An open letter to the Niles Ethics Board and the voters of Niles

My ethics complaint poses a constitutional question, which arises when the home rule provisions of the constitution were merged with the new state constitution.

There is a conflict between these two documents since the village of Niles decided not to have the village clerk elected by the people and instead appointed annually by the mayor. This gives the mayor possible control of 2 of the 3 votes of the three-member election board.

In doing this, the village brought this problem upon themselves. That action can very simply be solved by the village: have the clerk voted into office or take her off the election board and have the board of trustees serve instead.

Simple enough solutions but either solution would involve reducing the power of the mayor (political and actual). The mayoral appointed ethics board has decided to submit this ethics complaint to State Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

I quote from my letter of June 25, 2015. “In the old Niles playbook a knowledgeable authority issues a report or recommendation that conveniently agrees with the outcome the insider leadership wants. That is then taken as Gospel and the reason to dismiss any opposition, and the reason to act or not act on the matter at hand.”

Sidebar to Lisa Madigan: recusal is not acceptable. Recuse but you could never use.

There are plenty of home-rule communities in Illinois and a small number also appoint their clerk but no one has posed this problem at any level that would reach the law books – it was probably solved locally if even noticed.

All Lisa Madigan can do is hand down an advisory opinion; not a constitutional ruling, which can only be done by the Illinois Supreme Court. A decision or ruling would correct this apparent constitutional conflict officially and for good.

Has Niles got the sense to make the simple solutions locally or must they be imposed on them by the court? 

Joe Makula, Niles voter since 1971.


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