Hancock Co., IL. (ECWd) -
This is a follow-up to a previous article in which we wrote about Hancock County Board Members lying to the State's Attorney (here).
I attended the Hancock County Board Meeting on May 19, 2015 with the intention of speaking during the public comment portion of the meeting. On arriving, I noticed the agenda item "welcome visitors" - which is generally the place where people can address the board.
Little did I know that in Hancock County, they use that agenda item literally. To simply say "Welcome Visitors" and then move on with the meeting. There was no other place on the agenda for public comments.
Listen to the audio clip:
It appears that the local standard for speaking to the board is some sort of advanced notice so they can put it on the agenda. To me, that also implies that someone could make the decision to not put it there. This process violates the Open Meetings Act if they refused public comment by someone that showed up to a meeting and stated they wanted to address the board.
When I did get time to address the board, I talked about their failure to provide an email address for Freedom Of Information Act ("FOIA") purposes, their failure to answer requests for information submitted thru their website, complimented the State's Attorney, commented on bid-splitting, refusal to accept bids, the special meeting they held to retroactively approve the project in reference.
I left the building after public comment because it is a four hour drive back to Paris. It was later reported to me that one of the board members was asked about receiving paid work from a contractor on county contracts, and he stated that he had. It is also my understanding that the paid work was at prevailing wage from a contractor that he himself selected.
We have receive a box full of public records and are currently reviewing them for future publication.
In a nutshell, these people have been circumventing the law by bid-splitting and project-splitting to come under the mandated bidding requirements. It has to stop.