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June 18, 2024

Kings of Petty Politics Claim Watchdogs Harassing – Part 2

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On December 10, 2015

Edgar Co., IL. (ECWd) –
The Kings of Petty Politics Part 2 – Claiming That Watchdogs are harassing.
The Prairie Press Editorial Board says that:

“In our opinion the Watchdog action has nothing to do with better government but is a petty action meant to harass because Wood beat the candidate their group supported in the 2014 election.”

Wow! How absolutely ignorant of facts do you have to be to place that statement into print?

It’s like these people have never attended a county board meeting and are living under a rock.
It is well-known that we continuously refer to Dillon’s Rule when talking about local government. Named after Judge John Forest Dillon, this was the theory that state governments have preeminence over local governments, and is commonly now referred to as Dillon’s Rule. It was used in an 1868 Supreme Court case which basically states that local governments derive their power wholly from the state legislature. What this means, is that no matter how much something is wanted or needed, it cannot be done if the local government was not given the power to do it.
There is a competing theory from Thomas M. Cooley, who stated in 1871 that local government was a matter of right that state government could not take away. This theory is not used, at least not in Illinois.
The United States Supreme Court adopted Dillon’s Rule in 1891. Therefore, Illinois is a “Dillon’s Rule State”.
Contrary to the PP’s thinking, the action of removing the Sheriff from the 911 board was started back in 2012…LONG before we knew who would run for the next election. But those are the facts, and facts can be damning. Actually it was on April 9, 2012 (article here with video). Read about this 3 ½ year battle in our previous article (here).
This is why we started the quest to eliminate the Sheriff as a board member of the Edgar County Emergency Telephone Systems Board. We recognized the conflicts, and they were actual conflicts, with the Sheriff and a Deputy sitting on a board that reimbursed the Sheriff’s Department for dispatching. Never mind the fact that the past Sheriff himself recognized the conflict and stopped attending the meetings because of it.
Had there been internal Sheriff Department conflicts, it could have resulted in a deputy holding the Sheriff “hostage” by controlling, or partially controlling the Sheriff’s budget thru the ETS Board. Our original thoughts were both positions were incompatible with an ETS Board member, and we were proven correct with the recent AG opinion.
The Illinois Attorney General’s office tends to apply Dillon’s Rule, and in their opinion on the questions submitted to them (on September 27, 2012) by Mark Isaf, the Edgar County State’s Attorney, it was applied using the words “in the absence of express statutory authority” (article here):

Conclusion: “Based upon the facts that you have provided, and in the absence of express statutory authorization, the offices of Edgar County sheriff and Edgar County deputy sheriff are incompatible with the office of Edgar County Emergency Telephone System Board member. Accordingly, one person cannot hold both offices simultaneously. “

The bottom line here, is state law does not give authority to violate conflicts of interest. There have been situations where the legislature has identified potential conflicts and stated the conflicts can be minimized, which they did by placing into law the express statutory authority for a county board member to also be a member of the ETS Board.
This has nothing to do with anyone winning an election, as clearly the evidence and Truth prove this was started years prior to the 2014 election. I actually talked to Jeff Wood about this immediately after his first county board meeting and told him we were still pursuing this situation, and it did not matter who held the title of Sheriff, the conflict is still a conflict.
If we truly were interested in harassing, we would have posted an article about Sheriff Wood going over budget last fiscal year, but we didn’t.
Part 3 coming up…


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