ROCK ISLAND CO, IL. (ECWd) -
Edited to correct his first name, it is "JAMES" not John.
Read the law.
Find the qualifications for office.
Appoint only those who are qualified.
This is not rocket science, and qualifications for the office of Airport Authority Commissioner are spelled out in the Airport Authority Act.
Let's see if our readers can figure this out:
- "must reside within the territory of the authority" (70 ILCS 5/3.1(d))
- "All appointments...shall be in writing and shall indicate the legal residence of the person appointed and whether or not he resides within or without a municipality having a population of 5,000 or more" (70 ILCS 5/3.2)
- "each commissioner shall reside within the Authority and shall continue to reside therein during his term of office" (70 ILCS 5/3.4)
We believe the average person can read this and understand a commissioner must reside within the Authority, and he must remain residing within the Authority in order to remain in office.
What is the territory of the Airport Authority (see Sections 2 and 2.1 of the Act)? It includes those areas where voters approved a referendum to join the authority. It DOES NOT include those areas (townships) where that referendum failed or was never voted on.
QCOnline has written an article about a county board member contesting this appointment (here) and quoting the State's Attorney as saying the alleged unqualified commissioner would undergo a hearing by other Authority Commissioners who must show cause why that person should be removed.
In our opinion, the SA has it backward, the Authority must hold a hearing where the commissioner must show cause why he should not be removed. The burden of proof is on the alleged unqualified commissioner. In this case, he will have to show proof he resides within the Authority.
We have filed a complaint with IDOT's Chief Counsel and with IDOT Division of Aeronautics alleging this commissioner is not qualified for this office, and asking IDOT to notify the Authority, who will follow state law and notify the commissioner, who will appear before the Board of Commissioners at a public hearing for the commissioner to show cause why he should not be removed from office.
We suggest that James Bohnsack immediately resign, in order for him to avoid the embarrassment of trying to show cause not to be removed from office - we believe he cannot show cause. The Commissioners must follow the law, and their decision is appealable to the Circuit Court.