Shelby Co. (ECWd) –
The Shelby County Board held its regular meeting last week and once again they have refused to answer the most basic questions regarding the payroll malfeasance in the Sheriff’s office from 2015-2020 during my time to ask questions of the board as found in the video.
The Legislature created laws regarding people’s rights and even after reading the actual law to them, the Board failed to answer a single question.
From the County Code:
“At each regular and special meeting which is open to the public, members of the public and employees of the county shall be afforded time, subject to reasonable constraints, to comment to or ask questions of the board.”
The legislative intent of that law regarding asking questions is so that the people and employees can get answers. If the Counties Code was not convincing enough, the legislature, just two years after the Counties Code provision was passed, made it a policy that the people have a right to be informed as to the conduct of their business. They even took it a step further and stated the intent of the act was to protect the citizen’s right to know.
The Open Meetings Act was created with a specific policy.
“(5 ILCS 120/1) (from Ch. 102, par. 41)
Sec. 1. Policy. It is the public policy of this State that public bodies exist to aid in the conduct of the people’s business and that the people have a right to be informed as to the conduct of their business. In order that the people shall be informed, the General Assembly finds and declares that it is the intent of this Act to ensure that the actions of public bodies be taken openly and that their deliberations be conducted openly.”
“To implement this policy, the General Assembly declares:
(1) it is the intent of this Act to protect the citizen’s right to know.”
As the law states, both the public and employees are to be permitted time at each regular and special meeting to comment or ask questions. Shelby County Chairman Bryon Coffman refuses to answer any questions nor has he shown any willingness to get answers asked of the board. Questions that if answered may well prove a coordinated effort to protect the Sheriff and others in the payroll malfeasance.
While board members hide behind a truly botched ISP investigation into the payroll issue by claiming there was no crime, not a single board member has been willing to answer some very important questions regarding the creation of documents five years after the fact. The one board member who needs to answer is Bob Simpson.
Simpson signed this document in May of 2020, along with Kay Kearney, and Richard Hayden. For two months in a row, Simpson has refused to answer key questions never asked during the criminal investigation by the ISP.
We are confident that the most basic questions would expose the truth and that is why Simpson and others refuse to answer questions.
- Who created the document?
- Why was it created?
- Who asked the three board members to sign it?
If the information in the document was true and accurate, there is no need for its creation because the very letter claims the matter outlined was allegedly shared with the law enforcement committee.
Up jumps the devil.
The LEC committee minutes from 2015 do not have a single reference to the claims in the letter Simpson signed. That points to a LEC committee not doing their job and keeping proper minutes if we are to believe the letter created 5 years after the fact is true.
Up jumps the devil again.
The Simpson signed letter points to several points in conflict with actual records from the time in question, which is common when documents get created 5 years after the fact, in the middle of a criminal investigation, and in what appears to be an attempt to provide cover for those being investigated.
- Two were corrections sergeants
- Two deputy sergeants
- this is a 24/7 job these were needed so that someone could be available when the Sheriff or Undersheriff was not available.
- they were to be compensated by receiving five comp days or days off each year
What we are calling the bragging document, Koonce published a “First 100 Days” document in April of 2015. It points to distinctly different points than those claimed by Simpson.
- Two Sergeants and two Corporals promoted within the ranks allowing a Command officer to be available at all times
- Two Sergeants promoted from the Correctional Officers to increase command, efficiency, and security of the Detention Center
- The implementation of these programs and changes has come at no increase in the Sheriff’s Budget and no additional cost to the citizens of Shelby County.
Considering the records created by Koonce clearly document 6 people were being promoted and it would come at no additional cost to the citizens of Shelby County, such facts would be problematic to a criminal investigation which shows not only deputies and corrections officers getting paid extra, but three other employees who were neither deputies nor corrections officers, all in violation of the FOP contract. The Forensic Auditor created this document reflecting who was getting this extra compensation in violation of the contract.
After the ISP interviews, Simpson and others signed the May 2020 document in what appears to be a way to address the problematic pay being issued to employees. However, the claims made by Simpson do not sync with what Koonce told the public.
- The people have a right to know who created the document for Simpson and two other board members to sign.
- The people have a right to know why it was created.
- The people have a right to know who asked the board members to sign such a document created 5 years after the fact.
While board member Barb Bennett continues to opine there was no crime since it was investigated, we challenge her and others to answer these basic questions. Those answers should have been asked by the ISP investigators, yet we find nothing in their reports identifying all the conflicts.
We also note the ISP has refused to provide us with the audio recordings of the interviews, which are subject to the Freedom of Information Act. Why would they not want such recordings released? The fact they did not turn those over to the Attorney General is troubling as well. We filed suit against the ISP to obtain those records and sooner or later the public will know the whole truth.
We understand Bob Simpson is running for re-election to the Shelby County Board.