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May 20, 2024

Northern Edgar County Ambulance Service called 911 during board meeting –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On August 30, 2018


During tonight’s monthly meeting, the Northern Edgar County Ambulance Service (“NECAS”) Board approved and signed employment agreements with its employees.

The item was not on the agenda for discussion or vote, as the Open Meetings Act requires, and when I asked for a copy of it I was told to send an FOIA request for it. One of the employees stated they discussed it at last month’s meeting but didn’t have anything in writing. So he put it in writing, the board members signed it without spending the time to read it.

As a result, I have filed a complaint with the Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor alleging a violation of the Open Meetings Act.

During my asking about the agreements and the agenda, after I asked for a copy of what they were signing, a board member said I could have a copy after I submitted an FOIA request for it. My response was that if I had to submit an FOIA for one piece of paper, I would request a bunch of other sh*t to go with it.

Two board members objected to my use of that word, saying I violated the law and actually called “911” for this non-emergency, and stood in the doorway to prevent my leaving (I made no attempt to leave until the meeting was over) – thinking they were scaring me or something like that. Incidentally, calling 911 for a non-emergency is a crime.

While the meeting continued, the same board member thought the salary and compensation of public employees was private information and should not be released to anyone. Again, I disagreed based on the fact the employees are public employees paid with public funds and their salary and compensation are public information.

After the meeting, I waited outside until a Chrisman police officer showed up, and during a conversation with the officer, he said that I did have a right to free speech, “but when that speech offended someone, it was then disorderly conduct.”

We disagreed on that point. This place apparently doesn’t understand the First Amendment. It should be noted that the word offended is not found anywhere in the criminal code for disorderly conduct.

Further conversation with the board member ended after he stated that as long as we agreed that I cannot say what I said, then he was fine. I replied that I absolutely disagreed with his assessment of the situation and that I would attend next month’s meeting.

Our next article on this public body will be posting all compensation of all employees of the Ambulance Service online so the residents of the service understand what they are paying for.

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  • Dave
    Posted at 22:59h, 30 August

    Was the disorderly charge dropped or was the officer’s motive bullying and intimidation? Wow, the fact they wouldn’t make a one page copy of their agreement shows contempt and total disrespect for the public. That dictatorial board is there to serve the public not be our master. It boggles my mind why they think the public has no right to know how their money is spent.. The word shit is not libel or slander. A disorderly charge over the use of the word “shit” is the action of a police state..

    All persons may speak, write and publish FREELY, being
    responsible for the abuse of that liberty. In trials for
    libel, both civil and criminal, the truth, when published
    with good motives and for justifiable ends, shall be a
    sufficient defense. – (Source: Illinois Constitution.)

    Its so much easier to just follow the rules…. I, of course, am assuming there is no criminal intent.

    “the truth, when published with good motives and for justifiable ends, shall be a sufficient defense”

    Like for demanding the OMA, the LAW is obeyed. In America, no one is suppose to be above the law…. especially not an arrogant board.

    When the law no longer protects you from the corrupt, but protects the corrupt form you, you know THE CITIZENS are standing in deep s**t.. Police in Edgar county need to remember that!

    • ang
      Posted at 12:15h, 31 August

      “The truth, when published with good motives…”???

      Since when do we need to qualify truth? This comes off as disturbing, as if it was written to leave lawyers wiggle room to subjectively argue the motive behind the truth.Truth is truth! Period. Well, except when you throw in an exclamation point. ; )

      What a bizarre, Kafkaesque alternative reality that “when published with good motives” part reads like.

      I just love how these local governments are so clinically paranoid (it’s a trait many authoritarian dictators have, by the way) that while they, themselves, are up to no good, they project their paranoia onto those who are calling them out and behaving as if they are a threat and/or crazy (like in the old Soviet Union, where dissidents weren’t just locked up, but there was a political abuse of psychiatry used to put them into psych facilities).

      An ambulance service called for “disorderly conduct” for using profanity? I guess the Watchdogs offended the Profanity Police.

      Call The Rutherford Institute non profit sometime when these governments call in extensions of their Police State apparatchik. The nonprofit’s founder writes commentary about police state abuses all over America. No doubt this situation would interest them. Just a suggestion.

      • Dave
        Posted at 23:06h, 31 August

        In TRIALS for libel, both civil and criminal, the truth, when published with good motives and for justifiable ends, shall be a sufficient defense. – (Source: Illinois Constitution.)

        • ang
          Posted at 16:55h, 01 September

          Got it. In trials.

          Thus, the absence of “malicious intent” must be considered.

          This raises the bar for plaintiffs, apparently.

  • A. Lincoln
    Posted at 08:02h, 31 August

    For any of these board members to claim they were “alarmed or disturbed”(from Illinois DOC statute text) is a very high level of hypocrisy.

    Oh, wait! Maybe they were conducting the public meeting under the Pelosi Doctrine (…Congress “[has] to pass the bill so you can find out what’s in it…”(3-9-10, Peter Roff, U.S. NEWS and WORLD REPORT)) instead of the Illinois Open Meetings Act.

  • F. Serpico
    Posted at 11:32h, 31 August

    Who was the Chrisman LEO who showed up ? I think he must have surrendered his common sense and left his ILCS knowledge base in his squad car for him to tell you your utterance of the word “shit” constitutes Disorderly Conduct. Perhaps your conduct was mischaracterized and he was he was lied to by the board member(s) ? As Honest Abe pointed out in his post, your use of one cuss word does not constitute the offense of Disorderly Conduct as defined in the IL Compiled Statutes.

    ILCS 720 5/26-1 (a) “A person commits Disorderly Conduct when he or she knowingly: (1) Does any act in such an unreasonable manner as to alarm or disturb another and to provoke a breach of the peace.” Note that the conduct must be in “such an unreasonable manner” as to “alarm and disturb another” and provokes a “breach of the peace.” Quite a few elements of the offense to be met before conduct constitutes Disorderly Conduct.

    Just as important, see also subsections (4), (5) and (6) of the same Disorderly Conduct statute cited above re knowingly transmitting a a false report to a law enforcement agency and / or by dialing 911 to report an offense when the reporting person knows there is no reasonable ground for making the call and that the call will result in the emergency response of a police agency.

    It really POs me when officials try to use law enforcement as their hammer against free speech – and even more disappointed when an LEO falls for it or willingly goes along with it.

    Only in Edgar County…well, maybe not, but certainly not surprising.

  • Robert O. Bogue
    Posted at 21:41h, 31 August

    Suggestion. In your next article, publish the names of the board members that were present in this meeting and those that challenged you; so we know exactly whom you’re writing about.
    Why protect the guilty from their actions and by inference, indict the entire board?

    Shame on the offenders for the lack in courtesy, for their ignorance and for their actions. An apology at the very lease would seem to be in order, that is, if they are truly objective in the service they provide to the community.

    Otherwise they are just good old boys and thugs…..filling their pockets with tax dollars and stroking their egos while they prevent honorable community members from serving their community.

  • James Burkhart
    Posted at 00:30h, 06 September

    It’s about time all of the stuff going on up there being investigated Nevertheless the horrible response times the ambulance has provided over the years ( 12 minutes for a Cardiac Arrest that was less than 30 seconds from their station) thank god for Chrisman Fire Dept being quick and skilled. Jeremy has ran off any employees and volunteers with his attitude leaving the service of what it is today. I feel ashamed of having an ambulance service that’s terrible. Paris residents should feel proud to have Ecssa being such an excellent provider.

    Jeremy has ran off several experienced and seasoned emts. Congrats you killed your own agency. And the board, you should be ashamed of yourselves for mismanaging something that could have been great due to your own ignorance. I hate that I have to pay taxes for this crappy service in 3 different townships.