Algonquin Township (ECWd) –
When we first learned that Algonquin Township Trustee Melissa Victor had decided to run for the office of Cary Park District Commissioner, we suspected those offices were incompatible.
Later, after reviewing James Kelly’s attorney bills to the Township, we found what appeared to be Trustee Victor obtaining legal advice from the township attorney on “simultaneous tenure” (here). Kelly charged the township for one hour’s worth of work to send her that letter (which is not a legitimate function of a township attorney to render personal legal advice on the backs of the taxpayer).
After learning Victor won a seat on the Cary Park District Board of Commissioners, we sent FOIA requests to Algonquin Township and the Cary Park District seeking all intergovernmental agreements between those local governments.
Algonquin Township responded that there were no IGAs with the Park District, and the Park District responded with several IGAs it had with the township road district.
Generally, incompatibility of offices arises when one person cannot faithfully represent both offices at all times. Contractual obligations or agreements between two governments create such a condition.
In Illinois, the possibility that a contract might occur (statues authorizing governments to cooperate or contract with each other) is enough to trigger incompatibility – meaning a current contract is not required, only the possibility that sometime in the future a contract may be entered into between both boards a person is elected/appointed to (may be called upon to act or vote).
Alvarez v Price talks extensively about incompatible offices:
“Public offices are considered incompatible when “the written law of a state specifically prohibits the occupant of either one of the offices in question from holding the other and, also, where the duties of either office are such that the holder of the office cannot in every instance, properly and fully, faithfully perform all the duties of the other office.“
“. . . incompatible, reasoning that the statutory contractual relations that may exist between a park district and a municipality would restrict a dual officeholder who “could not fully represent the interest of both governmental units when those units contract with each other.“
While preparing this article, someone forwarded us a message stating the NWHerald wrote an article indicating Victor has decided to resign as Algonquin Township Trustee in order to serve as Cary Park District Commissioner. We have not verified this message yet, and certainly agree she must resign from one or refuse to accept the other. We also suspect any legal opinions she may have received indicate there was the possibility of incompatible offices.