EDGAR CO. (ECWd) -
Jerry Lowery (Elected Clark County Board), Kevin Trogdon (Elected Edgar County Board), and Craig Smith (Elected Mayor of Paris), are currently appointed Trustees to the East Central Illinois Mass Transit District - in violation of the law. I have been asking the Edgar County Board for almost 11 weeks to replace the two trustees they appointed, without success, even after providing copies of the statute for them to read.
"No Trustee of any District may be an elected official of the municipality
or municipalities or county or counties creating the district."
One simple sentence in Section 4 (70 ILCS 3610/4) that is apparently too hard for people to read and comprehend. We reported this in a previous article where we noted the fact that Trustees for Mass Transit Districts cannot be elected officials of a municipality or county in the district.
If that isn't enough, additional restrictions are in the by-laws of the Mass Transit District they are trustees for, and are also listed in the Counties Code for County Board Members. So we have three statutes outlining that these three trustees are in violation of the law simply by being trustees and elected officials at the same time - and they continue to occupy those seats.
Letter to Edgar County State's Attorney
On September 4, 2012, after having come to the conclusion the Edgar County Board was taking no action, and had not planned to take any action on this subject, I had to resort to writing a letter to Mark Isaf, the Edgar County State's Attorney. In that letter, I outlined the fact they cannot be trustees and that by accepting the appointments, both Trogdon and Smith ipso facto resigned (automatically resigned) from their previous positions of Mayor and County Board respectively.
Mr. Isaf wrote a letter to the Mass Transit District explaining my complaint and vaguely asking them to inform him if they take any action. He is not their attorney as they do not fall under the county government like the ETSB does, so I will assume that is why he did not render his opinion in that letter. In my opinion, the only action to take is for the remaining trustees to declare three trustee positions vacant. No resignations needed since the appointments were prohibited and void.
Letter to Clark County State's Attorney
On September 11, 2012, I sent a letter to the Clark County State's Attorney which was similar to the first one, but I included the counties statute since the only Clark County appointed trustee was a Clark County Board Member. I understand the Clark County Board has already taken steps to correct this, but have not received confirmation as of publication.
To date, I have not received a response from either State's Attorney. You would think they could at least send a simple email explaination of what steps were or will be taken. Any information we receive will be updated.
When will our elected officials follow the law?
They can no longer deny knowledge of these violations of law, so are we to assume they condone them?
Why did not even one sitting county board member take a stand on the side of the law, and take steps to correct it?
What further steps must we take to ensure compliance?
I predict we will soon be reporting on three vacant trustee seats in the East Central Illinois Mass Transit District.