DuPage Co., IL. (ECWd) –
This has become routine in Illinois and a large part of why public corruption runs rampant at all levels of Illinois government.
Last summer, we wrote about DuPage County Board member Don Puchalski, who was also the appointed DuPage County Public Guardian and DuPage County Public Administrator, and how it was our belief those positions were incompatible with each other and in violation of the Public Officer Prohibited Activities Act. Violations of this law, if prosecuted and found guilty, are Class 4 Felonies according to Section 4 of the Public Officer Prohibited Activities Act.
Board Candidate Rolly Waller issued a press release on the subject (here). He also spoke on the subject at the October 25, 2016, DuPage County Board Meeting where Puchalski responded calling it a settled issue, with no conflict, and nothing but mud slinging (video here).
Waller also filed a complaint with the Office of the Executive Inspector General, since they oversee gubernatorial appointments (here), which was ultimately forwarded to Governor Rauner’s Office and the Office of Executive Appointments with no action taken.
Don Puchalski even requested an opinion from the Illinois Attorney General in an October 6, 2016, letter (here) – but later, and after winning the election, withdrew his request for an Attorney General’s opinion. From email exchanges within the AG’s office, nobody bothered to talk to either Pulchaski or Waller – leaving us to believe they never intended to issue an opinion in the first place.
After all the denials, claims of mud-slinging, and political maneuvering, State Representative Arthur Turner and State Senator Tom Cullerton sponsored a Bill to amend the Public Officer Prohibited Activities Act to specifically allow county board members to also hold the appointed positions of County Public Guardian and County Public Administrator.
It has not yet passed the Senate.
Like previous violations of law by public officials in DuPage and other counties, instead of following the law, they simply get the law changed – which is their right to try and accomplish, but it sets a bad precedent for Illinois public officials – one that essentially breeds corruption by demonstrating that laws do not matter.
Previous changes have been to pass a Bill concerning the election code, and backdate its effective date to allow extended times for publication of referendum. Another was to change the township code to authorize giving away mulch and delivering it onto private property. And changing the way drug funds must be utilized, after writing about a rogue State’s Attorney who chose to spend it outside what the current law allowed.
If this is what we have come to in Illinois, someone should tell us exactly which laws are to be followed, and which ones can be safely ignored.