ILLINOIS (ECWd) –
This needs to stop. Now.
In recent days and months, there have been some local elected officials who think they can commandeer public property for their own personal agendas, and think they can keep other elected officials from doing their jobs.
Locking elected officials out of their offices and email accounts, threatening to have them arrested for holding public meetings, and circumventing appointment policies because you lost the election is not the right and honorable thing to do.
- Village of Dolton: Three trustees of the village properly scheduled a special meeting of the village trustees. The Mayor didn’t want the meeting to happen, so she “canceled” the meeting less than an hour before it was scheduled to begin. She even gave explicit instructions to the Dolton Police Department to arrest any trustees who entered the village hall for the meeting, under criminal trespass. The only problem was that the Mayor did not have the authority to cancel the meeting, and did not have the authority to have any trustees arrested for attending a meeting called in accordance with the Open Meetings Act and village ordinances. The following meeting, those trustees did not attend and there was no quorum.
- Village of S. Jacksonville: The newly elected village mayor told the board he was taking a few days off for personal reasons. He answered emails during his vacation, and upon return, found his key-card access to village hall disabled, his official mayoral email account disabled, and village trustee had assumed the office of acting mayor and attempts made at claiming he abandoned his office.
- Village of Bellmont: Village Mayor got upset that he was being called out for illegal use of the city backhoe on his private property – he changed the lock on village hall to keep a trustee from entering to conduct public business. Then he filed numerous frivolous orders of protection against that trustee and his family members, and even admitted in court that he lied about what he wrote in his attempts at obtaining the orders of protection, he even said he lied for the fun of it. The Court sanctioned the mayor for his false testimony.
- Jasper County School District: According to reports, the long-time school board member was voted out of office in the past election. A special meeting was called, just prior to the newly elected board members taking their seats. They also extended the superintendent’s contract through 2024 just prior to the election, in their lame-duck session (at the same meeting the newly elected would take office) Another board member resigned, and the remaining board members appointed the loser of the election (circumventing their own policy on appointments – without the circumvention being listed as an action item on the agenda) to the future/now-vacant seat of the resigned board member – essentially flipping-the-bird to the voters in the school district. In previous years, this school board had taken steps to prevent an elected board member from having access to school district records.