“Integrity” Doing the right thing when no one is watching!
“Oath of Office” Giving your word as your bond to uphold the laws of the land!
“Ethics” Well-founded standards of right and wrong!
Do these virtues exist in Edgar County?
A few folks have stated we should move on and quit looking in the past in relation to what we here at the Edgar County Watchdogs have been covering, or should I say, uncovering.
I figure as long as we don’t have a trio of “precogs” and a “pre-crime” division in our police departments the only way to hold people accountable is to look at their actions, which are always past tense! I sometimes wonder the mindset of folks that think looking back and holding people accountable for their wrong actions is wrong, or somehow bullying.
More disturbing to me is to ask county board members a question and instead of getting an answer to the question they are more concerned about knowing who the person is you’re asking about. That in its self can be telling to how things have been done in this county for so many years. It seems to be all about who you know. Know the right people and you can do no wrong and rarely held accountable for the wrong.
Over the last year of my efforts to expose and try to fix wrongs I have seen a Chairman of the County Board go from trying to dress me down in a public meeting to now asking for my input to generate revenue for the county, which is running over $600,000.00 in a deficit. With that in mind I came up with a few ideas!
Holding people accountable in our system of government, a Republic, is done with laws that are to be enforced by our elected officials. In the case of Edgar County the chief law enforcement officer would be Mark Isaf, our elected District Attorney.
After sitting through numerous public meetings I have seen a few things take place that point to a few very simple solutions to generate income for this county that can help them crawl out of the hole they dug.
I have to credit the Animal Shelter committee for the idea as it was those people that have continued to harp on the enforcement of ordinances (local law) pertaining to dogs and pointed out doing so will generate a substantial revenue for the animal shelter……………….provided the board doesn’t transfer it into the General Fund………oh, wait, that’s another story.
What a novel idea they have!
Enforce the laws on the books and you can generate revenue!
I like the idea of enforcing laws that have financial penalties a whole lot more than raising my property taxes, which by the way were raised 104% last year, which is yet another story!
Considering our efforts have been to hold our elected officials accountable lets start from the top and work our way down through what looks like will be a 5-6 part series.
Mark Isaf takes his Oath of Office
I reference Mr. Isaf’s oath of office because he is the key to enforcing the law and duty bound to prosecute those who violate the law, and the fact he took an Oath to do so!
Revenue Generator Idea #1
For those not aware, state law requires all elected officials, and many others to sign an ethics statement established by the State of Illinois. (http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=129&ChapterID=2)
One portion of that statute in particular is the disclosure of economic interest. (http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=000504200HArt%2E+4A&ActID=129&ChapterID=2&SeqStart=5300000&SeqEnd=6300000)
It outlines that elected officials MUST fill out and sign the economic interest and also outlines the penalties for failure to do so, which is a $15 late fee if filed late and $100.00 a DAY for each day past the deadline. Now unless I miss something, if its OK to fine violators of the animal shelter ordinances wouldn't it make sense to go after “Elected People” who violate state laws?
This particular statute states: “State's Attorneys, with respect to counties, shall take appropriate action to collect the prescribed penalties.”
Based on Freedom of Information requests to the County Clerk I have discovered that an elected official failed to file their disclosure of economic interest for their first two years in office. Based on what the statute outlines pertaining to filing date requirements it appears we have 234 days of noncompliance with this particular portion of the statute. Basic math would reflect that as much as $23,415.00 could potentially be collected as penalties for failing to file.
Considering the County Board Chairman requested my input on raising revenues for the county may I suggest they discuss this matter with the States Attorney so that he "shall take appropriate action to collect the prescribed penalties" as outlined in state law?
I suspect an additional $23,415.00 would be a nice shot in the arm to the $600,000.00+ deficit we are currently facing! If the county board truly wants to generate revenue, let’s do it with enforcing our laws and the penalties that go with them instead of using creative accounting terminology to take if from divisions of county government or by raising fees and taxes!
I have the information on the elected official so if they are serious about doing the right thing and representing “We the People” I will hear from them.
Anyone taking any bets as to if they will contact us for the information?
Stay Tuned as there is a lot more to the story, regardless of what the County Board and States Attorney’s office does………or doesn’t do.