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May 29, 2024

Shelby County Board Member Garry Patterson still does not get it.

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On November 13, 2020

Shelby Co. (ECWd) –

We have written about Dillon’s Rule more times than we can count, and for reasons we can’t explain some people just don’t get it and continue to try to do things not permitted by law.

Dillon Rule – “A municipal corporation possesses and can exercise the following powers and no others: First, those granted in express words (from the state); second, those necessarily implied or necessarily incident to the powers expressly granted; third, those absolutely essential to the declared objects and purposes of the corporation-not simply convenient, but indispensable; and fourth, any fair doubt as to the existence of a power is resolved by the courts against the corporation.”

During yesterday’s Shelby County Board meeting, Board member Gary Patterson motioned for the creation of a Management Council.  When asked by another board member where in the county code does it give them the power to create this Council, Patterson’s response was; “where does it say we can’t.”

While the law requires the power, Patterson appears to believe you have the power unless it says you don’t.  He could not be more wrong.

When the law provides certain powers and/or is silent on others, that is the prohibition.  It is part of basic statutory construction.

In the County Code, the legislature gave the County Board the power to create the following Council’s.

  • 55 ILCS 5/5-1062.1 – Stormwater management planning councils in Cook County.
  • 55 ILCS 5/5-18001 -Appointment of Judicial Advisory Council.
  • 55 ILCS 5/5-19001 – Creation of safety council.

The fact the legislature provided no provision for a Management Council, that is the prohibition, especially considering they did outline what Councils are permitted to be created.  The common language used by the courts in such a matter is ‘had the legislature intended for the County Code to include a provision for the creation of a Management Council they would have included it in the law.  The fact they did not is therefore a prohibition on such a creation.’

We once again encouraged every board member to ask a simple question before taking action on any agenda item.  “Where in the law does it give us the power to do what we are about to vote on?”  If more board members would use that approach they would quickly realize their powers are limited and there would be far fewer controversies moving forward.



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  • Publius
    Posted at 12:33h, 13 November Reply

    controversies = unnece$$ary expen$e for taxpayer$

  • Cindy
    Posted at 22:49h, 13 November Reply

    You do realize that every single board member of every single board all across this nation thinks they can just make things up, right? We are seeing the results of that in spades. I challenge anyone to name a person in that kind of a seat that “understands” any of the “rules”. Most of them have no clue what they are doing.

  • PK
    Posted at 10:05h, 17 November Reply

    At least Mr. Patterson’s head appeared to nod in agreement when another board member suggested the board could realize executive committee function instead. But his oppositional comment “where does it say we can’t” was indeed made over another board member as well as information provided by Mr. Allen during public comment,

    ‘You can lead a horse to [lake shelbyville damn] but you cant make it drink.’

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