Cook Co. (ECWd) -
Over the years we have learned one of the fastest ways to identify if an elected official has any clue of what their job is, was to simply read the law they are bound by and then look for items in the law that they are supposed to be complying with and seek proof of that compliance. When they can't provide it, or provide a bunch of meaningless documents, we know they have no clue what they are doing.
Laura Morask, the sanctioned attorney who was elected as Township Supervisor is a perfect example of an elected official that is more interested in self-importance and control than compliance with the law.
For those not familiar with this Supervisor's failures, simply read through a few articles at this link.
Morask is costing the taxpayers a small fortune with her General Assistance administration that only delivers a whopping 16% to those who need it while all the rest goes to her self-appointed friend and administrative costs of the program.
One key requirement outlined in the law for General Assistance is under the full control and obligation of the Supervisor.
(305 ILCS 5/6-2) (from Ch. 23, par. 6-2)
Sec. 6-2. Amount of aid. The amount and nature of General Assistance for basic maintenance requirements shall be determined in accordance with local budget standards for local governmental units which do not receive State funds. For local governmental units which do receive State funds, the amount and nature of General Assistance for basic maintenance requirements shall be determined in accordance with the standards, rules and regulations of the Illinois Department.............
In local governmental units which do not receive State funds, the grant shall be sufficient when added to all other income, money contributions and support in excess of any excluded income or resources, to provide the person with a grant in the amount established for such a person by the local governmental unit based upon standards meeting basic maintenance requirements.
I simple FOIA request was for the basic maintenance requirement:
"A copy of the “basic maintenance requirement” established by the Maine Township Supervisor for General Assistance recipients."
The FOIA response to that item provides nothing related to what the basic maintenance requirement is, which until you know what that is you can't establish the grant amount. The fact the Supervisor is unable to provide any record as to what the basic maintenance requirement is, tells us there is a failure in the operation. How can you set the amount of aid if you don't have any idea what the basic maintenance requirement is?
In that same FOIA, we requested the amount and nature she determined as required by law.
"A copy of the Township Supervisors determination, in accordance with local budget standards, for the amount and nature of General Assistance."
The 20-page record provided was nothing but a smoke & mirror response. The records provided have NOTHING to do with the amount and nature of General Assistance. That tells me the amount and nature is not set based on basic maintenance requirements as it's clear she has not identified what that is either.
Of interest was a claim in the response letter:
"Please note that the 2017 General Assistance manual is in the process of being revised. A CD of the present General Assistance manual does not exist. We have been informed that the CD will be available by November 1st and we will immediately forward it to you upon our receipt."
How convenient! Get asked for key information that are statutory obligations and provide records that have nothing to do with the request and then claim your GA manual is in the process of being revised? I think it's great that something is getting revised but why tell me you are revising it when I did not ask for it? Why tell me there is no CD of the present General Assitance manual when I didn't ask for it? Why provide the updated manual when I did not request it?
All indications are my FOIA has generated a late night review of the law and they are finding they have not been complying with the Public Aid act, which falls solely on the shoulders of the Township Supervisor.
One document they did provide points to them having no clue what the law says and simply doing what they want, which is in violation of the law as it relates to Emergency Assistance, an optional program.
"Families may receive Emergency Assistance if they are waiting to receive aid from the State of Illinois Department of Human Services Programs or to alleviate life-threatening circumstances and assist the applicant in attaining self-sufficiency."
What does the law say about Emergency Assistance?
(305 ILCS 5/6-10) Sec. 6-10. Emergency financial assistance. Except in a city, village or incorporated town of more than 500,000 population, when an applicant resides in the local governmental unit in which he makes application, emergency financial assistance to alleviate life-threatening circumstances or to assist the individual in attaining self-sufficiency may be given to or in behalf of the applicant.
Does anyone see in the law where it makes any reference to providing emergency funds for those waiting to receive aid from the State of Illinois Department of Human Services programs? All indications are they have added that language into their brochure and it's another indication they are not following the law in the Administration of General Assistance tax dollars.
In addition to adding language not found in the law, note they have also changed the word "or", found in the law, to "and" in their brochure. Why is that important? Because the legislature intended for Emergency Assistance to be provided for one of two purposes, alleviate life-threatening circumstances OR assist in attaining self-sufficiency.
Supervisor Morask has expanded Emergency assistance in ways not supported by law and done so by adding text and changing words, both of which are expansions of the program not supported by law.
I believe we mentioned this law in the past as it relates to Supervisor Morask:
(60 ILCS 1/70-40)
Sec. 70-40. Failure to perform duties; forfeiture and disqualification. If any supervisor refuses or wilfully neglects to perform any of the duties of the office under the preceding Sections of this Article, he or she shall forfeit to the township the sum of $50 and shall be disqualified to act as the supervisor of the township.
Supervisor Moraks, please resign!