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June 17, 2024

Edgar County Sheriff should be held to account for permitting misuse of funds –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On March 21, 2020


We recently wrote about a police report containing allegations that the Edgar County Sheriff’s Administrative Assistant had padded payroll, which resulted in increased retirement contributions, and otherwise used time on-the-clock to do things not in the performance of her duties, including babysitting her paramour’s children at work.

In the report were statements made by Sheriff Jeff Wood, or conclusions made based on statements and paperwork, including:

  • when informed of the issue, Wood denied the claim as baseless and unfounded
  • Wood does not personally validate payroll records
  • “everything is fine” alluding there was no need for a criminal investigation
  • Wood refused to pursue any disciplinary action when reports were given to him
  • “well it’s not like we all haven’t fudged our time sheets from time to time”
  • Jamie is not subject to the policies and procedures outlined in the county personnel policy, or the sheriff’s department policy and operations manual citing them as being outdated
  • She is only bound by the rules he sets forth verbally

His statements give the impression that he thinks he authorized whatever she was doing.

All officers and employees of public bodies are bound to comply with the law, including accurate payroll.

No public employer may gift away public time or money to employees for any reason – this includes bonuses which we routinely write about, and payroll hours or using time on the clock for personal business. It does not serve a public purpose (Art. VIII, Sec 1(a) IL. Const.).

We suggest that any supervisor of a public employee commits official misconduct, and misuse of public funds when they permit, authorize, or authorize by staying silent, abuse of public payroll and public funds.

Recent convictions in Clark County with the former Circuit Clerk Kathy Ramsey drive this point home: Ramsey and her daughter were both charged and convicted of payroll fraud. Ramsey authorized time in excess of what was actually worked. Ramsey’s charge was Class 3 felony Official Misconduct, and her daughter’s charge was Class 4 felony Theft of Government Property.

We believe an investigation is in order, for the purpose of looking into Sheriff Wood’s actions in the issue with his employee’s payroll and use of public time as pointed out in the previous investigation, and Sheriff Wood’s statements contained in that investigation.

We urge Sheriff Wood to resign as it is clear public trust has been lost.

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1 Comment
  • Frenchy
    Posted at 20:28h, 25 March Reply

    Looking at the information in the above report, one must legitimately ask, “What is the sheriff’s relationship with the employee?” Why would he be so indifferent to her alleged conduct and to the questions & concerns raised by the Paris police officer who investigated the allegations? Once again, I’m left amazed and disgusted at the lack of propriety. Folks, it’s this kind of apathy and “hand holding” that feeds and keeps these (apparent) scofflaws in business / office. Gather the pitchforks and torches ! It’s time we storm the Bastille !

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