Shelby Co. (ECWd) –
Justification on the law be damned
Once again, during discussions on the leasing of the farm, we heard Ms. Cole point to 25 other counties that are leasing their ground. She failed to point out that several of those are doing it legally and others are not. Her logic is since others are doing it, it’s okay for them to do it. What many have missed is how we are now down to what appears to be 24 counties leasing farm ground rather than the prior number two years ago of upwards of 40. Turns out some counties have paid attention to the law and rather than violating it are following it.
Board member Sonny Ross raised an excellent point when he compared her comments to his witnessing three people talking and driving while holding their phones. He indicated that just because others are breaking the law does not make it right for the county to do so. We consider that an excellent point because it teaches a lesson to anyone paying attention but most importantly his own child who was present at the meeting. Just because others do something and get away with it does not mean it is ok to do it yourself. If adults are going to argue it’s ok to do wrong because others are doing it and getting away with it, we end up teaching our youth a message that is bound to lead them down a very dangerous path.
Complaints of county taxpayer funds going outside Shelby County
During public comment, a citizen expressed her displeasure that the county was paying an auditing firm from outside Shelby County. This is a perfect example of a citizen who is not aware of the law or the past exercise to obtain an auditing firm. While there may be dozens of CPAs in Shelby County, not a single one responded to the opportunity to have the business of doing the county audit. The county audits have been conducted by firms for years that are not located in the county. If the county were to forbid CPAs from outside the county and only hire those within the county, they would have bigger potential legal problems as such actions would be steering of contracts, which is not permitted by law.
They went on to complain about ARPA funding being spent outside the county for services being performed for the State’s Attorney. She asked numerous questions which have all been addressed either directly during the initial discussion on the matter or in updates provided by the State’s Attorney. In the short version, the documents in the State’s Attorney’s office are secure and the responsibility of his office, not the county board, so such questions and concerns should be made to the appropriate office rather than a group of officials that have no control over what is being done in another office. A recent update from the State’s Attorney to the county board included a status on the “Scanning and Data Entry” project. For those who missed it, the ongoing complaints about “scanning” records have ignored the fact the project is not just a matter of scanning records. (Report from SA to the County Board)
Another interesting comment was a claim the board took an oath to be bi-partisan after they were elected. That is a false claim as there is no such oath but she raises an important issue that needs to be addressed. While county officials run for office based on a declaration of a party, their duties have nothing to do with politics but rather compliance with the law. In fact, their oath is to the law, not anything related to politics. Those laws are supposed to apply equally to all, regardless of politics. We mention this because it’s clear a select group is so focused on politics they have lost sight of the fact it is politics that destroy communities, along with ignorance or refusal to follow the law.
Appointment to the Board of Review
Comments were made regarding the appointment of a local citizen to the board of review. It was implied that the appointment needed to be made regardless of the Board of Review’s status as an elected or appointed body. This is yet another example of people not understanding the law and the importance of following it. If it is determined the Board of Review is to be appointed rather than elected, current law would require 2 Republicans and 1 Democrat on the board. Making the appointment he was speaking to would have resulted in the BOR having 2 Democrats on it and would be a violation of the law. If it is determined the BOR is to be elected, which to date no one has produced any statutory authority for such an election in a county the size of Shelby, then the board would have to follow the election law and fill the vacancy with a person of the same political affiliation, which in this case was Democrat.
Rather than make the appointment, the Chairman is ensuring all the facts are known and the law is being followed. This is done to prevent further problems down the road, which is wise judgment in our opinion.
Another citizen alleged the board’s inaction in making the appointment usurped the taxpayers and voters.
It seems prudent to us and many others that it is best to first determine if the law was usurped when the BOR became elected rather than appointed. There is no question the BOR will end up having members appointed but the makeup of that board is yet to be determined.
“This is crazy about this Public Purpose Crap”
One citizen actually said what is quoted in bold above. Initially, it appeared he was indicating that following the law and ensuring the public purpose criteria in the law is crap. Turns out he cleared that up at the end of his comments.
“Let’s not discuss this among a whole bunch of people that don’t have any idea what they’re talking about, and I don’t either.”
I’ll never understand why some people continue to whine about things they admittedly do not have any idea what they’re talking about.
The video of the meeting is below.