Will Co. (ECWd) -
The Township Code is not hard to comprehend nor apply........for those that are at least trying to read it. After numerous calls for help and responses to our FOIA requests, it is clear some people need to resign in the best interest of the community. Public trust has been lost and based on today's calls, its only getting worse.
We requested: "A copy of the minutes and agenda for the meeting where the compensation was set for the Township Assessor position."
What the Township provided was not what was requested however it may well be evidence to prove they are not following the law on several fronts.
The law outlines compensation for elected officials shall be set no less than 150 days before the term begins. When it comes to contracted assessors, they are not permitted to be paid more than the salary that was set for the elected assessor position, which is why we asked for the minutes from the meeting where this figure was set. Since the Supervisor did not provide the records requested, we don't know what that figure was set at.
The minutes provided reflect they approved a 4-year contract for an assessor. Considering this was approved in February of 2018, this contract creates at least two problems. The first, this board has tied the hands of the next elected Township Board by entering a contract beyond their terms. Case law outlines this is not permitted without express authority in the statute. There is no such authority in the Township Code. Secondly, awarding a 4-year contract for assessments will conflict with a possible elected assessor at the next election.
These minutes also disclose action is taken that was not on the agenda and may well point to work being performed without any such approval.
- Assessor Garvey presented a 4-year contract, with a 60-day written notice of termination, to the Board for their approval. She also asked the Board to pay monies owed for January and February 2018, as it appears the funds are available. A motion to approve the contract for the Assessor was made by Trustee Welchko and seconded by Trustee Kennedy. Roll Call: Ayes – Quigley, Kennedy, Smith, Strawson, and Welchko. Nays – none. Motion passed.
- A motion to pay the Assessor monies owed for January and February was made by Trustee Strawson and seconded by Trustee Kennedy. Roll Call: Ayes –Quigley, Kennedy, Smith, Strawson, and Welchko. Nays – none. Motion passed.
Appears funds are available? How does this un-elected person know there are monies available? Better yet, why on earth would a person be "owed" money from January and February when the contact was just approved? Is this an indicator that work was being performed on behalf of the township prior to proper approval? If so, that is another problem for the Supervisor.
The board approved the paying of this "monies owed" however there was no agenda item informing the public that they were going to pay anyone money for work done in January and February of 2018, thus an alleged Open Meetings Act violation.
The issue of the Assessor contract term and payments are just one of three identified concerns in one FOIA request. That being the case, we will roll out each and every violation of law we have identified in this multi-part series on Wesley Township. Part II will focus on the illegal payments made to an attorney.