Ford Co. (ECWd) -
Last year we formed American Watchdogs Inc., a 501c3 nonprofit for the purpose of training others nationwide on our model of how to hold local government accountable. Our first major project with that effort was the launching of a searchable database of government license plates, currently, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio government plates are uploaded. The goal was to give people a way to find out who owned a public vehicle that they see in a location not related to the public service they are supposed to be providing.
Here is how it works. You're driving to your destination and pull off at a local McDonalds and notice a nice quad cab Ford F-150 in the parking lot and it has government plates.
Once you have a picture, go ahead and get your coffee, the reason you pulled into McDonald's in the first place. When you go inside, pay attention. Commonly known as situational awareness. Of interest to us, a group of men sitting in the center dining area enjoying their morning coffee and breakfast. Other than the two of us, there was no one else sitting in the restaurant, nor standing in line. Thus, we suspect the driver of this government vehicle is sitting amongst those men having their morning coffee and breakfast.
Now that you have all the information you can gather in the time it took for a coffee stop, go about your business until you have time to enter the license place in the database.
Step 3 - Search the database to see who owns the vehicle!
Now in most cases that would not be any big deal as just about every County Highway Engineer in this state is given a vehicle to drive for work-related matters and transportation to and from work.
However, in this case, some concerns are identified. For starters, this coffee break photo was at 8:15 in the morning on a workday. Additionally, this particular gathering was not even in Ford County. No, it was in Iroquois County and this McDonalds is approximately 15 miles from the Ford County Highway Department. The person on the left side of the photo facing towards us is the Ford County Highway Engineer.
That begs the question, why would this guy be driving to another county for county business. The answer is pretty simple with a little checking. This is a routine thing for the Ford County Highway Engineer. In fact, we got a call that he was just there yesterday. The day of these photos was March 15th, 2018.
When public officials take advantage of taxpayers by abusing the privilege of a taxpayer-provided vehicle, it's time to start yanking those privileges.
The taxpayer is paying this guy to perform his job, not to spend taxpayer funds on fuel and a vehicle for him to drive to another county to have his coffee with his buddies.
We believe if more people would start paying attention to issues like these we can better hold these so-called public servants accountable.
If we stay quiet, it will only get worse!
Ford County Citizens, is this how you want your tax dollars spent?