was valid as it had a notification deadline of March 25th, 2017. Since the agenda did not have any action item listed, they would not have been able to act if they wanted to.  I wonder who drafted the first faulty agenda when the contract was put in place and who drafted the one for tonight’s meeting?

We were later informed that the employee had sent a letter to the board that reflected her willingness to extend the contract 60 days to negotiate.  I guess that ink was wasted as the contract is void and has been since the day it was signed.

We appreciate the State’s Attorney laying out very clearly why the contract was void and taking all the personal emotion out of the equation.

 

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Iroquois County – ETSB – hiring restricted to part time by ordinance!

Iroquois Co. (ECWd) –

We can only wonder what the excuse will be for the hiring of an Emergency Telephone System Board (ETSB), 911 Coordinator as a permanent position when the ordinance specifically stated they only had the power to hire, on a temporary basis, any staff necessary for the implementation or upgrade of the system.

(5) Hiring, on a temporary basis, any staff necessary for the implementation or upgrade of the system.

This is yet another example of a public body failing to read and apply the rules established by law and ordinance.  Not only did they not have the power to contract a full-time person they were restricted to only provide the employment on a temporary basis.

How many years must pass before it’s no longer temporary? 

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Iroquois County – Case and point – No power given to contract employment – Part 3

Iroquois Co. (ECWd) –

As pointed out in Part I and Part II, there are numerous problems with the contract validity as it relates to the ETS Board and their employee with a title of 911 Coordinator.

As the two County Ordinances make clear, no power was ever given for the ETSB to enter into contracts, let alone multi-year contracts for a person to perform their statutory duty.

Without the power given, they can not take the liberty to just do what they want.

Dillon’s rule is the law of the land.

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Iroquois County’s 9-1-1 “contract” contains questionable terms – PART 2 –

WATSEKA, IL. (ECWd)

For starters, the contract is invalid because it was never placed on a meeting agenda, which means it could never have been legally voted on and there are no records of any votes taken dealing with the contract that 911 Director Nita Dubble thinks she has.

For this article, we will go through the various provision within the alleged contract, and point out some very revealing faults within it.

Under “Term Of Employment” it mentions that she will “perform all the duties statutorily and customarily attached” to the position of 911 Coordinator. To find out what that actually means, we must look to the statute for the statutorily attached duties and to the Iroquois County 9-1-1 by-laws for any customarily attached duties. Finding none, this provision in invalid.

Additionally, the Administrative code pointed to as her duties in the contract, have been repealed. The Administrative Code section is already appealed as of May 2016, and the section in the ETSB Act pertaining to the ETSB duties will repeal on July 1, 2017.

We challenge the ETSB to point to any mention of a 911 Coordinator in the statute for starters.  It’s rather difficult for a person to perform all the duties statutorily and customarily attached to a position that is never named in the law.  The statutes pointed to in Part 1 make it clear what position is being employed.  No such language can be found in the ETSB statute for the position of 911 Coordinator.

“The Evergreen Clause”

Evergreen clauses are not valid when applied to public employment contracts when those contracts are so lop-sided in favor of the employee that it places a restrictive undue burdensome on the public body. Additionally, under Dillon’s Rule a public body only has the power vested in it by the legislature, and since the Automatic Contract Renewal Act [825 ILCS 601/5) specifically excludes public bodies from automatic contract renewals, they are unauthorized since the public body was never vested with the power to enter into one. Had the legislature wanted these types of contracts to be part of local government powers they would have included in the statute.

We understand that her attorney / attorney for the past ICOM/ETSB Board (which had no authority to hire an attorney in the first place) wrote this contract and placed the burden on the public body by using the evergreen clause.

An ETSB does not have the authority to enter into an employment contract, let alone a multi-year, continuously renewing the contract because it “binds-the-hands” of future boards [Milliken v. Edgar County].  New board members are appointed every year, thus an organizational meeting should take place after each appointment so at best if it was legal for a contract, it would be limited to the one-year term of the board.

This alleged contract also states that unless a certain action(s) happen, the contract automatically amends and extends, however, that itself would be an “action” and any “action” taken must be placed on an agenda of a public meeting and voted on in public for the action to be valid. This contract was never placed on any agenda and therefore has never been amended or extended. “No action is action – the action of taking no action

This contract also allows the coordinator to notify the board that she will engage an attorney to work on her behalf at the board’s expense – which would constitute an illegal act since the statutory legal counsel for the 9-1-1 is the Iroquois County State’s Attorney and any attempt at using public funds to pay for a private attorney (without the Court ordering it) is a crime.

In addition, the Savings Clause provides the simple solution for all of those wishing to insist she has a legal contract.

ln the event any section or portion of this Employment Agreement shall be held invalid or unenforceable by any agency or court of competent jurisdiction or by reason of any existing or subsequently enacted legislation, such decision or legislation shall apply only to the specific section or portion thereof specifically affected by such decision or legislation and the remaining sections or portions of this Employment Agreement shall remain in full force and effect.

Public bodies were not given the power to enter into automatic renewal contracts, thus existing legislation forbids such action and that section in the contract can be declared invalid by any agency, as in the ETSB.  In addition, with the Evergreen Clause section invalid, this particular contract terminates March 25th, 2017.  It would appear doing nothing more than notifying the employee there is no contract, extension or otherwise, she becomes an “at-will” employee at 12 am Saturday, March 25th, 2017.

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Iroquois County 911 Employment Contract violates law – Part 1

Iroquois Co. (ECWd) –

We obtained an employment contract and related documents tied to an employment issue in Iroquois County for a position they refer to as “911 Coordinator.”  Please take special note of the fact no such position can be found in any statute in Illinois.  We contend the contract related to this particular employment position is invalid for several reasons of which some are very simple to understand and others a little more complex. In order to fully represent the facts, in this case, this will be a three part article.

Dillon’s Rule.  It is the bedrock of interpreting our laws and if there is a question of whether or not a local government has a certain power. This is commonly referred to as statutory construction.

Dillon’s Rule construes grants of power to localities very narrowly. The bottom law is — if there is a question about a local government’s power or authority, then the local government does NOT receive the benefit of the doubt. Under Dillon’s Rule, one must assume the local government does NOT have the power in question.

In legal language, the first part of Dillon’s Rule reads like this: Local Governments have only three types of powers: 1.) Those granted in express words; 2.) Those necessarily or fairly implied in or incident to the powers expressly granted; and 3.) Those essential to the declared objects and purposes of the corporation, not simply convenient, but indispensable.

It is the second part of the Dillon Rule, however, that puts the vise on local government’s powers. This part states that if there is any reasonable doubt whether a power has been conferred on a local government, then the power has NOT been conferred. This is known as the rule of local government powers. (Dillons Rule)

According to past contract validity matters in Iroquois County, Jim Devine, the County States Attorney, correctly stated during a County Board meeting that a contract in place that was never on the agenda is invalid. He was referring to a contract issue with ICOM and the County. It would be invalid because it was never properly noticed to the public. Proper notice obligation is clear in the Open Meetings act.

Section 2.02C clearly states, “Any agenda required under this Section shall set forth the general subject matter of any resolution or ordinance that will be the subject of final action at the meeting.”

Devine is also on record stating; “He explained that the agenda used by the County Board must show specifically, any action or discussion that is expected to take place at their meetings. The prior agenda was too vague and did not show action, which is a violation of the Illinois Open Meetings Act.”

Applying his own standard, the Emergency Telephone System Board (ETSB) agenda fails even the most basic legal scrutiny as it relates to any action on a contract. 

One need only read this agenda to see, there is no general subject matter of any resolution or ordinance that will be the subject of final action at the meeting as it relates to contracts. Nor does this agenda meet the very requirements pointed out by the Iroquois County State’s Attorney Jim Devine.

Anyone who attempts to imply listing “contracts” on the agenda under a Committee Reports heading is sufficient would be well advised to read Allen v. Clark County Park District, a case we won in the Appellate Court recently as it related to agenda items and their sufficiency.  This is now case law in Illinois.

Reading the minutes from the meeting in question, it is clear they attempted to take action under the item VIII Committee Reports section F item. How is it that a committee has authority to take action under an agenda item pointing to reports? Or was this a slick attempt to provide a contract for an employee without raising any attention to what was happening?

Regardless, the minutes do not reflect anything more than a motion being made. There is no second to the motion nor any annotation that the motion passed and if so by what vote count.

Loy made a motion to accept the employment agreement for Nita Dubble with the additions and corrections on the agreed initialed copy signed by the ETSB and Dubble.

Any attempt to imply there was a proper vote and claim it was just not recorded properly, proves they voted on a matter not properly listed on an agenda, thus such action is voidable by the courts or the ETSB can simply declare it void ab initio.    In addition, committees providing committee reports do not have the power to enter into or vote for a contract, which is the only place the word contract appears on the agenda. This agenda was the very one provided by Nita Dubble when I asked for the agenda for the meeting in which the contract was claimed to have been approved.

Dillons Rule.

Where in the statute for ETSB does it give them the power to hire a 911 Coordinator?

It does not!

In fact, the very duties of planning the 911 system, Coordinating and Supervising the implementation, upgrading, or maintenance of the system, including the establishment of equipment specifications and coding systems is a duty of the ETSB, not a hired employee of that board.

The statute is VERY clear and assigns specific powers. As it relates to employees, it only authorizes the hiring any staff necessary for the implementation and upgrade of the system.

This is very important to understand because what we really have here is a neglect of duty by the ETS Board as it relates to what they are supposed to be doing. The statute assigned the board members the powers and duties of Coordinating and Supervising the system. It did not give them the power to delegate their duties to someone else through a contract. This is no different than a States Attorney who represents the county. Those powers are vested in that position and they cannot be delegated to others without statutory direction. In the case of the States attorney, they can have a special prosecutor appointed by statute, thus another person performing his duties. There is no such authority for the ETS Board to delegate their statutory duties to anyone else. They are appointed by law and it is their duty to perform the duties assigned to them by ordinance and law.

This “Coordinator” title and position typically come from the initial legal hiring of staff to implement the original system and those involved worked themselves into a full-time job by doing what the Board is statutorily directed to do.

As it relates to hiring staff, it does not give them the power to enter into an employment contract. Had the legislature intended for them to have that power they would have outlined that authority in the statute, just as they have in numerous other statutes. A few examples are found below.

County Health Department Contract power provided for Public Health Administrator 55 ILCS 5/5-25013 (B)7. Enter into multiple year employment contracts with the medical health officer or public health administrator as may be necessary for the recruitment and retention of personnel and the proper functioning of the health department.

School Code Contracting power provided for Superintendents 105 ILCS 5/10-23.8Superintendent contracts. After the effective date of this amendatory Act of 1997 and the expiration of contracts in effect on the effective date of this amendatory Act, school districts may only employ a superintendent under either a contract for a period not exceeding one year or a performance-based contract for a period not exceeding 5 years.

Park District Code Power to Contract Director. – 70 ILCS 1205/8-1 (i) To make contracts for a term exceeding one year, but not to exceed 3 years, notwithstanding any provision of this Code to the contrary, relating to: (1) the employment of a park director, superintendent, administrator, engineer, health officer, land planner, finance director, attorney, police chief, or other officer who requires technical training or knowledge;

Employment power tied to a term

Highway Code(605 ILCS 5/5-202)(a) Except as provided under subsection (b) of this Section the term of office of each county superintendent of highways is 6 years and until his successor is appointed and qualified.

Water District70 ILCS 3705/ Sec. 7. The board of trustees may appoint a general manager to serve a term of five years and until his successor is appointed, and his compensation shall be fixed by resolution of the board.

You will not find ANY statutory authority for the ETSB to enter into employment contracts. Had the legislature wanted the ETSB to have the power to enter into employment contracts delegating their duties to an employee it would have reflected such authority in the statutes like they have in many other statutes pertaining to public agencies in this state.

If the ETSB can’t point to statutory authority to enter into an employment contract with a person then they don’t have the power to do it. Dillon’s Rule is the law in Illinois and if you doubt that, listen to the 21:44 mark of the audio from this Appellate Court hearing where the Justice on that court explained Dillions rule quite well.

http://edgarcountywatchdogs.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/1076.mp3

Below is my brief presentation to the ETSB at their last meeting on this specific matter.  We encourage them to ask the key question, where in the statute does it give them the power to enter into contracts for a position of 911 Coordinator?  Such a position is nothing more than a created title by people trying to secure their own job.

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Iroquois County 911 Gives No-Bid Software Contract –

WATSEKA, IL. (ECWd) –

According to an email form the Iroquois County State’s Attorney, he concurred with the purchase of Emergency Telephone System Computer Aided Dispatching software without putting it out for bidding as state law requires.

His email claims that:

  • EmergeTech is already compatible with their existing hardware
  • EmergiTech would put the 911 center closer to next generation 911 mandates
  • Purchasing different hardware would require all new technology, incompatible with existing hardware with unknown results
  • EmeriTech’s track record is known and has been proven to be reliable and any enhancements would follow suit because of its known compatibility and reliability
  • Training staff on new hardware vs existing hardware with enhancements would lead to mistakes costing lives

What he didn’t say was whether all the other companies out there were incompatible with existing hardware, could not get them closer to next gen 911, required different hardware, were not reliable or known, or would cause mistakes with training on other software.

There are numerous CAD software companies out there that could have effectively done the job, and maybe a little less expensive, but they didn’t even get the chance, even though state law requires bidding on contracts of this size. Nothing in the statutes even mentions any of the items mentioned in the email as reasons not to bid the contract out.

This is yet another example of a State’s Attorney failing at their post by providing legal advice that is in conflict with the law.

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Iroquois County Farmland owners sue wind farm company

Mon, 06/27/2016 – 5:25pm | Will Brumleve

Attorney J. Dennis Marek of the Kankakee law firm Marek, Meyer and Coghlan filed a two-count lawsuit in Iroquois County Circuit Court on behalf of Charles, George and Howard Haley.

Named as defendants are San Diego-based EDF Renewable Energy, which owns and operates the Pilot Hill Wind Farm, along with Cincinnati-based Vision Energy, which sold its ownership to EDF in 2014.

The lawsuit seeks an annual payment of $4,540 for the next 35 years, plus a one-time payment of between $50,000 and $74,000, as damages against . . . continue reading at the News-Gazette (HERE) . . .




Pilot Hill Wind Farm damaged by…wind –

PILOT HILL, IL. (ECWd) –

The Pilot Hill Wind Project, located in Kankakee and Iroquois counties in Illinois was the target of wind today.

Yes, wind damaged the wind turbine –

This project is a 175 MW Farm and consists of General Electric (GE) and Vestas turbines and happens to sit on the same electric grid powering Microsoft’s Chicago Area Datacenter.

It began producing power in September of 2015 – which makes this project and turbine not even a year old yet. Hope its not an indication of things to come.

Learn more about the damage these things inflict on their neighbors here: “Our Living Hell

Photos contributed by Jo Stolfa Whitman (here).
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Broken-Turbine




Reporter falls out of chair during meeting –

IROQUOIS CO., IL. (ECWd) –

During an almost two-hour meeting of the Iroquois County Tax Committee, a local reporter falls out of her chair.

Pay close attention to the top-right of the video:

https://youtu.be/6I15rY5Fh0w

 

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IroquoisCounty




Governor Rauner Adds 11 Counties to State Disaster Proclamation for Flooding –

SPRINGFIELD, IL. (ECWd) –

January 5, 2016

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State Continues Supporting Communities Dealing with Flood Impacts
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SPRINGFIELD – Governor Bruce Rauner today added 11 counties to the state disaster declaration for widespread flooding. Those counties include Cass, Cumberland, Iroquois, Lawrence, Marion, Menard, Moultrie, Pike, Richland, Sangamon and Vermilion.
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Last week, Gov. Rauner declared Alexander, Calhoun, Christian, Clinton, Douglas, Jackson, Jersey, Madison, Monroe, Morgan, Randolph and St. Clair counties state disaster areas after heavy rains caused several rivers and waterways to surge to record or near-record levels.  Today’s announcement brings the total number of declared counties to 23.
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“The impacts of this flood event have been felt in many communities across the state,” said Gov. Rauner. “We’re continuing to provide personnel and resources communities need as they battle flood waters and begin their recovery process.”
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A state disaster declaration makes a wide variety of state resources available that can help communities respond and recover from flooding.  Such resources include sandbags, sand, pumps, trucks, inmate crews and other assistance to ensure public safety.
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The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) in Springfield was activated Dec. 28 to coordinate the state’s flood response and has operated since that time to coordinate deployment of state personnel and resources to help communities protect public health and safety.
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As flood waters begin receding in some areas, local emergency management agencies are beginning to collect damage information from affected people and units of local government. That information will be forwarded to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), where it will be reviewed to develop a picture of the overall impact on people and local governments.
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If the initial damage information shows losses that may meet thresholds for a federal disaster declaration, the state could request that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA ) join state and local officials for a more thorough assessment of the damage.  If it appears the state meets the federal assistance criteria, the governor could request a major disaster declaration from the President.
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There are two separate federal assistance programs. The Individual Assistance program offers grants and low-interest loans to people affected by disasters. The Public Assistance program provides reimbursement up to 75 percent of eligible costs incurred by local governments as they dealt with the disaster and subsequent recovery.
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While there is no defined damage amount for Individual Assistance, the state’s past experience with requests for federal assistance shows that it takes hundreds of homes with severe damage to qualify for the program. The Public Assistance program does have a population-based threshold, which for Illinois is $18.1 million statewide. Once the state meets the statewide threshold, individual counties would also have to meet a threshold of $3.56 times the county’s population.
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IEMA Director James K. Joseph says it will take a few weeks to gather the initial damage assessment information from local emergency management officials since some impacted counties are still dealing with high waters.
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“Flood waters need to recede before local officials can get an accurate accounting of the damage,” said Joseph. “Our staff is working closely with all of the affected counties to help the process proceed as quickly as possible.”
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For updates on the current situation, visit the Ready Illinois website at www.ready.illinois.gov​.
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The Ghost of Doug Corbett- AG says FIPHD violated FOIA

Iroquois Co. (ECWd) –

In another fine example of how bad things are at the Attorney General’s Public Access office.  Twenty months after a request for review was submitted to them, they finally confirm a violation occurred, however, they claim they can’t direct the records be turned over because the FIPHD was dissolved.

Hello?  Just because they are dissolved does not mean the records don’t exist.  Is it asking to much for someone to take some initiative to ask where the records are at?  Surprise, the records are in the possession of Iroquois County.

Had those records been properly provided there would have been additional evidence of the criminal expenditure of federal flood grant money.

Below is the AG response provided to Will Brumleve, an award winning reporter for the Paxton Record who we had been working with on the flood grant fraud by Doug Corbett.  When the AG fails to do their job in a timely manner, the public cannot be informed, and the bad actors get away with misapplying millions of dollars.




Pioneer Trail Wind Farm seeks permission to kill endangered bats –

Ford and Iroquois Counties, IL. (ECWd) –

We were forwarded a public notice published in a local newspaper in northern Vermilion County.

The notice was published by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, IDNR, and it is for an application by the Pioneer Trail Wind Farm’s for an “incidental take permit” that would authorize them to kill Indiana and long-eared bats – presumably while the turbines are in operation – and for the next 40 years.

Indiana and long-eared bats are classified according to the Endangered Species Act.

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bats (WinCE)




Cary Hagen – “Merry Christmas”!

Iroquois Co. (ECWd)

Many times I have stated, “you cant make this stuff up”, and once again those words ring so true.

With numerous news agencies finally covering the criminal acts we have been exposing for over a year by a select few Iroquois County employees it appears Forest Gump got it right.

Stupid is as Stupid Does!

The Daily Journal reported on the coverage today and yet again, Cary Hagen has opened her mouth and exposed herself!   –  Hagen reported that yes, she charged Christmas gifts to a department credit card — but not for her own giving, rather for the purchase by the department of gifts for employees and service people including cleaners, trash haulers and delivery people.

Is this a public admision of using public funds for private purpose? 

Shall we remind everyone once again?  Public Funds, property or credit shall be used only for public purpose! (Illinois Constitution Article VIII Section 1)

Does anyone honestly believe purchasing Christmas gifts with a public credit card to give gifts to employees and service people to include cleaners, trash haulers and deliver people is a legal expenditure of our tax dollars?

Under what statute would the delivery people, such as the postman, UPS driver etc.  be entitled to receive a tax payer funded Christmas present?  Under what statute would the company contracted to clean offices be entitled to receive a tax payer funded Christmas present?  If it’s OK for them to get gifts why not every other person in the county?  Why not each patient that walks through the door?  Seriously, where does it stop?

The answer is simple, Their is no statute that allows them to do what they did!  In fact, the very foundation of our state laws, our Constitution, makes it very clear!  The use of public funds in this fashion is not permitted by law and someone some day must be held accountable!




Iroquois County reveals forensic audit results –

Ford-Iroquois Co. (ECWd)

Once again our work has been independently validated!  The disbanded Ford-Iroquois County Public Health Department was a cesspool of corruption, and Iroquois County State’s Attorney, Jim Devine, has failed to prosecute a single person.

Andrew Garret with Garret Discovery was tasked with a computer forensic audit on hard drive images created by Clifton, Larson and Allen Accounting Firm, in response to a forensic financial audit requested by the Ford Iroquois County Health Department Board for evidence of waste, fraud and/or abuse.

The results should infuriate each and every person in this state, and the evidence  is clear this audit uncovered proof that outright theft has taken place. (Click here to review the report presented to the board)

By all indications Doug Corbett, former FIPHD administrator, and his right hand employee, Cary Hagen, appear to capture the heart of the illegal activity. However, Julie Clark may well have set the standard for a true “Jekyll and Hyde” demeanor by a public official.

Communications on social media and E-mail between this group continually reflect a Christian leaning ideology, while at the same time they are blatantly stealing from the public.  It is beyond me, and others, how these people can sleep at night while insinuating they are God-focused people, when in reality they’re nothing more than wolves in sheep’s clothing fleecing the public at every turn.

I believe this statement read by the Iroquois County Board Chairman Rod Copas sums it up best. We will post the video from today’s meeting after we get it uploaded.

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Doug Corbett, Julie Clark, Stan Clark, Cary Hagen – Collusion confirmed-

Iroquois Co. (ECWd) –

Ford-Iroquois Public Health Department former employees, Doug Corbett, Julie Clark, and Cary Hagen were colluding on the illegal solar panel purchase in direct violation of the law.

You must read the previous article on this matter to grasp the magnitude of this fraud and the value of recent e-mails uncovered.  (Click here for previous article on Solar Panel Fraud – Iroquois County).  Many of the local supporters of these un-prosecuted criminals claimed we lied and twisted the facts, all while the documents support every word expressed.

Interestingly enough these people were stupid enough to refuse to give us the recently obtained e-mail records requested in our FOIA’s, so maybe it is time to take them back to court? (Click here for previous FOIA request in which they failed to provide key records under item #4)

These records, as if the others were not enough, prove without question the Solar Panel procurement process by this group was illegal and they orchestrated events to make it happen, as well as tried to cover it up by concealing these particular records.

Stan Clark, owner of Day & Night Solar is the spouse of Julie Clark, former FIPHD employee and by all indications she was a ring leader in the process.  She happens to be the  sister to convicted criminal Deanna Lustfelt, who just happens to be the wife of Iroquois County Circuit Judge Gordon Lustfeldt. (Indictment Here) (Judgment Here).  As pointed out in this article, it appears these actions must run in the family!

Stan Clark was included in the communications on the scheme to allow this fraud to take place, and considering State’s Attorney Jim Devine has done absolutely nothing to hold these people accountable it makes you wonder why?  Is the fact he has to bring cases before a judge who is related by marriage to these people?  Is it because the sitting Sheriff is the brother to one of these law breakers?  Is it because of knowledge of questionable past actions by certain people in the county have been kept secret?  Or is it more of the same for Illinois State’s Attorneys who simply refuse to prosecute public corruption……..unless of course it involves the apposing political party?

Regardless of the reasons, the timeline of facts prove without question Cary Hagen, Julie Clark, and Doug Corbet all played a role in these illegal activities based on the paper trail.

June 24th, 2011 – Doug Corbett claims “Good News” – Cary Hagen spoke with the state’s attorney and was informed we don’t have to go public to accept bids over $10,000.

Why is it “Good News” to not have a public bid?  Does anyone purchase things like insurance without first getting multiple quotes to ensure you are getting the best deal?  Don’t most people drive several blocks in order to get gas a few cents cheaper?  Why is it “Good News” that they don’t have to have public bids?

 Three days later, a new twist in the communication to the same people who received the June 24th e-mail. 

June 27th – 2011 – Doug Corbett claims State’s Attorney stated they do not have to have sealed bids and they need to change their procurement policy.

According to Jim Devine, no such communication ever took place.  One that did take place on this matter was a response to the forensic auditor, who failed to find the  key e-mail evidence of the collusion.  Devine made it clear he did not advise Cary Hagen of what she claimed in her e-mail, and in fact if he would have told her anything, implying that he doesn’t recall any communication with her on it, he would have told her they must have public bids for anything “over” $10,000.00.

Why send that communication at all?   Was it to provide cover to the scheme they concocted to commit this fraud?  Records prove that Cary Hagen and Julie Clark discussed changing the policy earlier in the morning of this communication.  Why send this e-mail out?  All indications point to an attempt to provide cover.

Less than two hours after Corbett’s email on the 27th, Stan Clark, owner of Day and Night Solar, who was included on the June 27th, 2011 e-mail asks: “This is good I presume?”

Forty Five minutes later Julie Clark, wife of Stan Clark, sends a response to her husband with the clincher that at the time probably gave them reason to celebrate however now that this has been exposed may send them seeking a good criminal defense attorney!

“This is good I presume?” :   “Yes, Cary and I discussed this earlier this morning.  We are going to change our policy to read that we don’t have to get sealed bids.”

For starters, employees have NO AUTHORITY to arbitrarily change a policy of the public body.  Only the trustees of that public body have that power and these people knew that as was evident from numerous meeting discussion.

The communications between Doug Corbett, Julie Clark, Stan Clark with Day & Night Solar, and Cary Hagen show the collusion that took place all in an effort to ensure the Solar Panel Purchase was done through the spouse of Julie Clark, which in essence puts money in her pocket as well.

Julie Clark’s e-mail confirms they were going to fabricate a policy to allow them to break the law.  Fabricate because the existing policy at the time forbid this type of action and they knew it because the actual procurement policy spells it out quite well, and Julie Clark was very familiar with it because she shared it in an email with Doug Corbett.  (Click here for procurement policy)

The confidence that they were going to get away with this fraud is shown in an e-mail Cary Hagen sent on August 1st, 2011 to the sales representative of Day & Night Solar, Andrea Wetzel.

“I’m going to start calling the Board of Health members for a special meeting to review the bids and to vote on a decision.”

I say confidence in their actions, because during our investigation it was quite evident the Health Board at that time did what ever Doug Corbett and his team suggested.  They were all asleep at the wheel and because of that it’s clear this team of law breakers knew they could funnel the solar panel purchase to Stan Clark with Day & Night Solar and the board would never know the real truth.

So confident, that the contract with Day & Night Solar was already signed before Cary Hagen sent her e-mail to the sales rep claiming they were going to get the board to vote on it! That was proven by the forensic audit and we exposed it in this article.

Click here for forensic audit to support our assertions the board was asleep at the wheel, page 6 of the forensic audit and that a contract was signed prior to the e-mail Cary claimed she was going to send to board members.

Below are the two recently uncovered e-mails that I suspect a small group in Iroquois county probably wished were never found.  They were subject to past FOIA request and it is clear the FIPDH people failed to provide them and it’s possible the forensic auditors either failed to find them or they found them and others within the county chose to suppress them from our requests.  Time will tell, it always does!

E-mails confirming Collusion on Solar Panel procurement

Cary Hagen E-mail to Day & Night Solar Sales rep August 1st, 2011

With these most recent e-mails its even clearer than before! Julie Clark, Doug Corbett, and Cary Hagen all played a role in the illegal Solar Panel procurement. Stan Clark, as the contractor, was kept in the communication loop of all the illegal activity as well!  Stay tuned for more evidence that shows other solar panel information was shared with Stan Clark which basically gave him a heads up of what the competitor was submitting!

 

 




Duke Energy’s Shirley Wind Farm Declared Health Hazard –

BROWN CO., WI. (ECWd) –

Tonight, October 14, 2014, the Brown County Board of Health voted to declare the Shirley Wind [Farm] a Human Health Hazard. The decision was based on a report of a year-long study conducted by the Enz family to document infrasound in homes within a radius of 6 miles of the Shirley Wind turbines.

The vote to declare it a Human Health Hazard puts Duke Energy’s Shirley Wind utility on the defensive to prove to the Board they are not the cause of the health complaints documented in the study and could result in a shut down order.

It is time for Illinois county health departments to start receiving complaints lodged based on wind turbines since a Wisconsin health department declared wind turbines as a health hazard and caused so many problems for families.

This is like having a swimming pool with no fence to keep toddlers from drowning.  We should not be doing this to the children of our communities!  They have suffered enough.

It is the duty of county health departments to collect information related to human health within their respective counties. Without a reporting mechanism, no collection can be had and therefore, the false reporting of no complaints filed will continue.

Information on the Shirley Wind Farm from Duke Energy’s web page:

Shirley Windpower Project highlights

  • Located in Brown County, Wisconsin
  • Generates 20 megawatts of electricity, enough to power approximately 6,000 homes
  • Began commercial operation in December 2010
  • Supplies electricity to the Wisconsin Public Service Corporation
  • Consists of 8 Nordex wind turbines

 

Photo credit: Better Way, Wisconsin

Photo credit: Better Way, Wisconsin

 




Team effort garners top 5!

Illinois – (ECWd)

A special thanks goes out to Reboot Illinois for their recent reporting on our investigative efforts in Ford and Iroquois County and by all indications the report was a hit.  (Their article here).

Our efforts garnered that story a top 5 spot as most popular items in the past week. Although the article gave us plenty of accolades, we could not have done it without key people of integrity stepping out of their comfort zone and standing up for what was right!  The real meaning of We The People is wrapped around the entire events that were exposed in that article.

A special thanks to the following because without this team effort, nothing gets fixed!

  • The whistle blower!
  • Will Brumlevee with the Paxton Record for great local reporting and additional investigative work
  • Rod Copas – Iroquois County Chairman for leading the charge
  • All other Iroquois County Board members who voted to fix things! 
  • The good citizens of both Ford and Iroquois County who came to the meetings and provided support for reform!

As reported by REBOOT

TOP 5 In case you missed them, these were the five most popular items on rebootillinois.com in the past week.

5. Corruption in Iroquois County was successfully rooted out by a citizen watchdog group.
4. Which Illinois towns have the worst-funded fire and police pensions?
3. The scores are in: How did Illinois’ Class of 2014 do on the ACT?
2. Here are 15 college hacks that will make your 2014-15 school year easier.
1. Travel these 10 creepy Illinois roads…if you dare.

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REBOOT ILLINOIS: Iroquois County corruption successfully rooted out…

From REBOOT Illinois:

The new Iroquois County Health Department began its operations July 1 as its own single-county department for the first time since 1980 after the Ford-Iroquois County Health Department shut down June 1 amid allegations of misappropriation of funds, mishandling of contract bids and other illegal behavior.

It all started with an anonymous tip from a whistle-blower.

Kirk Allen, head of the Edgar County Watchdogs (an organization founded in 2011 as an effort to hold government accountable), received a tip about possible wrongdoing by members of the health department. Allen said said he suspects the tip came from a neighbor of a department member. He and his Edgar County Watchdogs partner John Kraft began to investigate, filing Freedom of Information Act requests about the board’s meeting minutes and spending records, but noticed parts were missing.

“When you don’t get the full FOIA request, you know there’s a problem,” Allen said.

When the Iroquois County State’s Attorney ordered the…

Read more: http://www.rebootillinois.com/2014/08/22/editors-picks/caitlinwilson/iroquois-county-corruption-successfully-rooted/23543/#ixzz3BXHNdlHf

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Attorney John Kelly Lies to Iroquois County ETSB Again –

IROQUOIS CO. (ECWd) –

We have now confirmed with Cook County that John Kelly, self proclaimed 911 expert and purported Assistant State’s Attorney for numerous county Emergency Telephone System Boards (ETSB) has mislead the public again based on the most recent response received.

As outlined in previous articles, Mr. Kelley’s claim to have been an appointed State’s Attorney for several counties was a claim that had more holes in it than we have megabytes.

As a reminder, listen for yourself to the claims of who this man represents.

According to Cook County Clerk there is no such John Kelly acting as the Assistant State’s Attorney representing ETSB:

“I can inform you that the CCSAO does not employ an Assistant State’s Attorney named John Kelly. In addition, we have no documents to show that: (a) a court has appointed a John Kelly as a Special State’s Attorney or (b) that the CCSAO has retained a John Kelly as a Special Assistant State’s Attorney.” (Click here for letter from Cook County and see highlighted quote on page 2)

What is so exciting about this particular response is not just that it proves Mr. Kelley lied by claiming to be an Assistant State’s Attorney in Cook County, but the fact the Cook County understands the process of appointing  private counsel, which only a court can do.

So in closing to the matters of John Kelly, and what county ETSBs he represents, I think we can say with confidence based on all the FOIA responses, he is not an appointed Assistant State”s Attorney for 5 of the 6 counties he claimed.

The sixth county would be where all this started, Iroquois County!  That’s correct, Iroquois county has NEVER appointed this guy as an Assistant State’s Attorney to represent the ETSB, nor have the courts.  In fact, during last weeks County Board meeting the Chairman made it real clear that this guy is not the legal council for ETSB or ICOM.  Considering the real State’s Attorney, Jim Divine, was sitting right there during those claims by the chairman and did not dispute them, it’s pretty clear he does not represent Iroquois ETSB either!

So, even if this group tries to pull more lies out of their hat it wont work.  The lie we suspect coming next is that the State’s Attorney told them they could hire this guy.  The reason I suspect that’s coming next is because that’s exactly what the Health Department said when we exposed they had hired council outside the boundaries of the law, which was a lie!  Note that Jim Divine stepped in and put a stop to that situation.

If the State’s Attorney confirms he told them they could hire this guy, then two concerns rise to the top of the pile!

  1. Allowing such an action violates state law and if the top law enforcer of the county disregards the law and is allowed to get away with it then all bets are off for future accountability in that county.
  2. If such permission was given, his silence during the County Board meeting creates a huge conflict!

You see you can’t sit and listen to a claim made by a County Chairman and stay silent if you had given permission for this guy to be hired.  Failure to dispute the claim made by Mr. Copas points to the truth, which is no such permission was ever granted, nor was this guy ever appointed.

We have here yet another ETSB board running its little kingdom the way they want with no regard to the law.  They should be removed from office, as once again, those in charge have bankrupted themselves by doing things their own way instead of the legal way!

Now is the time Iroquois County needs to claw back the $30,000.00 that was paid to John Kelly.  Those funds are in fact recoverable and if the state’s attorney refuses to do so one can only wonder what is really going on in that office?

Iroquois County, it is your money, go after it!

Previous articles:

Original article in this series (HERE)

Attorney John Kelly lies about Kankakee County (HERE)

Attorney John Kelly lies about Will County (HERE)

Attorney John Kelly’s strange, and possibly invalid, Kane County contract (HERE)

Attorney John Kelly not an ASA in Boone County (HERE)




Iroquois Co. 911 dispatcher risked lives!

IROQUOIS CO. (ECWd) –

What would you do if you called 911 and ask for the Fire Department for a Hazardous Material situation and found out they mocked your occupation level, experience, and failed to dispatch the very agency you asked for on the initial call? 

This is the first of several exposures to come as it relates to County Emergency Telephone System Boards (ETSB), their directors, and the dispatchers on the front line as the key communication point to the public in need of emergency assistance.

Dispatchers use a computer-aided dispatch system, receive emergency calls from the public requesting police, fire, medical or other emergency services.   They “should” determine the nature and location of the emergency; determine priorities, and dispatch police, fire ambulance or other emergency units as necessary and in accordance with established procedures.

Clearly when a call comes in and the caller specifically requests the Fire Department for a chemical release they should dispatch the closest Fire Department at a minimum.

The dispatcher is not there to make a decision as to how bad the leak is or if the requested agencies are really needed.  They are there to dispatch the closest agency requested, and in this particular case they failed miserably and should be held accountable.

The opening question is exactly what happen in Iroquois County a few years ago and we have obtained a copy of all those communications for all to hear and judge for themselves.

Having worked in Emergency Services for 25+ years to include currently holding the position as Fire Chief and EMT responding to emergency calls regularly, I was floored when I listen to this particular call.  The person who took this 911 call would be fired in most parts of the country for this kind of a failure. The Director of ETSB should be relieved from her post for failing to establish sound protocols for the dispatchers to utilize for 911 calls.  That failure put lives at risk!  

Key points to know and listen for:

  • The caller, although a part time employee at the time of the call was actually the plant manager for 30 years and had recently retired and was filling in part time to help out.  (30+ years of experience!)
  • Dispatcher DID NOT call the Fire Department as requested
  • Dispatcher was told the plant was SOUTH of Cisna Park yet he reports later in the call it was NORTH of Cisna Park.
  • Dispatcher mocks the caller with implications that since he is a part time employee he is stupid.
  • Dispatcher brags about his knowledge of this type of chemical release and downplayed the risk involved.
  • The tank size was reported to us as a 30,000 gallon Anhydrous Ammonia tank.

Over a MILE of residents were evacuated because of this chemical release!

From our understanding, with divine intervention, no one was seriously injured in this chemical spill that was downplayed by the dispatcher who failed to provide the very emergency agency requested until much later in the call when it became clear he screwed up!  Note at the end of this communication it appears he knows there is a problem with his actions!

What was ever done to these people who failed the public?  If you know who the dispatcher was and what actions were taken please let us know for further reporting!




Iroquois Co. ETSB Attorney – Story not adding up!

IROQUOIS CO. (ECWd) –

After finally getting a partial response out of Kankakee County, we can confirm yet again, John Kelly is not an Assistant State’s Attorney for Kankakee County, contrary to his claim that he is.

“I represent Kankakee County 911 Board as appointed special Assistant State’s Attorney “

Another lie?  

As you can see from the document received from Kankakee, John Kelley’s name is nowhere to be found for the named Assistant State’s Attorneys.

We are waiting on Cook County to respond to the final FOIA request on this matter, but so far Mr. Kelley has been proven wrong 3 times.   Will, Boone, and now Kankakee Counties do not show Mr. Kelley as an Assistant State’s Attorney.

Download (PDF, 81KB)

 

 

 




Attorney John Kelly, ETSB “expert”, strange Kane County contract –

IROQUOIS CO. (ECWd)

In yet another interesting twist of facts, we must expose more serious problems made by the ICOM/ETSB attorney during his recent rant to justify his existence as the ETSB attorney.

As referenced in this article, the claim of being an Appointed State’s Attorney for Will County was not accurate.   That was the same for Boone County outlined in this article.

I revived back the response from Kane County, and let’s just say we are  going to have some fun with this one!   Kane County provided records that included John Kelly as a Special Assistant State’s Attorney for representation on matters for ETSB.

Where do we start?

Let’s start with what the Illinois Supreme Court said as it relates to any contract with a private attorney to represent the county.

“Any contract with a private attorney that was not supported by specific enabling legislation would be ultra vires. (Abbot V. County of Adams, 214 Ill. App. 201.) (Click here for AG Opinion with the information)

Now, before this “expert” attorney starts crying about that case and claiming it doesn’t apply since ICOM is the one that hired him, not the county of Iroquois, I reference it because it directly applies to the actions of Kane County and when we are done you will see why that agreement is just as the Supreme Court stated, Ultra Vires 0r VOID!

If ICOM is the agency that hired this “expert”, then can anyone show us ANY statutory language that permits ETSB money to be transferred to ICOM in order to pay legal fees for ICOM?  Don’t waste your time as we have been down this road before, and there is no statutory language that permits the use of ETSB money for private counsel and all funds used for such purpose are recoverable.

Problems with Mr. Kelley’s claim of being a Special Appointed State’s Attorney to Kane County:

  • Assistant State’s Attorneys, by statute, are to be paid out of the County Treasury quarterly, on the order of the county board. (55 ILCS 5/4-2003)

The professional Service Agreement with Kane County violates the payment process outlined by Statute for an Assistant State’s Attorney. Specifically, that agreement outlines that it is the ETSB board that is required to pay the lawyer. Even the County Ordinance outlines that the payment for an Assistant State’s Attorney is determined by the State’s Attorney’s office within the budgetary limitations set by the County Board. The County Board does not set limitations on the ETSB Budget. So again, the funding mechanism for this attorney is contrary to law and established ordinance.

  • Assistant State’s Attorneys are employees of the county.

AG Opinion S-567 references Assistant State’s Attorney’s as “employees of the county”.  That being the case, he cannot be a Special Assistant State’s Attorney if he is a private contractor as outlined in the agreement.

  • ETSB funding is established from a fee placed on phone lines at a rate set by the county board. Article VII section 9 of the Illinois Constitution outlines that Compensation of officers and employees and the office expense of units of local government shall not be paid from fees collected.

Article VII section 9 outlines that Compensation of officers and employees and the office expense of units of local government shall not be paid from fees collected. The 911 fee placed on phone lines at a rate established by the county can only be used as outlined by Constitutional limitations and State Statute, of which neither allow those funds to be used to pay for legal representation. That representation is to be provided by the State’s Attorney. I do believe a State’s Attorney could appoint an assistant to handle matters for ETSB, however, they would be employees of the county, duly sworn in as such and the funding for them must follow statutory guidelines, which means they may not be paid from funds collected through the ETSB fee placed on the public.

  • ETSB statute specifically lists what those funds may be used for (50 ILCS 750/15.4)

The Kane County agreement outlines under paragraph #4 that this attorney is an Independent Contractor. Such language is not found in the statute for Assistant State’s Attorney’s. An appointed Assistant State’s Attorney is an employee of the county. The use of the ETSB fee to pay an attorney is inconsistent with the Illinois Constitution as well as the ETS Statute.  We challenge this attorney to provide any statutory language that would support using ETS money for private counsel.  Even the ICC, the state regulatory agency has confirmed no such language exists, yet we have lawyers doing as they please, the law be damned.

  • There is no specific enabling legislation that permits a contract with a private attorney to represent a body of the County, ETSB.

Sec. 15.4 of the ETS statute outlines 10 things that funds may be used for. In fact, it states, “Expenditures may be made only to pay for the costs associated with the following”, then it lists very specific items those funds may be used for. You will not find any language that permits those funds to be used to hire private counsel or pay an attorney appointed by the State’s Attorney.  Doing so fly in the face of Illinois Supreme Court case law, AG Opinions, and state statutes!  The reason being is that it is the elected State’s Attorney that has the statutory duty to represent the county, with ETSB is a body of the county.

Download (PDF, 1.7MB)

We the People are the ones paying for these people to NOT read the law, and they are lawyers? 




Lawyer Lied again?

IROQUOIS CO. (ECWd) –

Wendy Davis, author of, “Attorney explains 9-1-1, ETSB Stance“, that appeared in the Times-Republic made the following claim regarding John Kelly, attorney hired by ICOM/ETSB.

Kelley is an Assistant State’s Attorney representing Kane, Will, Boone, and Kankakee Counties in 911 matters.  State’s Attorney offices, he said” (John Kelley) “don’t have the manpower to represent something as specific as ETSB

Either Wendy Davis got it wrong again or the Attorney lied, not sure which.  I submitted a FOIA to Boone County and yet again, the facts do not reflect what was reported by Wendy Davis.  I reference her because the only audio I have of John Kelley making a claim that he is representing multiple counties makes no mention of Boone.  Since Ms. Davis reported that he was an Assistant State’s Attorney for that county, I have to assume Mr. Kelley made that claim during the meeting or some part of any questions she might have asked.  (Click here for Wendy Davis report – first page last paragraph where she reports Boone County as one being represented)

As the world can see from the document below that came directly from Boone County State’s Attorney, Mr. Kelley IS NOT an Assistant State’s Attorney in Boone County.  So what is the truth in this matter?  John Kelley lied again or is this a case of clear pathetic reporting on behalf of the Times-Republic?

Download (PDF, 568KB)

Now she does quote Mr. Kelley with a statement that the State’s Attorney office doesn’t have the manpower to represent something as specific as ETSB.  That is a very strange quote, but since she is quoting him let’s look at how stupid that statement is.

What on earth does the manpower of an office have to do with representing something specific?  Normally, something that is truly a specific area of practice, which ETSB is not, knowledge would dictate the need for specialized representation, not manpower.  Besides, manpower in a State’s Attorney’s office is controlled by the county board and if they felt they didn’t have the manpower they can increase it accordingly.

My guess is this comment was yet another fluff comment by the lawyer to establish self importance and justification for his job.

I don’t think it’s going to work!