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October 7, 2022

Shelby County – Chairman’s Legal Declaration Debunked By IDOT

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On August 10, 2022

Shelby Co. (ECWd) –

Shelby County Board Chairman Bryon Coffman made a legal declaration in response to a citizen’s question about the legality of a County Board member being appointed to the position of Acting Engineer for the County.  As referenced in this article, we contacted the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), regarding this matter and their response is most telling.

Q: Is IDOT familiar with 50 ILCS 105/1

Q: After review of the applicable law, is IDOT of the opinion that a County Board member can hold the office of County Acting Engineer simultaneously as the position of County Board Member?

A: “It is permissible for the County to appoint an acting County Engineer pursuant to 605 ILCS 5/5-204. The County would need to pass a resolution and forward this to the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) for approval. However, under 50 ILCS 105/1, no sitting county board member can serve in any other capacity, including as acting County Engineer, unless otherwise permitted by Section 5-204.”  (emphasis added) 

The Public Officer Prohibited Activities Act clearly outlines what other public offices a county board member is given permission to hold, and the position of an acting engineer is not listed.  Nothing in the Transportation Code 605 ILCS 5/5-204 provides permission for a county board member to hold the position of acting engineer either.

Those two simple facts indicate the Chairman was wrong in his response to the citizen who raised the question of the legality of such an appointment. Sadly, part of Coffman’s justification for making such an appointment was based on other counties that are doing this very thing.  How special, follow the malfeasance of others rather than even checking into the legality of the matter. IDOT’s response also invalidates board member Bob Simpson’s claim that they can appoint anyone to the board.

Coffman’s claim of other counties doing this is now being investigated and we will update with a new article on the matter once we receive responses to our Freedom of Information Act requests.

We must not forget Coffman is the same County Board Chairman/Member who signed documents as the Acting Engineer, a position he was never appointed to nor permitted by law to hold.

We understand the Board Member they were planning on appointing has recanted her willingness to take on such a task after obtaining legal advice on the matter.

Reviewing the agenda for this week’s County Board meeting we find numerous problems that will be created if they follow through with passing certain matters.  We can only hope these people put the brakes on some of their items and table them until they obtain a much more thorough analysis of what they are committing the county taxpayers to.

 

 

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