BOLINGBROOK, IL. (ECWd) –
During the DuPage Township meeting last night, an agenda item for appointment of Trustee Burgess was a point of contention with the four trustees. Not for appointing him, but for appointing him without him first resigning as state law requires.
First, let’s review relevant state statutes:
- Township Code:
- Section 60-20(b) says resignations become effective upon acceptance by the board.
- Section 60-5(a) says the Township Board shall fill vacancies by appointment.
- Section 55-65 states that all township officers shall be subject to the Public Officer Prohibited Activities Act.
- Section 50-5(b) states that a Supervisor shall hold office for a term of 4 years and until a successor is elected and qualified. Since this is found in the Section concerning elections, it does not apply to any other situation in which there is no Supervisor (resignation, death, removed by court, etc.)
- Section 80-5(a) states the Township Clerk can only cast a vote in case of a tie vote to fill a vacancy. The Clerk does not count towards establishing a quorum, and the clerk cannot vote under any other circumstance.
- Public Officer Prohibited Activities Act:
- Section 2a(a) states that, in this case, no Township Trustee, during the term of office for which he or she was elected, may accept, be appointed to, or hold any office by appointment of the board of township trustees unless he or she first resigns from the office of trustee or unless the appointment is specifically authorized by law. There is no law specifically authorizing a trustee to be appointed as supervisor, so the “unless specifically authorized by law” part does not apply to this appointment.
- Section 4 states that any member of a board of trustees who violates any provision of the preceding sections is guilty of a Class 4 felony.
After accepting the resignation of the now-former Township Supervisor, Trustees Benford and Raga attempted to win a Motion to table the appointment of Trustee Burgess as Supervisor, citing the language in the above statutes in order to prevent Trustee Burgess from being in the position of committing a felony crime – and also to prevent other trustees from being in the position of assisting him in committing a felony crime.
The Township attorney read the statute which clearly states it would be a felony, and then stated he didn’t think it would be a felony (ignoring the clear language of the statute). He clearly read that a trustee must first resign as trustee, and said he didn’t agree that a trustee could not be appointed (and vote for his own appointment).
The attorney did appear to indicate the board might table it and consider it again at the next meeting “under an abundance of caution” – but temporary chairman Maripat Oliver was insistent on following thru with the illegal appointment. What we don’t know is if she just really wanted him as Supervisor, or if she was setting him up for criminal investigations.
At the point in the meeting, where it was obvious that a felony crime was about to occur, Trustees Benford and Raga gathered their belongings and left the meeting. This action eliminated a quorum, there could be no vote, and the meeting could not continue.