DANVILLE, IL. (ECWd) -
We have recently written about Steve Foster, and other's, disqualifications of office that prevented them from serving as a Vermilion County Regional Airport Authority Commissioner. That disqualification is clearly spelled out in an unambiguous way, in language a 3rd grader could understand, in the Airport Authorities Act Section 5:
". . .No person shall be appointed to the Board of Commissioners of any Airport Authority who has any financial interest in the establishment or continued existence thereof or who is a member of the governing body or an officer or employee of a municipality, a county, or any other unit of local government, . . ."
To top that off, as if alleged violations of one law are not enough, The Public Officer Prohibited Activities Act provides an additional prohibition and carries with it criminal Class 4 Felony consequences.
No alderman of any city, or member of the board of trustees of any village, during the term of office for which he or she is elected, may accept, be appointed to, or hold any office by the appointment of the mayor or president of the board of trustees, unless the alderman or board member is granted a leave of absence from such office, or unless he or she first resigns from the office of alderman or member of the board of trustees, or unless the holding of another office is authorized by law. The alderman or board member may, however, serve as a volunteer fireman and receive compensation for that service. The alderman may also serve as a commissioner of the Beardstown Regional Flood Prevention District board. Any appointment in violation of this Section is void. Nothing in this Act shall be construed to prohibit an elected municipal official from holding elected office in another unit of local government as long as there is no contractual relationship between the municipality and the other unit of local government. This amendatory Act of 1995 is declarative of existing law and is not a new enactment."
Steven Foster could have never accepted, been appointed to, or hold the office of Airport Authority Commissioner (while also serving as Danville Alderman), since it was by appointment of the Mayor of the City of Danville, and he did not take a leave of absence and did not resign as an alderman.
We argue that each and every day Foster remains in office is a new violation of the Act since it specifically mentions "holding" any office appointed by the Mayor, which is what the appointment as Airport Commissioner is.
Penalties for violations of the Public Officer Prohibited Activities Act are considered Class 4 Felonies when convicted, and can be found in Section 4 of the Act:
Any alderman, member of a board of trustees, supervisor or county commissioner, or other person holding any office, either by election or appointment under the laws or constitution of this state, who violates any provision of the preceding sections, is guilty of a Class 4 felony and in addition thereto, any office or official position held by any person so convicted shall become vacant, and shall be so declared as part of the judgment of court."
According to the News-Gazette, Steve Foster is laughing about the law and proclaiming he has no intention of resigning. This should be met with an investigation into his alleged felonious activities in violation of the Public Officer Prohibited Activities Act and the Airport Authorities Act, and in our opinion, he should be charged, found guilty, and removed from both offices.
We have already asked him to do the honorable thing and resign from the Airport.