Kankakee County, IL. (ECWd) –
We have been reading about issues between County Auditors and County Boards for several months and decided to interview Jake Lee, Kankakee County Auditor, to get his perspective of problems between Kankakee County and his office, which essentially prohibits him from complying with his statutory duties as an Auditor.
This issue should eventually be ironed out in Tazewell County where the County Auditor is suing the County Board to resolve the issue.
The Kankakee County Auditor’s duties are in Sections 5-1005 and 5-1006 of the Counties Code. Kankakee County has approximately 100,000 residents. Additionally, a county board cannot alter the duties of an elected official which are specifically imposed by law. Finally, Illinois Attorney General Burris published a 1991 opinion on county boards/administrators seeking to take control of Auditor duties (here), and stated that state law did not permit it.
Several attempts were made to contact Kankakee County Board Chairman Andy Wheeler for an interview, but emails and phones calls were left unanswered.
The below interview is simply a conversation touching on each of the Auditor’s statutory (and mandatory) duties, the attempt made to change the statute last year, and finally a short discussion on the 1943 Supreme Court case of Ashton v. Cook, which is basically a ruling that no person and no board can be hired and paid with public funds to do the same duties an elected public official is required by statute to perform.
Watch the interview below, it runs approximately 29 minutes: