When Mayor Jo Ann Reed slips it into drive, she’s behind the wheel of a car that belongs to the village of Alorton, decked out with police lights and sirens and a handicapped placard hanging from the rearview mirror.
The part-time mayor earns about $20,000, plus an expense account from the village, where nearly 50 percent of the residents live in poverty, earning a median annual income of $20,000.
The vehicle is owned by the village.
“We did not approve that,” said Village Trustee Gwen McCallum.
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Reporters recently found Reed at a Centreville gas station behind the wheel of the car. When asked if she wanted to comment, she rolled up the window.
Reed, 60, was pictured in the car earlier this week with a handicapped placard hanging from the rearview mirror. A check with the Illinois secretary of state showed Reed did not have a state-issued handicapped placard, which allows the vehicle owner to park in special parking spots.
But her father, Albert Reed, did apply and receive one of the placards, said secretary of state spokesman Dave Drucker. Albert Reed died in March. The placard expired on July 1, Drucker said.
It’s not illegal for someone to display one of the placards while driving, Drucker noted, but it’s illegal to use the placard to park in a handicapped spot when the recipient of the placard is not in the car.
Reed pleaded guilty in 2014 to a felony for smuggling a cellphone into the Alorton city jail for her niece, who was being held on battery charges. Reed was sentenced to probation and community service. The charge no longer appears on Reed’s criminal record.
Reed currently faces felony charges of vote-buying and disregard of the election code. Those charges are pending.
Reed, a former clerk at the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department, currently collects $1,100 a month in pension, according to the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund. In addition, she works at the Cahokia Commonfields Water District. Her salary there was not immediately available.