Shelby Co. (ECWd) –
Rose Township Cemetery Board member Teresa Boehm has been receiving compensation according to records we obtained through our Freedom of Information Act request. The minutes reflect that a cemetery trustee is to receive $1,000.00 annually as found in this document. For those who missed it, “trustee” is singular. The record does not indicate $1,000.00 annually for trustees, which may explain why they only produced checks paid to 1 person in all of 2023, Teresa Boehm. Richard Simms is the only person paid in 2022.
Copies of payments can be viewed at this link. The Township redacted the account numbers, however, they failed to redact the signatures. We redacted the signatures for their own protection against others gaining access to those signatures.
The appointment of cemetery trustees in townships who own the cemetery is to be done by the collector, which we covered in this article. Not only was the process not followed, but it also now appears other parts of the law are being ignored, and it’s costing the taxpayers money that could actually be used to reduce a tax levy.
We find zero authority in the Township code as well as the Local Government code regarding the compensation of officials appointed to a township cemetery board. Without proper authority for them to be compensated, it would appear there is a misapplication of government funds each and every time a check is made out to them.
What are they getting paid for? We requested the minutes for all cemetery board meetings since January of 2023 in hopes of identifying what they have actually done. Considering a cemetery board is in fact a public body as defined in the Open Meetings Act, they are required to have minutes for their meetings. Is anyone surprised to find that the Rose Township Cemetery Board has no minutes for 2023 as confirmed in this document?
If they are in fact having meetings and not recording any minutes then they are violating the Open Meetings Act. If they are not having any meetings to take care of any business they have, what are they being paid for, never mind the fact there is no provision for such payments in the first place?
After years of exposing Township malfeasance when it comes to payments being made, the legislature added a new law for townships in 2019.
“(60 ILCS 1/70-27) Sec. 70-27. Attestation to funds endorsed by the supervisor. If a township supervisor issues a payout of funds from the township treasury, the township clerk shall attest to such payment. A township board may adopt rules to implement the provisions of this Section, including rules regulating the township clerk’s attestation when the township clerk is temporarily unavailable, for payroll processing, and for the payout of funds made by cash, credit and debit card, electronic check, and other means. Attestation under this Section is not required by the township clerk prior to the issuance of an emergency financial assistance payout authorized by Section 6-10 of the Illinois Public Aid Code. (Source: P.A. 100-983, eff. 1-1-19; 101-81, eff. 7-12-19; 101-519, eff. 8-23-19.)”
The attestation of funds paid is simply a second endorsement on the check, either with a signature or initials. Looking at the twelve payments to the Rose Township Cemetery board members produced by the township, only three of those payments have initials from the clerk.
According to the Township Cemetery statute, there should be three managers appointed. As noted above the compensation for “Cemetery Trustee”, is singular, which may indicate they only have one trustee. Considering the law outlines that board to be made up of three and they appear to only have one, how is any business done in light of the requirements the board has? Who is the President and who is the Clerk of that board? Did they ever select a treasurer? If they have not, why not? The law outlines their obligations yet without any minutes it appears none of these obligations were met. If they were, where are the minutes to prove it?
“60 ILCS 1/130-10(c) The board of managers, as soon as may be convenient after their appointment, shall meet and organize by selecting one of their number to be president and another of their number to be clerk of the board. The board also shall select a treasurer of the board, who may or may not be one of their number and who, before entering upon the treasurer’s duties, shall execute a bond to the People of the State of Illinois for the use of the board of managers in a penal sum not less than double the value of the money or property coming into his or her possession as treasurer, conditioned for the faithful performance of his or her duties and for the faithful accounting for all property that, by virtue of the office, comes into the treasurer’s possession. The bond shall be in a form and with sureties approved by the township collector and shall be approved and preserved in the same manner, as near as may be practicable, as is the bond of the treasurer of a village.
(Source: P.A. 84-549; 88-62.)”
All this information was the result of one appointment of a county board member to the cemetery board, an act not permitted by law due to a conflict of interest. For those who don’t believe there is any conflict, a county board member has a vote on the budget of the county treasurer who is the person responsible for appointing township cemetery trustees as outlined in the law for counties under 100,000 in population. It is a conflict for a county board member to sit on a board not listed in the law, especially one that is appointed by a person whose budget they have the power to influence.
That first layer of the onion now exposes other problems that need to be addressed and corrected.
- Improper appointment of cemetery trustees by the township
- Misapplication of funds – Paying cemetery board members without any provision in the law to do so.
- No meetings or meetings were held without the required minutes being produced.
- Missing attestations on multiple payments made by the township.
If you live in Rose Township and your property taxes went up, you might want to start demanding accountability to the law.