By: Diane Benjamin
Back in June the Village of Stanford Board approved a contract to tear down a house after a presentation by a relative of two board members. The presentation and vote were not on the agenda, so that vote was illegal.
See two stories: HERE
On the agenda under Legal – Mark McGrath attorney was a note:
310 N. Kathleen demolition
Mark McGrath did not attend the meeting. Instead, the Board slipped in the presentation and vote. Awarding a no-bid contract to a relative when the agenda only lists a discussion by a lawyer, violates the public’s right to know what their government is doing. (Open Meetings Act)
Back in November I sent this email to the state’s Attorney’s office:
I will save Don Knapp the embarrassment of his responses to several email exchanges we have had since November 3rd. I finally FOIA’d whatever he sent to Stanford and the response he received.
Don Knapp sent them this email with my email included:
According to the FOIA I received, Stanford never responded to the State’s Attorney’s email:
The people we expect will hold “public servants” accountable aren’t going to. They can’t. Prosecuting violations of the law by government officials is way more than a full-time job. Lisa Madigan’s office can’t be our voice, and neither can the State’s Attorney’s office.
It has to be the citizens who hold local officials accountable. Not attending public meetings and not voting in local elections leaves them free to dream, plan, and spend your money any way they want.
The Founder’s knew our government system was wide open to corruption. They could have created government tyranny, but they chose to allow the people to govern themselves. When they don’t follow the law – it’s the fault of citizens.
Nobody is going to hold them accountable for you.
It’s your job.
7 thoughts on “Stanford and the State’s Attorney”
On face value and legal grounds, your probably are correct. Having said that, in these smaller Town’s, the leadership is from ether from working citizens or retired individuals. They do it more out of Community Service or have a special need to impact an area in the Town. That last statement should pretty well give a base as to my following. These City Trustees, while doing the best they feel they can and sometimes some things bend or go around State Directives. The problems still need to be taken care of and this small Town does the best they can with what revenues they have. I used to live in this area and did business with a lot of area farmers and home heating accounts in town. I do not know the condition of that home that was torn down, but the Town did it this way to, first, get a problem solved, and second, do it the cheapest and fastest way that the Town could afford. If you have never lived in a small Illinois rural Town and talked with the citizens that knows all your business, all the time, it is reasonable for other folks to have no idea of small rural Town ideas. This is also why our County Supervisors should always have some rural members on their Board.
Coming also from a small nearby town I hear what you’re saying, but I must stop short of agreeing with you that it’s ok to operate in this fashion. In fact, what you’ve just described is what is wrong with about everything in America today. Unfortunately, it’s no respecter of small town or big city.
It begins with a glaring lack of knowledge of natural law and natural rights, the right to be free of coercive interference of other people. America no longer has agreed upon principles of freedom, the Constitution or limited government. Instead, we’ve almost universally accepted the misguided notion that government exists to get things done. In other words, the ends justify the means.
Since people do not understand the fundamental principles, the very foundation of our country, it only follows that people also do not understand the responsibilities that come with it. Many people go into public service with, I believe, the mistaken notion you state here in your post, “they do it more out of Community Service or have a special need to impact an area in the town.” However noble that may sound on the surface I believe it’s seriously misguided and flawed at the very core.
The problem with this approach is government often oversteps its bounds and we the people are stuck with, not only the bill, but we’ve allowed government to be our custodian. I do not want my government leaders helping me!!! I wanting them defending my right to be free and holding me accountable to my responsibilities that come with my freedom, just as I do for them. This case cited by Diane with the Village of Standford is a classic example of what I’m talking about.
There’s a home in the village that needs to be torn down. Instead of respecting individual property rights and the responsibilities of the homeowner, the village has assumed the role of trampling on these freedoms by stepping in and taking charge of a contract to demolish the home. I would almost bet, that at some point the village of Stanford also acquired the home. I would contend that government has just overstepped its bounds. But, citizens are possibly grateful for their town taking the initiative to remove a community eyesore. In other words, the end justifies the means and government got the job done. But, there’s a huge loss of freedom that few people will ever stop to consider.
I could go on for a long time about all this, but it scares the hell out of me that we have Donald Trump negotiating these deals on a national level and locally Tari Renner, Kris Koos, two city Councils and two city managers fall nicely in line with him, whether they like Trump or not. And Stanford, Illinois is not at all removed from the fray.
My intent was not to argue the good, the bad or the indifferent. I wanted to give this rural community the benefit of the doubt. You or I have not enough local info to make ether opinion wrong or right. This is not the only rural town or State I have lived in, but I found in each small town traits of what I had stated. I guess I never out grew my small town experiences. Have a nice day.
By far the worst thing they have done was to dump paying Danvers police $60,000 a year to patrol – saying they couldn’t afford it. No they spend twice that much on their own force. I’m remembering the numbers off the top of my head, but I’m sure they are close.
I agree 100% with Diane. We are at a tipping point in civil society concerning laws and obeying laws, whether it is laws for people or laws for governments to obey. And exactly right, we can have all the laws and regulations and restrictions possible but if laws and such are not enforced all that crap has nothing to enhance civil society. That is what is happening now among so many cities, towns, villages, etc. If elected or appointed government officials do not care about enforcement of these things then it is encumbered upon citizens to use their legal right to enforce code through lawsuits or the voting booth. And with that I encourage anyone in Stanford to do that very thing, especially if someone was wrongfully disenfranchised with living standards. That in itself is a crime of significant magnitude to hold officials accountable in a court of law, either civilly or criminally.
small town politics is a travesty
This will be my last comment on this item. You are all correct to the point of being legal, okay. But in truth these smaller towns just do not generate an income big enough to get things done on a proper amount of time. Time, some of which is dictated by our laws, such as safety and health issues. The alternative is really no choice, dry up and go away or tax the town to starvation and still not have enough to get legal. Sometimes banging on legal books and laws is just of no use. People still have to live. If your up to it, you go and explain to these people why their little town can be no longer and then drive past the City limits knowing the people in this Town are smiling. Again have a nice day.