Metro-East News

Which local public officials missed the financial filing deadline?

At least one mayor and 25 councilmen were among the 219 public officials in Madison County who had missed the deadline to declare their financial holdings to the public, as of Wednesday morning.

By contrast, only seven public officials in St. Clair County have not yet filed.

Elected officials are all required to file annual statements of economic interest. Also required to file are appointed officials and local government employees that authorize the expenditure of public funds, execute contracts or issue licenses and permits — or anyone who handles money in a public government setting.

That umbrella includes a wide variety of people, including volunteers serving on historic preservation boards, advisory commissions, attorneys, police officers and others. Principals and a few teachers may be on the list if they have purchasing authority within their school district.

“The (answer) I get the most often is that they totally forgot about it,” said Madison County Clerk Debbie Ming-Mendoza. “A lot of people comply as soon as they receive my email, but then there are some individuals who keep putting it off until they get the cold, nasty letter from the state’s attorney.”

The list is compiled by the local officials themselves, often a board attorney or city manager. It is submitted to Ming-Mendoza, who then enforces it. The deadline was May 1, but she gave another 30 days to allow the officials extra time for filing.

However, a week past that deadline, there are still hundreds of officials and employees who have not yet filed their statements, including St. Jacob Mayor Richard Schiefer and some chiefs of police. On Monday, the list went up to the Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office with 219 names — which Ming-Mendoza said is not an usual number for any given year. Alton Mayor Brant Walker had not filed by that time, but county records show he filed on Tuesday.

“It’s not like they haven’t had plenty of opportunity, but 99 percent of them say, ‘I just forgot. Oh my God, am I going to jail?’” Ming-Mendoza said.

Others legitimately shouldn’t be on the list, Ming-Mendoza said; they insist they have no budgetary or purchasing responsibility, or they have since resigned or been voted off that board or council.

“Sometimes when we get down to it, we find out the person shouldn’t be included,” Ming-Mendoza said.

It’s not like they haven’t had plenty of opportunity, but 99 percent of them say, ‘I just forgot. Oh my God, am I going to jail?’

Madison County Clerk Debbie Ming-Mendoza

The compliance rate in St. Clair county came after extensive efforts by county clerk employees to follow up with officials, with repeated phone calls and chasing down the people required to file. "We worked hard to get it down to (seven)," said clerk employee Chris Newman.

It was not apparent which is more common: hundreds missing the deadline or only a few. The Illinois Secretary of State’s office only handles statements of economic interest for state employees and the statewide constitutional officers such as the governor, attorney general and others, according to spokesman Henry Haupt. No statistics were readily available for how many fail to file by the deadline.

All Madison County Board members have filed their statements, though three filed after the June 1 deadline. Both County Chairman Alan Dunstan and his election opponent, Treasurer Kurt Prenzler, have filed their statements, as have all the countywide officeholders — including Ming-Mendoza herself and State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons, whose office will be sending the official letters.

Walker and Schiefer could not be reached for comment.

Under the Illinois Governmental Ethics Act, letters and penalties, including monetary fines, are to be imposed after missing the May 1 deadline, though the fines can be waived by the clerk. Gibbons said there is a process by which a person can be removed from office for not filing the statements, but he is not aware of it ever getting to that point.

The statements are intended to make clear any potential conflicts of interest that might affect financial decisions, contracts or licensing issues. For example, Dunstan’s statement indicates that his wife has partial ownership of a farm in St. Jacob, and otherwise he has no debts or ownership of property with any entity doing business with the county. Prenzler’s statement indicates he is a managing member of the Good Shepherd Preschool and Day Care, a locally licensed entity.

Some public bodies have 100 percent compliance, such as the village of Worden and Collinsville Unit 10 School District. However, 39 officials in the city of Alton have not yet filed, including Walker.

Last year, Dunstan called for a review of the ethical and competitive bidding policies for all county boards and commissions after Andy Economy, president of the county’s levee board, resigned following news reports that he had not properly disclosed his ownership in an auto repair shop doing business with the county.

At the time, Dunstan said he intended to send a letter to all county employees reminding them of their responsibilities under the state ethics laws regarding conflicts of interest.

The list, along with electronic copies of the statements that have been filed, can be found on the Madison County Clerk’s website.

Elizabeth Donald: 618-239-2507, @BNDedonald

As of Wednesday morning, elected officials in Madison County who had not yet filed included:

  • St. Jacob Mayor Richard Schiefer
  • Edwardsville Alderman Craig Louer
  • Granite City aldermen Bill Davis, Walmer Schmidtke, Donald Thompson, Gerald Williams and Bob Pickerell
  • Highland City councilmen Neill Nicolaides and Aaron Schwarz
  • Madison City Alderman James Gardner
  • Darlene Laub, Granite City Township assessor
  • Jenny Steinmann, Hamel Township clerk
  • Tim Bertels, Moro Township trustee
  • Fritz Nemsky, Nameoki Township trustee
  • Gervase Ottensmeier, Saline Township trustee
  • Timothy Biggins, county building trustee, St. Jacob Township
  • Mike Harris and George Terry, Alton District 11 School Board
  • Tad Middleton, Jeff Whaley and Donald Woelfel, Bethalto District 8 School Board
  • Melissa Walter-Bock, East Alton-Wood River High District 14 School Board
  • Dorothy Hummel and Monica Laurent, Edwardsville District 7 School Board
  • Carlos Briggs and Celena Browley, Madison District 12 School Board
  • John Henry Williams, Venice District 3 School Board
  • George Milnor, Lewis & Clark Community College trustee
  • Brad Sewell, Collinsville Area Recreation District commissioner
  • Michael Nungesser, St. Jacob Park District board president
  • David Nonn, Tri-Township Park District board vice president
  • Heather Stewart, Alhambra Village Board trustee
  • Gerald Bourland, Bethalto Village Board trustee
  • Steve Kochan, East Alton Village Board trustee
  • Steve Slemer, Glen Carbon Village Board trustee
  • Becky Brewer, Grantfork Village Clerk
  • Wendy Essenpreis and Kathy Porter, Grantfork Village Board trustees
  • Julie Miener, Grantfork Village Clerk
  • Jerry Gorzny, Hamel Village Board trustee
  • Michelle Prickett, Hartford Village Board trustee
  • Elizabeth Augustine, Livingston Village Clerk
  • Michele Huschle, Marine Village Treasurer
  • Mike Vallino, Maryville Village Board trustee
  • George Grindstaff, New Douglas Village Board trustee
  • Martin Reynolds, Roxana Village Board trustee
  • Mike Davis, South Roxana Village Board Trustee
  • Geideon Richeson, St. Jacob Village Board trustee

Other Madison County public officials who are required to file but had not yet done so included:

  • Det. Thomas Dixon, Madison County Sheriff’s Department
  • Brian Brink, ROE principal, Regional Office of Education
  • Anthony Traxler and Christine Wallace, Madison County Mental Health Board
  • Rodney Caffey, code adjudication hearing officer, Madison County Planning and Development Office
  • Robert Dauderman, Steven Koeller and Patrick St. Peters, members of the Madison County Zoning Board of Appeals
  • Lori Belknap, Collinsville Economic Development Commission
  • Luis Delgado, Uptown Development Commission
  • Jesse Hoskin, Collinsville Board of Fire and Police Commissioners
  • Andrew Jones, Collinsville Economic Development Commission
  • Andy Kosberg, Collinsville Historic Preservation Commission
  • Kendra Kostelac, Collinsville Uptown Development Commission
  • Linda Rayho, Collinsville Historic Preservation Commission
  • Scott Rayho, Collinsville Planning Commission
  • Jason Rehg, Collinsville Uptown Development Commission
  • Kevin Weinacht, Collinsville Economic Development Commission
  • John Cunningham, Edwardsville ECTV director
  • Emily Gates, Edwardsville Library Board
  • Philip Lassiegne, Edwardsville Cable TV Advisory Committee
  • Bob Nickrent, Edwardsville Historic Preservation Commission
  • Mike Pashea, Edwardsville Cable TV Advisory Committee
  • Ben Powell, Edwardsville Plan Commission
  • Beth Schlueter, Edwardsville Plan Commission
  • Janet Urbanek, Edwardsville Cable ETEC
  • Suzanne Weiss, Edwardsville Recreation, Arts and Special Events Board
  • Martha Burich, Granite City Graphic Review Board
  • Tanja Cook and Ryan Robertson, Granite City assistant city attorneys
  • Jennifer Flores-Melton, Granite City Historical Architecture Review Commission
  • Jimmie Holland, Granite City Police and Fire Commissioner
  • Shirley Howard, Granite City Plan Commission
  • Rick Bloemker, Highland Fire Chief
  • Robert Hellige, Latzer Library board of trustees
  • Sharon Rusteberg, Highland Telecommunications Advisory Board
  • Timothy Rusteberg, Highland EMS Operations Manager
  • William Wagner, Highland Library board of trustees
  • Cynthia Dixon, Madison Library trustee
  • Derek Wise, Madison police commissioner
  • Tom Cissell, Troy city engineer
  • Donald Clark II, Troy Board of Police Commissioners
  • Philip Lasseigne, Troy Planning Commission
  • Jeff Myers, Troy Zoning Board of Appeals
  • Chief Brad Parsons of the Troy Police Department
  • Louis Dandridge III, Venice street superintendent
  • Richard Brown, Wood River Fire and Police Commission
  • Tim Gegen, Wood River Police Pension Board
  • Alison Ringering and Michelle Steiniger, East Alton District 13 teachers
  • Emily Warnecke, East Alton District 13 director of student services
  • Marion Brooks, Edwardsville District 7 director of special education
  • Tara Fox, Woodland Elementary principal, Edwardsville District 7
  • John A. Martin, Edwardsville District 7 director of food service
  • Julie Matarelli and Joseph McNamara, assistant principals at Edwardsville High School
  • Beth Renth, Worden Elementary principal, Edwardsville District 7
  • Martha Richey, Cassens Elementary principal, Edwardsville District 7
  • Lori Miscik, Highland Elementary principal, Highland District 5
  • Cindy Tolbert, Alhambra/Grantfork Elementary principal, Highland District 5
  • R. Michael Arbuthnot, P.E./health and safety coordinator, Roxana School District 1
  • Vickie Beavers and Elizabeth Corzine Triad District 2 teachers
  • Steve Kochan and Gary Osborne, Wood River Drainage and Levee District trustees
  • Erwin Abert, president of Alhambra Fire Protection District
  • Timothy Duffin, treasurer of Alhambra Fire Protection District
  • Jessica Thomas, Fosterburg Fire Protection District trustee
  • Aaron Fry and Jacob Ringering, Godfrey Fire Protection District foreign fire tax board members
  • Randy Leitschuh, Grantfork Fire Protection District trustee
  • James O’Brien, Holiday Shores Fire Protection District lieutenant
  • David Levy, Long Lake Fire Protection District trustee
  • Rick Smith, Meadowbrook Fire Protection District trustee
  • Nelson Nolte, Moro Fire Protection District trustee
  • Dennis Wilschetz, Moro Fire Protection District trustee
  • Ashley Reid, State Park Fire Protection District trustee
  • Sheri Banovic, director of nursing, Lewis & Clark Community College
  • Deborah Edelman, director of development, Lewis & Clark Community College
  • Vicki Hinkle, director of adult education, Lewis & Clark Community College
  • Stephanie Johnson, student trustee, Lewis & Clark Community College
  • Brad Raish, director of security, Lewis & Clark Community College
  • Amy Gabriel, Glen Carbon Library District trustee
  • Russell Stevens, Hartford Public Library District trustee
  • Hector Lozano, homebound services, Hayner Library District
  • David Eardley and Vickie Johnson, Roxana Library District trustees
  • Jennifer Conroy, department manager, Six Mile Library District
  • Melanie Elson, secretary, Tri-Township Library District
  • Rose Chadwick, Madison County Mass Transit District board
  • Matt Pfund and Megan Reichmann, Madison County Plan Commission members
  • Mark Grinter, Madison County Soil & Water Conservation District director
  • Robert Dauderman, Salem Cemetery Association board trustee
  • David Holder, Lavern Holtgrave and Wes Pourchot, Southwestern Illinois Planning Commission members
  • Helen Crause and Steve Kochan, St. Louis Regional Airport Board trustees
  • Mark Marcuzzo, golf manager, Collinsville Area Recreation District
  • Ebony Pollard, finance coordinator, Collinsville Area Recreation District
  • Ryan Robertson, Granite City Park District attorney
  • Don Price, Alhambra Sanitary Sewer District board member
  • Larry Day, Meadowbrook Public Water District board chairman
  • Beauton Furlow and Mark Lakin, Meadowbrook Public Water District board trustees
  • Bill Tindall Jr., Mitchell Public Water District trustee
  • James Nappier and Brian Titsworth, Moro Public Water District trustees
  • Todd Lindsay, Bethalto Police Pension Board
  • Ed Slayden, Bethalto Plan Commission
  • Chief Gregory Smock, Bethalto Police
  • Ronald Eaton, East Alton Community Building Board
  • Rebecca Harmon, East Alton Fire and Police Commission
  • Rodney Palmer, East Alton Fire Chief
  • Tim Cadagin and Paul Hanson, Glen Carbon Zoning Board of Appeals
  • Joan Foster, Jennifer Stedlin and Bob Marcus, Glen Carbon Historical and Museum Commission
  • Cody Sutton, Grantfork officer
  • John Grigg, Hartford lieutenant
  • Shirley Dietz and Charles Kynion, Marine Planning Commission
  • Andrew Lake, Marine Parks/Street/Water & Sewer superintendent
  • Patrick Presson, Maryville public works director
  • John Boushard Jr., Pontoon Beach residential building inspector
  • Rick Liljenberg, South Roxana inspector
  • Renee Reader, South Roxana village zoning board
  • Gene Ursprung, Nancy Ryrie and Marvin Adler, Simpson Memorial Tennis, Alton
  • Laura Asher, Alton Climate Protection/Energy Efficiency Committee
  • Gary Ballesteros, Bethalto Plan Commission
  • Michael Barker, Alton Convention and Visitors Bureau
  • John Bolling, Alton Firemen’s Pension Fund
  • Maxine Caldwell and Joe Brice, Alton Zoning Board of Appeals
  • Monica Bristow, Alton Lakefront Advisory Committee
  • Terry Bristow, Alton Civil Service Commission
  • Richard Rook and Scott Darr, Alton Building Board of Appeals
  • Joseph Blair, Gary Doerr and Terry Dooley, Alton Plan Commission
  • Mike Drake, Alton Lakefront Advisory Committee
  • Thomas Fleming, Alton Park and Recreation Committee
  • Barbara Gearing and Dawn Hentrich, Alton Appearance Review Commission
  • Darlene Walker, Tammy Smith and Beth Modlin, Robin Harp and Heather Hope, Alton Beautification and Clean City
  • Mike Harvey, Alton Safety, Building Code and Business Inspector
  • Ralph Jackson, Western Military Memorial Committee, Alton
  • Jonas Janek, Alton Historical Commission
  • Jaida Moore and Cindy Lolley, Alton Community Relations Commission
  • Douglas Martin Sr., Alton Housing Board Authority
  • Peggy Tavernier, Joan Sheppard and Dr. Sadiq Mohyuddin, Oriental Garden, Alton
  • William Parker Jr., Alton electrical inspector
  • Alton Police Chief Jason Simmons
  • Capt. Scott Waldrup, Alton Police Department
  • Ralph Burnett, Special Service Area Superintendent
  • Pat Cooper, Moro Township Highway Commissioner
  • Lavadna Hines, Collinsville Historic Preservation and Uptown Development Commissions
  • Cindy Ponce, Region III Special Education Cooperative Director
  • Mark Rabe, Edwardsville Plan Commission
  • Frederick Scheffel, vice president of enrollment, Lewis & Clark Community College
  • Kelly Sipes, Collinsville Uptown Development Commission
  • Mark Steyer, Collinsville Convention Authority Board
  • Richard Woods, Granite City Firefighters Pension Board

St. Clair County leaders who have not yet filed include:

  • Ramon Collins, liquor commissioner, Washington Park
  • Brent Dudeck, New Athens Zoning Board of Appeals
  • Brandt House, O’Fallon High School District 203 School Board
  • Christin Jackson, Washington Park Zoning Board
  • Dean Sample, Cahokia police commissioner
  • Britt Sowle, Lebanon Plan Commission
  • Marcus Wright, principal, East St. Louis District 189

This list is compiled from online county records, which continue to be updated as officials file their statements.