Candidate, DuPage County Board, District 1
630-865-5744, [email protected]
Date: Oct. 30, 2016
For Release: IMMEDIATE
HYPOCRISY OR FLIP FLOP? DUPAGE COUNTY BOARD CHAIRMAN DAN CRONIN
AND MEMBER DONALD PUCHALSKI AGREED WITH COUNTY BOARD CANDIDATE ROLLY WALLER
THAT ONE PUBLIC OFFICE WAS ENOUGH...FOUR YEARS AGO
Dan Cronin, Nov. 7, 2012: "The message is loud and clear. We don't want people in two offices out here."
BENSENVILLE, IL - DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin and Member Donald Puchalski were in agreement with County Board District 1 Candidate Rolly Waller that an individual should only hold one public office at a time...four years ago. At that time, two mayors and then-perceived adversaries of Cronin -- Pete DiCianni of Elmhurst and Gary Grasso of Burr Ridge -- were running for county board and announcing to maintain both positions.
On June 26, 2012, the DuPage County Board voted unanimously to place the advisory question on the ballot countywide: Should Illinois law permit an individual to hold two or more public elected offices simultaneously?
That same day, DuPage County issued a statement by Cronin in a press release entitled, "DuPage County Voters Will Weigh in on "Double-Dipping": We face serious and time-consuming challenges here at the county that demands the undivided focus and commitment of each County Board member, Cronin said. Holding two elected offices at the same time simply does not allow for the level of attention needed to fully and impartially serve taxpayers of DuPage County. I believe our voters will send a clear message that one elected office per person is enough.
On Aug. 1, 2012, just 36 days after voting in favor of the advisory question, Puchalski quietly accepted a state appointment for a second public office -- the office of DuPage County Public Guardian -- without stepping down from his county board position. He continues to hold three public offices -- DuPage County Board Member, DuPage Public Guardian and DuPage Public Administrator. Puchalski also currently collects a government pension from his former job with the Office of the Illinois Attorney General.
Waller says that this is a clear violation of Illinois Public Officer Prohibited Activities Act which states "no member of a county board, during the term of office for which he or she is elected, may be appointed to, accept, or hold any office". He filed a complaint on Sept. 29, 2016 with the Office of Executive Inspector General (OEIG) which has jurisdiction over The Governor's Office of Executive Appointments.
"The Act sees no difference between elected or appointed when it comes to additional positions a county board member shall hold. Both are illegal," Waller says. "In fact, the advisory question on the ballot in 2012 was redundant because the Act was already in place."
The sentiment of DuPage County officials seems to have changed in the past four years, at least when it comes to Puchalski's trio of offices. There have been no remarks from the county board chairman, no request from the board for an opinion, and no county press releases addressing it. Regardless of the board's opinions and silence, the law is already there and should be enforced, according to Waller.
Fifty-six-year DuPage resident and property tax payer Waller made public comment before the County Board on Oct. 25, 2016 on the matter and was immediately denounced; Cronin even allowed an unprecedented "rebuttal" by Puchalski during the public comment segment.
"In 2012, there was a consensus in the DuPage County board room that a county board member should only hold one public office at a time," Waller says. "The advisory question back then was a hypothetical. But Puchalski's holding of three public offices is here and has been going on for four years. No one there wants to talk about it, let alone enforce the law."
DuPage voters agreed overwhelmingly in 2012 that an individual shouldn't hold two public offices at once with a vote of 335,532 to 36,956.
The Chicago Tribune article published on Nov. 7, 2012, "Voters to Politicians: Hold One Office at a Time," quoted Cronin: The message is loud and clear, We don't want people in two offices out here.
"When I became aware of my opponent holding three public offices, I believed this was another example of cronyism and triple dipping," stated Waller. "I also saw this as a conflict of interest, as he, as a County Board member, votes on the funding of the Court Clerk's office and the Circuit Court, which oversees cases and determines payments to be made to the Public Guardian and Administrator."
Waller continued, "The more I learned and the more I researched, I realized that this was more than an ethical issue. It is a legal issue. In fact, it is illegal according to the Act. This matter goes beyond the political arena."
The OEIG investigates state executive complaints, then decides the appropriate agency for review. Waller expects a response soon.
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FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact Rolly Waller, 630-865-5744, [email protected] See below for link for DuPage County press release, Tribune article, a copy of Waller's 10/25/16 public comment, and video attachment of Tuesday's DuPage County Board meeting. Additional supporting documentation available upon request.
June 26, 2012 DuPage County Board Press Release
Nov. 7, 2012 Chicago Tribune article, "Voters to Politicians: Hold One Office at a Time"
Rolly Waller Public Comment to DuPage County Board 10/25/16
Good morning. My name is Rolly Waller. I am a candidate for DuPage County Board, as are the majority of the people before me.
You’ve probably all heard by now that I filed a complaint with the Illinois Office of the Executive Inspector General regarding the State appointments of Don Puchalski as DuPage Public Guardian and Public Administrator.
The Illinois Public Officer Prohibited Activities Act bans county board members from holding other elected and appointed positions.
Teams of esteemed lawyers are now scrutinizing the complexity of this statement: No member of a county board, during the term of office for which he or she is elected, may be appointed to, accept, or hold any office.
This isn’t complicated. This is crystal clear.
At first I considered it a conflict of interest for Mr. Puchalski to serve on the County Board, as he votes for funding for the Circuit Court, which in turn, determines his estate fees.
Today I’m here to talk about yet another conflict of interest.
Mr. Puchalski stated: "The public guardian is not an employee of the county. I receive no salary, and my office is not, in any way, funded by the County or managed by the County Board."
Then why is the State’s Attorney’s office defending Mr. Puchalski and his law firm associate in an ongoing probate case in the Circuit Court?
Furthermore, our State’s Attorney’s office is keenly aware that Mr. Puchalski votes to approve funding for the law enforcer’s office. If any agency should be aware of the Prohibited Activities Act, it should be this office.
I urge the County Board to review this conflict of interest and misuse of tax dollars, and to take appropriate action.