DuPage Co. (ECWd) -
During the recent primary battles in DuPage County District 4 County Board race we exposed County Chairman Cronin regarding numerous misleading statements in a political flyer used by his hand-picked candidate, who by the way lost! (View that article at this link)
After publishing several articles pointing out concerns most taxpayers agree with regarding DuPage County and their leadership, we filed a few FOIA requests.
During a review of the Cronin e-mails in my recent FOIA, which by the way some were not provided that we know exist but more on that later, I found a particular chain of emails that once again tells us it's time for Cronin to be put out to pasture.
In the above-referenced campaign positions, Cronin wanted to "Expand ethics laws to cover all elected officials and employees".
Ethics Defined: moral principles that govern a person's or group's behavior.
I have said for years that moral principles can't be legislated. No matter how many laws you pass, they will never change a person's moral principals.
When a taxpayer sends in their tax bill they expect their money to be spent for a public purpose and within the confines of our laws. Specifically, Article VIII Section 1 (a) of our State Constitution which states; Public funds, property or credit shall be used only for a public purpose.
Most people with moral principals understand what that means however the pattern we have seen with elected officials and many others in public employ is one of entitlement and or disregard for the rules, as they don't apply to those in charge.........or so they think.
Cronin was a College of DuPage Foundation Board member. The COD Foundation is a 501C3 non-profit. As Chairman, his powers and duties are spelled out by statute in the county code. Note that there is no mention in the county code for the taxpayer funds or property to be used in the furtherance of Cronin's private board participation with the College of DuPage Foundation.
One need not look very far to see numerous Auditor General reports exposing state employees doing private business on state time. Turns out, Cronin has no problem with conducting private business on county time and even had his Administrative assistant handle his private matters on government time and did so with county property.
Although I support elected officials being involved in other organizations, they are not allowed to utilize the funds and property of the public body they were elected to for the purpose of conducting private business.
In this case, the taxpayers pay the salary, benefits, and own the computers being used by Cronin and his Administrative Assistant, however, instead of doing county business they were handling Cronin's COD Foundation matters.
From setting up COD Foundation Breakfast appointments to sending documents back and forth, it's clear the matters were not county business but in fact private COD Foundation business.
For a Chairman that made numerous false claims during the recent campaign about the College of DuPage and their governance, is it not fair to ask what kind of governance Cronin has that allows him and a county employee to take care of his personal matters tied to the COD Foundation?
Are his actions any different than the disgraced former Lincoln-Way Superintendent using school employees to perform private matters for him. (Chicago Tribune Southtown exposed that one) (Chicago Tribune Southtown exposed that one)
Have we forgotten Jerry Stermer, Governor Quinn's Chief of Staff who resigned over three e-mails that possibly violated state ethics law? (Media coverage of that here)
When people are in charge for too long and are never challenged they become embolden. If Cronin wants to sit on private foundation boards, that's great, but it's simply illegal to utilize your county paid Administrative Assistant and county computers to handle your communications with those private foundations, no matter who they are.
A review of the e-mail chain provided by DuPage County can be found below that confirm Cronin and his Administrative Assistant are in fact handling his private matters on county time and with county property, an apparent violation of Article VIII section 1(a) of our State Constitution.
It is becoming very evident that things are not quite as rosy at the county as some would have you to believe. This particular article is just the first of what will be a multi-part series exposing the tangled web that was created between COD, COD Foundation, and DuPage County of which it appears Dan Cronin is right in the middle of.
Our question to Cronin, why the need to expand ethics laws when the very laws we have are not being followed?
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