Shelbyville, IL. (ECWd) -
During a recent budget committee meeting, Shelby County Board Member Barbara Bennett made it clear, the people should be questioned, not them questioning her and the other board members.
While there are plenty of issues discussed in the 1 hour and 50-minute budget meeting, comments from board member Bennett and Chairman Bruce Cannon were probably the most shocking we have heard from elected officials.
The discussion regarding the payroll audit for the Sheriff's office is most interesting. The Sheriff attended and discussed numerous matters, to include letting the county board know he will not be put on trial with questions from the board. It was shortly after that comment that Bennett went off the rails regarding a comment about the audit for payroll which has been ignored for over 6 months.
"Our hands have been tied, also Gary. You can't pander to a small little group that comes to our county board meetings, only there from this little tiny group, they didn't elect any of us, who stand up there and call us bullies, when they are trying to SHOVE their thoughts, what they say, down our thoughts and run our county board when we were the elected people, not them. They bring outside people in who have no say so in our county, then makes you question, we should be questioning them, not questioning us, We're trying, we're the taxpayers, ....they didn't elect us, they don't get to stand up there and tell us how to run the County Board. We, they didn't elect us. They may have elected one or two of us."
Maybe Barbara Bennett should be reminded of our country's founding documents and the first three words, "We The People". When an elected official takes the position that the public is the one they should be questioning, not the public questioning them, it is clear they have lost their way and are no longer interested in representing the people. The tone of her voice is clear and signals to everyone, how dare you question me.
The issue of bringing outside people in is most interesting. We, Edgar County Watchdogs, were asked by numerous employees in Shelby County to help expose all the crap that has been going on for years. From people getting paid for hours not worked, lawyers hired illegally, illegal pay raises, illegal board member claims, and much more, all of which has taken place under the ever so diligent eye of county board member Barbara Bennett and others. Yes, that was meant to be sarcastic. Each week more fraud gets uncovered and so far I have yet to hear her bring up those matters in a single meeting, committee, or full county board. Bennett fails to understand when we speak at a meeting we are speaking on behalf of those local taxpayers who asked for our help due to many of them being afraid of retaliation from people like her.
We hope she backs up her statements on questioning the public as maybe then she would get educated on how county government is supposed to operate. We welcome any question Bennett cares to ask and will be happy to provide the answers.
How convenient that Bennett complains about being called names, while just before such a complaint she does what? Name calls. We are not sure who the "clique" is she is referring to or the group she claims is orchestrated by Brad Halbrook, the Legislator for Shelby County, but one thing is clear, she is the pot calling the kettle black when it comes to name-calling.
"Some little group doesn't get to call the shots for our County Board meetings, and that's exactly what's been going on."
"Some little clique, some little group orchestrated by our little head honcho...legislature."
"But we get called names"
Possibly the most ironic part of this whole discussion is the comment from County Board Chair Bruce Cannon. He reminds the board about a CPA's oath of office.
"well, I'll tell you, your guys, Uhm, you're totally ignoring the professional oaths of a CPA...... "
"Number are numbers, you can't fudge numbers"
Maybe Cannon should go back and read the Oath of Office for a County Board member. It speaks to upholding the laws of the state and our Constitution. To date, we have identified numerous laws not being followed by Cannon and others. To date, no one has been held accountable to include Cannon who has no plans of repaying the illegal compensation he received from turning in claims not permitted according to the resolution for County Board Compensation.
As far as numbers being numbers and you can't fudge them, we urge Cannon to watch the move All the Queen's Horses. That documentary was about the $54 Million Dollar fraud uncovered in Dixon, Illinois. It was the largest theft of municipal funds in the history of this country. Our investigation into Shelby County has pointed to upwards of $400-$500 Thousand in payroll excess that appears to have been a result of fudging numbers. To date, the board has failed to approve a payroll forensic audit and Bennett has to lead the charge to prevent it, claiming it's putting the cart before the horse.
While Cannon may think the oath of office for an auditor would make a difference, it made no difference for over 20 years in Dixon, Illinois.
The full audio of the Budget Committee can be listened to or downloaded at this link.